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90% of the Native American deaths were inadvertent

 

You have said this twice. You know this how?

 

Finally, and again, I am not saying it was one sided. Certainly white towns and villages and homesteads were attacked. That is can be one consequence of giving yourself land that other people live on. You are underscoring my point that many people will consistently call anything that puts history in a non Eurocentric viewpoint one sided and PC. I am saying that the damage and outcome was not remotely balanced or equal. No one can argue that it was with a straight face. The unfair treatment and violation of treaty rights continues to the present day. The theft of culture through the Indian school system was nothing if not deliberate and racist yes, it most certainly did happen. Again, I am separated by 2 generations from it. I am also separated by 2 generations from white relatives who thought extremely lowly of anyone not white. And 2 generations from insane lunatic criminals. These are all part of a family I love and cherish. Good people can do terrible things (or in the case of the lunatic criminals in my family, good people can be related to pretty close to evil people.)

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I do not condone the use of the term "savages" to describe Native Americans but I can understand why it was used in the past. When one group in involved in a conflict with another group and savage acts occur (such as massacres of women and children), it is easy to demonize the "enemy". Obviously, it is unfair to use a blanket characterization of an entire group, but when the memories of these massacres were still raw, I can understand why it happened. Not saying this kind of stereotyping was correct, just that I understand why it developed.
Except that you have it backward. The use of the term "savages" preceded the incidents you're talking about, and it not unique to the Americas. It specifically referred to any indigenous peoples with the understanding they were primitive, uncivilized, and uncouth.

 

FWIW the idealized noble savage also predates by centuries the modern "PC" version you disdain.

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Unfortunately, kids learn to feel others are less than not only because of what they see and what we say but by what we tolerate and with whom we associate. To me, the open presence of those materials (and defense of their content) sends a clearer message about the lack of value placed on the feelings of others as any caveat that's added later. There's a difference between being not racist and anti-racist. One is passive, one is affirmative. I have a hard time with the former because I just don't think it works.

 

Interestingly, this follow on discussion illustrates why I've taken the stance I have with my kids. However nice the children in our circle, I just never know what kind of parents I'm dealing with or what they really say and think behind closed doors.

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Originally Posted by Crimson Wife

90% of the Native American deaths were inadvertent

 

You have said this twice. You know this how?

We don't know for sure because disease would have spread ahead of any westward exploration and expansion, but 90% is the upper-end figure bandied about. I don't recall seeing mortality estimates lower than 25-30%.

 

It's not exactly a "fair" exchange, but TB and (very likely) syphilis went the other way, to Europe.

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History can actually be taken as a set of skills ...

Skills to think and analyze about any given source.

 

You can quibble about facts and what not but, we are all really here to give our kids the skills, in this case, to think about history.

 

So, last year, I was in a coop, teaching American History. I was having the kids do a picture analysis with a pic of George Washington from the Library of Congress. The kids came up with essentially what I would expect them to. Then, my son, the autistic one, says, "he had slaves.". Honestly, it was a blurred out man, holding his horse. I didn't even notice it before he said it. I was so proud of him. He caught what I didn't.

 

So, really, my suggestion is to teach your kids the skills of historical thinking, And you might be surprised at what you find.

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We haven't used any of the history books. We love the myths though.

 

I was reading A Child's History of Canada today, and when talking about Cartier kidnapping two Indians, it includes the a caveat that although this was common in Cartier's time, it was a bad way to behave. This was a book from 1867, I think? Late 19th c. textbook from Quebec.

 

The texts I learned from in Canadian primary school were definitely not balanced -- the Natives were portrayed as peaceful and in touch with the earth, whereas the white people were brutal, etc. The major tribe we studied was the Haida, so there was quite a lot to be skipped. This actually did the Natives discussed no favours. They excised all the interesting things. We got the impression that the Haida spent all their time weaving baskets and living in harmony with Mother Earth. That was in the nineties though; I don't know how they do it now.

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We don't know for sure because disease would have spread ahead of any westward exploration and expansion, but 90% is the upper-end figure bandied about. I don't recall seeing mortality estimates lower than 25-30%.

 

 

I certainly am not arguing that disease was not a factor in the declining indigenous populations between first contact and the 20th century. Still, I do not accept that violence was not a significant factor. We know that there were many wars and we know that there was significant forced relocation.

 

We simply do not have solid information about the population sizes or about the percentage of decline attributable to disease. There are people who greatly underestimate population size and overestimate death by disease, as well as people who do the reverse and overestimate population size and underestimate disease. But we do not know for sure, especially when some of the estimates are politically or ideologically motivated. 90% is a random number, a guess at best and it seems implausibly high especially considering that after the settlements were well established white people, also being exposed to new germs and diseases, did not drop dead at rates of 9 in 10, something we can confirm with the written records and census records.

 

While disease spread a little ahead, you will see epidemics starting in full swing as white people migrated west because widespread contact increased. And before every westward migration of whites you have a westward migration of various tribes as they were pushed back behind lines that kept moving westward bit by bit. No one can think they were just up and deciding to move west on their own wholesale.

Edited by kijipt
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The texts I learned from in Canadian primary school were definitely not balanced -- the Natives were portrayed as peaceful and in touch with the earth, whereas the white people were brutal, etc. The major tribe we studied was the Haida, so there was quite a lot to be skipped. This actually did the Natives discussed no favours. They excised all the interesting things. We got the impression that the Haida spent all their time weaving baskets and living in harmony with Mother Earth. That was in the nineties though; I don't know how they do it now.

 

This sort of stuff, you are right, does no one any favors.

 

In the 1980s in Seattle area I mostly got the Columbus sailed the ocean blue and proved the world was round and was so cool line of history. I learned otherwise at home and one my own and then later at a really good high school.

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O.K., I'll be the lone dissenter here.

 

I actually just read both the Lincoln and Washington books to my kids last week (President's Day). We simply discussed both the idea/reality of slavery, and the portrayal of slaves in the Washington book. My kids seemed to fully grasp that the portrayal was consistent with the time period in which the books were written, and should not be a part of their own attitude.

 

With that discussion firmly in place, we were able to actually enjy the stories of our former presidents as children, and the jobs they held besides president.

 

I absolutely believe that older books can have a place in the home, as long as there is open discussion and a willingness to share the understanding that it portrays things as they used to be, not as they are or should be.

 

:iagree: The Lincoln book was assigned for TOG's Year 3 civil war study. This is what we did as well. We have talked ad nauseum about slavery and its evils this year. They get it.

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a guess at best and it seems implausibly high especially considering that after the settlements were well established white people, also being exposed to new germs and diseases, did not drop dead at rates of 9 in 10, something we can confirm with the written records and census records.
I'm with you except for this. Population density and close proximity to domesticated animals meant that Europeans at the time had been exposed to more and generally more virulent diseases, not just different ones. We wouldn't expect the death rates from disease to be comparable. Edited by nmoira
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The texts I learned from in Canadian primary school were definitely not balanced -- the Natives were portrayed as peaceful and in touch with the earth, whereas the white people were brutal, etc. The major tribe we studied was the Haida, so there was quite a lot to be skipped. This actually did the Natives discussed no favours. They excised all the interesting things. We got the impression that the Haida spent all their time weaving baskets and living in harmony with Mother Earth. That was in the nineties though; I don't know how they do it now.
I was in elementary school in southwestern Ontario through 1981, and don't recall anything like this. However, good chunk of our "Indian" studies was taught by a guest teacher, a local Chippewa woman, who also taught beading to 4th (or 5th?) graders. I don't know what the "standard" curriculum at the time was. I recall learning about the Beothuks in high school, but don't remember anything else.
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I'm with you except for this. Population density and close proximity to domesticated animals meants that Europeans at the time had been exposed to more and generally more virulent diseases, not just different ones. We wouldn't expect the death rates from disease to be comparable.

 

:iagree:Add in trade routes and shipping, and Europeans at the time had far more exposure to disease.

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We are going to study US History to 1850 this upcoming year, and the D'Aulaire books are a part of our study. I think they are valuable tools for opening up a heartfelt discussion of what it means for us as a family to have the heart of God towards others.

 

IMO, it's important to not only discuss how things were for non-Caucasians in the early history of the USA, but also to show how long those attitudes and stereotypes persisted. In fact, it was over ONE HUNDRED YEARS after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863 that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted. How much longer did it take for this act to be carried out with justice? Has it ever been? I am 45 years old, and I remember how my sister told us that whenever a young African-American woman would apply to the card shop where she worked (25 years ago), the manager would wait until the girl was out of the store and then TRASH the application. Every time, no exceptions. My sister quit the job over that.

 

Are we even NOW living in an America where a person's race and skin color and point of origin don't truly matter? Are we ever going to see people as people? Last night we entertained our African friends. The image I have in my mind is of my three daughters competing for the attention of my dark, dark African friends (from my long ago seminary days). There was no awareness in the girls that this might not be the American normal. :tongue_smilie::tongue_smilie:

 

We reject racism. It is a disgusting lie that undermines the worth of a human being. We can live out something better. I believe that the heart of the parents and the power of the relationships they build will be stronger than the message of a book. I also believe that the book can be a tool to show children just how much a part of our culture this sort of racism was, has been, and may still be.

 

FWIW, if our girls think that EVERYONE in America believes and lives as we do, then what will be their SHOCK when they do encounter other POVs? So, yes, even if the portrayals of non-Caucasians in books published in those 100 years still show the racism, that, too, is part of our history.

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I was in elementary school in southwestern Ontario through 1981, and don't recall anything like this. However, good chunk of our "Indian" studies was taught by a guest teacher, a local Chippewa woman, who also taught beading to 4th (or 5th?) graders. I don't know what the "standard" curriculum at the time was. I recall learning about the Beothuks in high school, but don't remember anything else.

 

Mine would be BC. I left primary school in 1996.

 

The BC social studies curriculum at the time:

Grade one: My home and community

Grade two: I don't remember at all.

Grade three: Provinces

Grade four: the Haida, the Inuit, and "explorers." We made igloos out of sugar cubes. I'm not making that up.

Grade five: government

Grade six: choose three of four: Japan, Peru, France, Nigeria. They also left out all the interesting parts about Nigeria, fwiw.

Grade seven: early man through Egypt, give or take.

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I don't know if I should stick my neck our here or not, but here goes...

 

 

Were ethnic groups who lived in areas of white expansion treated with the respect and dignity that they should have been as fellow children of God? NO! Should Americans have owned slaves and put in our Constitution that they equaled 3/5 of a white man? NO! Just so you know though, women were completely left out (as well as non land owning white men). Black men got the vote before any women did.

 

The Trail of Tears and slavery are terrible chapters in our history and we should teach our kids that these were terrible wrongs. However, I also don't think we should whitewash it. We need to explore our mistakes in order to not repeat them. In the same way, we also don't need to beat ourselves up over what happened. First of all, none of my ancestors even lived in the US when these things happened. No one today is guilty of these crimes. Do I feel terrible that they happened? Of course I do, but I did not commit these crimes. I don't think the whole white race should be blamed for them today.

 

Today there is slavery in Africa. In the Sudan, many Christians have been enslaved by other Africans. This is still a part of our human condition and it is not limited to white people. I think it is wrong to blame a whole race for this when it is a problem throughout all of history and isn't happening right now in America.

 

As far as the Aztecs, Mayas, etc and the Spanish... I am not defending all of their actions. I am not saying that the Spanish were heroic in their expansion. But I will say that there was rampant human sacrifice going on. I can't think that people would be glad if the Aztecs were still practicing their religion today. There is good and bad in everything. History is full of that. We need to teach our children to take the whole picture in fully and then help to mold their opinions of what was good and what was evil. There is never just one side to a story in these historical time periods.

 

I also am saddened by the PP who said they would never let their kids go back to a house with a D'Auleires book in it. I am a Catholic living in a very evangelical area. My kids are told blatantly rude and unacceptable things about our faith all the time. I do not ban them from going to those households. I explain why we believe what we believe and I teach them how to defend our faith even at a young age. I don't think avoiding the problem is going to solve anything.

 

OK, I am sure I am going to get slammed on here. I know that this is a very sensitive issue and I know that people are very passionate about it. I am sorry if I offended anyone.

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Today there is slavery in Africa. In the Sudan, many Christians have been enslaved by other Africans. This is still a part of our human condition and it is not limited to white people. I think it is wrong to blame a whole race for this when it is a problem throughout all of history and isn't happening right now in America.
Between 15,000 and 20,000 women and children are brought to the US as victims of human trafficking each year.
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There's no way I'd include anything racist in what I teach my children-- unless we were to do a study of racism, which is not something I'll delve deeply into when they are young. There are just so many racism-free resources that it doesn't make sense to me.

 

Similarly, I was excited to buy "Flatland" for DS6 recently, until I remembered the, shall we say, not so pro-feminist stance of the book. He's so curious that if I skip the worst parts I'll never hear the end of it, or he'll read them in secret. Male-centric thinking is throughout the book in any event; only males form various working and professional strata, etc. Much as I wish that this blight didn't make the book unusable for us, it does.

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There's no way I'd include anything racist in what I teach my children-- unless we were to do a study of racism, which is not something I'll delve deeply into when they are young. There are just so many racism-free resources that it doesn't make sense to me.
I'll use contemporary primary materials (and good historical fiction) because they do speak to the time. However, things get muddled when using texts written decades later, because contemporary attitudes are no longer being reflected. This rules out materials like This Country of Ours.

 

ETA: I'm in the minority in that I don't like any of the D'Aulaire books, neither the text nor the art. We kept the Norse mythology, and that's it.

Edited by nmoira
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:iagree: Many people around the world have been subjected to horrible behavior by someone, but I would never claim my Irish ancestors had it worse than the decimation of my Algonquin ancestors. And the Irish were TERRIBLY treated (and still are in many ways). I do not read most of the D'Aulaire books because of the rampant racism. We do discuss racism, but I do not read the racist viewpoint to my children as literature. I do have the Norse and Greek D'Aulaire books, but I will not read the Leif or Washington books ever again to my children.

 

That may or may not be true. I grew up in the Wilkes-Barre area of Eastern Pennsylvania, in the coal-mining area, with a significant oral tradition of horrifying practices including torture, assault, murder, and massacres of entire Irish families and groups of families committed by the mine owners and railroad owners for attempts at labor organization and reformation of labor practices and speaking out about unfair practices like forcing miners to purchase food and goods only at the company store at inflated prices. I have no proof of any of this, just stories I heard growing up in an Irish Catholic parish next to a bankrupt coal mine. But you don't read about that sort of thing in the history books, just about 'discrimination'.

 

I think it is important to remember that it is usually the group with the economic power who gets to decide what gets into the history books. I think oppression of others isn't a characteristic of one particular race but apparently a human tendency that can surface anywhere at any time there is an imbalance of power and that while different ethnicity or skin color is often used to 'justify' the oppression it is not at all necessary for the oppressors to be different ethnically than those they oppress. I teach my children this, because I think that the most important thing to learn from history is how NOT to repeat it.

Edited by Rainefox
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That may or may not be true. I grew up in the Wilkes-Barre area of Eastern Pennsylvania, in the coal-mining area, with a significant oral tradition of horrifying practices including torture, assault, murder, and massacres of entire Irish families and groups of families committed by the mine owners and railroad owners for attempts at labor organization and reformation of labor practices and speaking out about unfair practices like forcing miners to purchase food and goods only at the company store at inflated prices. I have no proof of any of this, just stories I heard growing up in an Irish Catholic parish next to a bankrupt coal mine. But you don't read about that sort of thing in the history books, just about 'discrimination'.

 

I think it is important to remember that it is usually the group with the economic power who gets to decide what gets into the history books. I think oppression of others isn't a characteristic of one particular race but apparently a human tendency that can surface anywhere at any time there is an imbalance of power and that while different ethnicity or skin color is often used to 'justify' the oppression it is not at all necessary for the oppressors to be different ethnically than those they oppress. I teach my children this, because I think that the most important thing to learn from history is how NOT to repeat it.

 

Yes, I have heard things, too. I have done extensive genealogy research. My dad is 3rd gen here in America from Ireland and he has stories that chill your teeth. But, IMHO, I would never claim that the Natives or Africans had it "just as bad" or discount their misery because of the plight of the Irish.

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That may or may not be true. I grew up in the Wilkes-Barre area of Eastern Pennsylvania, in the coal-mining area, with a significant oral tradition of horrifying practices including torture, assault, murder, and massacres of entire Irish families and groups of families committed by the mine owners and railroad owners for attempts at labor organization and reformation of labor practices and speaking out about unfair practices like forcing miners to purchase food and goods only at the company store at inflated prices. I have no proof of any of this, just stories I heard growing up in an Irish Catholic parish next to a bankrupt coal mine. But you don't read about that sort of thing in the history books, just about 'discrimination'.

 

I most certainly did learn about this in my history books...the ones that people say are PC and one-sided. :lol: Also bands of mainly poor and Irish whites rioted against the draft (that rich people bough their way out of) in the Civil War and they attacked many people, mainly black people on the streets.

 

I have a Catholic 2nd great grandfather on my paternal side who was murdered for being Catholic. It is a big part of our family lore and I started digging up the limited records on it and yes, it appears to have been solely because he was Irish Catholic. Irish Catholics came from the NE in that time period and were widely used to hold down wages and conditions in the mines- this happened in Colorado. My great grandfather was later excused from jury duty because one of the people that killed his dad (it was a beating) was up on other charges when he was an adult and it was an open secret in town that this guy got off for the prior murder. My dad and grandmother always said it was klan related but what I found does not say that or not.

 

ETA: Looking at this thread my ancestry sounds more interesting than it is! We have been doing extensive genealogy recently so it is fascinating to see where each thread of the family was on various historical issues. I bet many people could learn a lot about about history just from looking at their family tree. I have recently learned that we had Revolutionary soliders on the tree as well as a family branch that moved to Canada and may have been loyalists. That my Great Grandmother's brothers were imprisoned for being IWW during WWI. I have also learned that what one of my ancestors did- desert from the Confederate Army 3 times- was not entirely uncommon especially from his region and many soldiers just up and left towards the end because all they cared about was getting home alive to their families. And while I knew there were child soldiers in the Civil War, seeing your own ancestor's name and birthdate making him an adolescent Union soldier not all that much older than your son puts that fact in sharper focus. With the exception of the Irish branch of the tree on my side and the 19th century German immigrants on my husband's side, I was surprised to see that most of my son's ancestors on both sides were here very early on in US History, with my mom's paternal side being mostly Lakota. I assumed most of my ancestry was Irish and that my husband was almost all German. We were both pretty wrong.

Edited by kijipt
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I also am saddened by the PP who said they would never let their kids go back to a house with a D'Auleires book in it. I am a Catholic living in a very evangelical area. My kids are told blatantly rude and unacceptable things about our faith all the time. I do not ban them from going to those households. I explain why we believe what we believe and I teach them how to defend our faith even at a young age. I don't think avoiding the problem is going to solve anything.

 

I think letting kids be disrespected this way sends the message to them that it's a) OK for people to feel/say/think those things about them, b) that you don't have the right to maintain/enforce boundaries and c) that others' feelings are more important than your own. Most kids do not have the capacity to defend themselves against this kind of attack. They are too focused on keeping the peace, maintaining friendships and blending in.

 

When I was made to read and comment on Huck Finn in school that's certainly the message that I got. Adults were, essentially, telling me that my feelings of discomfort were baseless and unimportant, that I did not have the right to object lest I risk being labeled an overly sensitive trouble-maker, and that the majority could steamroll the minority with impunity.

 

Giving kids permission and/or requiring them to withhold their company under those conditions isn's about avoidance. It's about boundaries, consequences, and self-respect. Everytime someone says or does something racist or insensitive, defends the use of materials that are clearly offensive and hurtful, and is allowed to remain in polite company, they get the message that what they said or did is OK. That's not a message I'm comfortable sending.

Edited by Sneezyone
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I am curious, Sneeyone. If your child had been in the situation of the little Haitian girl in the op, and the friend's mother later called you, told you that your child had seen this book, explained that she had not yet read it herself and was throwing the book away and apologized, would you then allow your child to return to their house?

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I am honestly not sure. I think I said this before but I'd certainly have a lot more questions like, how did you come to own a book that you hadn't read or thumbed through? And why did it take this friendship to inspire critical thought? It's not exactly polite to ask those probing questions so I usually just back away slowly. When you start having these conversations folks can get very defensive. I usually find it less embarassing for all to simply explain my stance and leave it at that. It's easier to be civil later and after that everyone knows where I stand.

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1. Faceless in the fields

2. Longing to dance in the ball

3. Lined up with smiles to welcome him home

 

.

 

 

1. Minutemen on Boston Common are ALSO faceless.

2. Yes the slave children are looking in the window at the dance....so what would you prefer the image lie and indicate that they were at the dance?

3. Servants did line up to welcome a master home...this is history....so incidentally did white Victorian and Edwardian servants did the same (anyone watch Downton Abbey recently).

 

The need to rewrite history makes one wonder if we are teaching history or the world as we wished it.

 

 

Look for ways to be offended and you will find them but this is not necessarily a good thing or even accurate,

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Yes, I have heard things, too. I have done extensive genealogy research. My dad is 3rd gen here in America from Ireland and he has stories that chill your teeth. But, IMHO, I would never claim that the Natives or Africans had it "just as bad" or discount their misery because of the plight of the Irish.

 

I never suggested discounting anyone's misery, in fact the opposite. The scale doesn't matter. The fact that it happened at all is what is important. No one's misery should be discounted or overlooked because of 'oh it wasn't that bad' or 'they didn't suffer as much as this other group', but that is exactly what happens. It is more popular today to feel more empathy for one group over another. More blood or less blood is still blood spilled, and all of that blood belonged to human beings. It is completely counterproductive to say that one is 'not as bad' as another because of the number of lives affected, and I think that is part of the problem, this rating of things, this rationalization. It should all of it be appalling and none of it should be dismissed as mere 'discrimination'.

 

I would say that it is just that kind of rationalization that can start a person down that slippery slope....thinking that just this one thing isn't really too bad, that other thing isn't as bad, those people there don't matter as much, ect. Just one person murdered to further the money or power of the ruling group is one too many. Color doesn't matter, ethnicity doesn't matter, context doesn't matter. The fact that humans have through out history in every civilization we know of have banded together into groups to murder and terrorize weaker people, that humans still routinely murder and terrify each other as a display of organizational power, even today, should concern all of us. It is never acceptable to discount even one act of this kind, we should remember and mourn all victims, not just the popular ones. This is the adult form of bullying. Why can't we have zero tolerance?

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1. Minutemen on Boston Common are ALSO faceless.
Finding an example of a faceless white military person on a stylized statue, designed to glorify that role, doesn't mean that depictions of slaves as faceless are free from racism. Unless you're suggesting that the facelesssness of the slaves is designed to glorify them somehow. :D
3. Servants did line up to welcome a master home...this is history....so incidentally did white Victorian and Edwardian servants did the same (anyone watch Downton Abbey recently).

I think it's the suggestion that the slaves were uniformly happy in their role that rankles, not the mere suggestion that servants stood in a line when ordered to do so.

2. Yes the slave children are looking in the window at the dance....so what would you prefer the image lie and indicate that they were at the dance?
I'm a bit nonplused as to what you're missing here. No, the OP did not suggest rewriting history, and it's easy to attack someone's words when you take them out of context. The part that you've obviously discarded is this:
But the book never explains or addresses the evil of slavery or why a great hero would own slaves. Perhaps many feel that parents can obviously just add that in.

So, reading all of the OP's words together in context, she is finding fault with the multiple portrayals of slaves in servile roles, and even being happy in them, without any mention that slavery is wrong.

 

It'd be a bit like a children's book which showed a woman serving her husband dinner, bringing him slippers, mentioning that she longed to attend classes, etc., only to have the man of the house tell her that her place was in the kitchen-- and leaving it at that.

 

The OP is merely saying that she pays attention to the full set of messages sent to children in what they read. When the subtext is one of racism, without any explanation that it is bad, especially when it's portrayed as good, she has a problem. I agree.

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"It'd be a bit like a children's book which showed a woman serving her husband dinner, bringing him slippers, mentioning that she longed to attend classes, etc., only to have the man of the house tell her that her place was in the kitchen-- and leaving it at that."

 

Is there something wrong with that? I missed the memo. :lol:

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I guess you did. It came out long ago, and has been recirculated a great deal since. Women even have the right to vote in the U.S., for almost a century now! :) Do you make light of racism too?
Did you hear about the three ____'s who went into a bar? :tongue_smilie:
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1. Minutemen on Boston Common are ALSO faceless.

2. Yes the slave children are looking in the window at the dance....so what would you prefer the image lie and indicate that they were at the dance?

3. Servants did line up to welcome a master home...this is history....so incidentally did white Victorian and Edwardian servants did the same (anyone watch Downton Abbey recently).

 

The need to rewrite history makes one wonder if we are teaching history or the world as we wished it.

 

Look for ways to be offended and you will find them but this is not necessarily a good thing or even accurate,

 

I'm going to agree. I don't get what the problem is with these books. I looked at the George WA book last night and all the people in the background are faceless. It is just how the illustrations were done. It was true on the one page with slaves in the field and it was true on the page with the minutemen.

 

We love D'Aulaire's books, but if a parent is using this as their child's ONLY exposure to George Washington then they have far bigger problems then faceless illustrations.

 

People are way too sensitive to stuff like this. Don't like the book's contents or its illustrations, don't buy it. But saying the books are racist is quite the stretch, imo.

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.

Finding an example of a faceless white military person on a stylized statue, designed to glorify that role, doesn't mean that depictions of slaves as faceless are free from racism. Unless you're suggesting that the facelesssness of the slaves is designed to glorify them somehow. :D

 

.

 

Go ahead and actually look at the book. I have a copy in front of me; pg 47 has a unit of Minutemen, NOT a statue and they are without faces in the same manner as the slaves on pg 41.

 

Now the Indians on pg 31 do have faces so what subliminal message to you take from that?

 

Pg 51, faceless colonists bring food to the army at Valley Forge.

 

Pg 53, faceless cavalry follow Washington.

 

Pg 55, faceless French or Colonial naval personnel.

 

Pg 19, has Washington's own family as being faceless!!!!

 

The fact that the OP complained about slaves being depicted without faces on one page as being indicative of racism while 6 pages later Minuteman are depicted in exactly the same manner does go a long way to weaken her argument.

 

 

This should be one of many texts that parents use not the ONLY one.

 

Further I do not view facelessness as glorification, it is ARTISTIC style, nothing more.

Edited by pqr
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Definitely anyone who would keep their kid away from mine because the kid was looking through my books and saw something the child didn't like would be a very bad match for my family. In my family we read widely, including things we don't wholeheartedly agree with, and we don't go looking for offence -- by flipping through the books of someone else and then taking issue with them.

 

I do teach my children that they should get past or get over uncomfortable feelings. Other people may not, but moving past discomfort is a value in our family.

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I'm going to agree. I don't get what the problem is with these books. I looked at the George WA book last night and all the people in the background are faceless. It is just how the illustrations were done. It was true on the one page with slaves in the field and it was true on the page with the minutemen.

 

We love D'Aulaire's books, but if a parent is using this as their child's ONLY exposure to George Washington then they have far bigger problems then faceless illustrations.

 

People are way too sensitive to stuff like this. Don't like the book's contents or its illustrations, don't buy it. But saying the books are racist is quite the stretch, imo.

 

And saying that the folks who have read or own the book are racist is an even greater stretch. But we're already there too. I guess this is our quarterly rant against a book and the folks who would be so foolish as to harm poor innocent children by exposing them to it. I keep hoping that in the "real world" people aren't assumed to reflect every opinion in every book they have ever read or touched. That one can freely read a variety of books and opinions without having to become all that they read. Every quarter I am disappointed to discover that I may be hoping in vain.

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And this just proves my point. It seems like a small thing to casually have these things about and yet it really does expose the fact that my values are totally and completely different from those who find it trivial and inconsequential. Possessing the material does not make one racist. I certainly never said that. Dismissing the hurt caused to others tho who find these items objectionable certainly makes one a poor match for my family and as this thread shows there are more than a few people like that. I guess I'm just an overly sensitive hypochondriac.

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And this just proves my point. It seems like a small thing to casually have these things about and yet it really does expose the fact that my values are totally and completely different from those who find it trivial and inconsequential. Possessing the material does not make one racist. I certainly never said that. Dismissing the hurt caused to others tho who find these items objectionable certainly makes one a poor match for my family and as this thread shows there are more than a few people like that. I guess I'm just an overly sensitive hypochondriac.

 

Racism is anything but trivial or inconsequential. Racism is horrible and inexcusable. However, if possession of such a book (without concern for the opinions or values of the owner) isn't racist (or at least its moral equivalent) then why would you no longer permit your child to be friends with these people?

 

We agree. I just find it unfortunate that folks encourage these materials to be used as 'literature' for young children without any thought to the messages implicit therein. If my daughter had gone over to someone's house and encountered such a thing she would not be coming back. It's not her job to raise others' consciousness or awareness re:racial issues, not in school and not out of it. Her job is to be a student, sister, daughter, citizen and friend. Nothing more, nothing less. It's nice that the little girls' relationship has had a positive impact on how the OP perceives some of the materials in her home but, on the flip side, the fact that it took that kind of interaction to open her eyes would be a huge red flag for me.

 

As I said before-it is the quarterly hunt for another awful book by which to judge those who would dare to have read or owned it. Every quarter I am saddened to learn that censorship is a far easier answer than becoming widely enough read to be able to discern right from wrong and understand the nature of both. And that the judgement placed upon those who choose not to practice such censorship is so harsh and final and without any chance for defense that it echos the very actions being deplored in the first place.

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As I said before-it is the quarterly hunt for another awful book by which to judge those who would dare to have read or owned it. Every quarter I am saddened to learn that censorship is a far easier answer than becoming widely enough read to be able to discern right from wrong and understand the nature of both. And that the judgement placed upon those who choose not to practice such censorship is so harsh and final and without any chance for defense that it echos the very actions being deplored in the first place.

 

:iagree:You NAILED IT!!! In that one brief yet spot-on paragrah, you summarized the whole of the problem.

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Like it or not, the possession and open or cavalier display of such material often is indicative of racial insensitivity as this thread shows. Why in heavens name should it fall into the hands of a visiting child? I think I was pretty clear in saying that merely attempting to ask clarifying questions usually leads me to find out things about how and what people really think...things I'd rather not know...if only to preserve civil discourse later between the adults. I also think I was clear about my desire to enforce boundaries on this issue and empower my kids to say no to people and things that are hurtful. You dont get a second chance to make a first impression.

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:iagree:You NAILED IT!!! In that one brief yet spot-on paragrah, you summarized the whole of the problem.
I'm just not seeing any piling on here. So much for mobile mentality.

 

:confused:

 

Or is nobody supposed to have strong feelings that run counter to yours?

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I think it is very easy to be self-righteous about others' racism. I'm hearing a lot of that here. I doubt anyone on this board really thinks less of another person because of their skin color or their station in life. Really. I also doubt that any of us is teaching our children to think less of another.

 

When I was in the 2nd grade the girl who sat next to me in class was black, and we were friends. She was one of my favorite friends in class, so naturally I wanted to invite her home to play. My mom refused. I couldn't invite her to play, and I wouldn't be allowed to go to her house, either. I couldn't invite her to my birthday party. After that I did not have black friends. If I had shown interest in a black man as a teenager, I would have been kicked out, most likely. I grew up that way, understanding that even though school was integrated, we were not to be.

 

That. is. racism.

 

When my daughter met a neighborhood girl this summer and wanted to have her over to play, I of course said yes. She is black. One day she rang the doorbell and asked if my dd could play and everything in me screamed "no--you can't come in--it's not right." I opened the door and smiled and said, hold on, I'll get her. They played wonderfully together for the next several hours in my dd's bedroom. I found myself weeping over the kitchen sink, ashamed of the painful reality of my upbringing and filled with grief that I had been taught such lies. I do not see things this way, and I know my children don't. The reaction I had was involuntary, and this memory of my second grade friend came back to me--something I had not thought of in many, many years.

 

Racism is not learned from pictures in books. It's about what we as parents live out in front of our children and give them as a heritage. It is how we speak about and engage with people who are not our skin-color or cultural background. Do we bless them, or reject them? The racism stops here, in my house, in my life.

 

My children will have to wrestle with the very real experience of racism in our own family, as their grandparents were confined to Japanese camps in WWII. They know what it means to be treated unjustly, and it is a very real part of their story.

 

I'm not sure why I wrote all this, except that I think people on the board are barking up the wrong tree. If sneezyone (who is calling us careless and cavalier) who said her kids wouldn't be back to play doesn't like the D'Aulaire books, then she would reject our family because we have one. This saddens me. I am not going to even try to defend why we can read them and not be tainted because I don't need to. I know what is in my own heart, and it is not racism. It is not in my children's hearts, either, and I think anyone who was in my home as a guest would know and understand that. I'm guessing that she supposes herself to be open minded and non-judgmental, but in fact, she has made a huge judgment here against someone she doesn't even know.

 

and I agree with Autumn Oak. Jumped nailed it.

Edited by Hedgehogs4
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Actually no, I would not consider myself entirely openminded on this issue. My experiences have colored my views. If open and cavalier is the way you use/ display those types of books, then no, I'm not open to you. If that's not how you treat the materials then, no, I'm not talking to you. I maintain that I would find it difficult to understand or forgive my child finding those images and captions in a book at another child's home. My kid ought to be able to play eithout confronting that material. I'm not going to change your mind though and you won't change mine. At the end of the day, we all have to raise our children as we see fit.

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I've been quietly reading along on this thread. Not really wanting to jump in, but curious and really...just very interested in watching the sociology of this discussion unfold.

 

A few observations.

 

If I forbade my children from visiting the homes of anybody that had material in their possession that was racist, offensive or in some way insensitive, the socialization accusation lobbed against homeschoolers would absolutely be true. Because I'm sure, if I look hard enough, I could find something to be offended by. If I took that view, I'd end up having to keep my children away from pretty much everybody.

 

It would deeply sadden me to learn that a parent chose to not bring their child back to my home because of these particular books. Based on the description of the book in question and the material deemed offensive, I can tell you that I personally probably would not even have picked up on these issues. Maybe it's because I wasn't raised to see a difference between myself and others of different races. I just don't *think* that way and it wouldn't have occurred to me that some would find the material offensive. Should a parent bring this to my attention, I imagine that she or he and I would be able to have a pretty good discussion about the material and WHY it was offensive. It would be regrettable if the parent assumed I was not capable of having that discussion.

 

Interestingly, as much as we would all like to believe that we are now above this kind of behavior that marginalizes others even still today, we ALL, to some extent, continue to engage in the very same thought patterns that allowed such racism to exist all those years ago.

 

More often than not our marginalization of another group of people is intended to make us feel better about how we respond to that group of people. For example...the dehumanization of unborn children. By neglecting to recognize the unborn child's humanity, we make it ok to end the child's life. (This is not intended to start an abortion debate, really, it's a point to show that these thought processes still exist today and that we're all probably guilty of it in one way or another).

 

I guess what I'm really trying to say is perhaps we should focus less on being offended and more on looking within and examining ourselves and our own attitudes and thoughts towards others. If our ultimate goal is to prevent these attitudes from perpetuating, it is imperative that we understand WHY they prevail.

Edited by Sweetpea3829
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Actually no, I would not consider myself entirely openminded on this issue. My experiences have colored my views. If open and cavalier is the way you use/ display those types of books, then no, I'm not open to you. If that's not how you treat the materials then, no, I'm not talking to you. I maintain that I would find it difficult to understand or forgive my child finding those images and captions in a book at another child's home. My kid ought to be able to play eithout confronting that material. I'm not going to change your mind though and you won't change mine. At the end of the day, we all have to raise our children as we see fit.

 

 

 

Just out of interest, have you actually read the book in question?

 

Which particular image (page number please) is so offensive? Which caption is offensive?

 

Is the image of Washington, a slaveholder, offensive?

Edited by pqr
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Okay. I have never actually read the book, so I have not posted in this thread for obvious reasons. It definitely has piqued my interest though, and I was wondering if this was indeed a racist book.

 

However, this post pretty much discredits the OP's concerns, no? Obviously the faceless people wasn't aimed at stripping blacks of their identity. It is consistent art throughout the book portraying both blacks, whites, and native americans.

 

I'd love to see clearer evidence that racism exist in this book.

 

 

Susan

 

I have the book right in front of me. Let's do a tally:

 

PG 2: everyone is faceless, everyone is white

PG 9: one faceless native

PG 11: five faceless blacks

PG 19: five faceless whites, one faceless black

PG 24: one faceless white

PG 27: four faceless whites

PG 29: two faceless whites

PG 37: four faceless whites, one faceless native

PG 39: a crowd of faceless whites

PG 41: fourteen faceless blacks

PG 47: over twenty-seven faceless whites

PG 51: another crowd of faceless whites

PG 53: more faceless whites, at least three

PG 55: five faceless whites plus a whole crowd in the background

 

If you count them up, you will notice that tbere are far more faceless whites than blacks. I think what you are noticing is more of an artistic style than racism.

 

Just for comparison, let's tally up the blacks WITH faces:

 

My book's front cover has one.

PG 12 has one

PG 15 has one

PG 39 has one, plus two with backs toward reader

PG 43 has one

PG 56 has nine, plus for with backs to reader

 

It really doesn't seem to me that there is unfair artistic representation of blacks when you consider the facts.

 

As to your second assertion, it is a historical fact that slave children would not have been in attendance at a ball. Looking longingly? Maybe, but could it not also be possible that they are looking in the window at the other children who are, in turn, looking out the window at them? Perhaps those children are looking longingly to be outside instead of inside the ball? You can't assign emotion to any of the children. You can only speculate.

 

And to your third point, again it was a historical fact that servants, black and white alike, would have lined up to receive a returning master, as is shown in the picture. Notice there are both black and white servants in the picture.

 

You are, of course, within your right to purge any book you like from your home. however, I think it is a huge stretch to claim racism in this book. As to why the issue of slavery isn't discussed in the book, it's probably because this book is about the life events of GW, not about the issue of slavery.

 

This thread feels like a literary witch hunt.

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That particular tomb, no. The Lincoln one, yes. I checked it out from the library a couple years ago after reading a blog post. Quite frankly, there are many 'classics' that I feel this way about. And a personal plea... please stop taking my words out of context. I did not simply say that my child would not come back. I provided rather detailed explanations about why I would make that decision. It was not arbitrary or mean-spirited at all. Not once has anyone challenged my reasoning or suggested it was flawed, only the final outcome. So very few people have given voice to that 8 year old child and that also troubles me. I think I have a much more visceral reaction b/c of all the times I was told to swallow my bile and go along to get along. Well, I'm big now and I don't have to do that anymore. My kids don't either.

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Really interesting. Again, makes me wonder how many people posting here have actually ever seen the book being discussed.

 

 

Susan

.

 

 

Go ahead and actually look at the book. I have a copy in front of me; pg 47 has a unit of Minutemen, NOT a statue and they are without faces in the same manner as the slaves on pg 41.

 

Now the Indians on pg 31 do have faces so what subliminal message to you take from that?

 

Pg 51, faceless colonists bring food to the army at Valley Forge.

 

Pg 53, faceless cavalry follow Washington.

 

Pg 55, faceless French or Colonial naval personnel.

 

Pg 19, has Washington's own family as being faceless!!!!

 

The fact that the OP complained about slaves being depicted without faces on one page as being indicative of racism while 6 pages later Minuteman are depicted in exactly the same manner does go a long way to weaken her argument.

 

 

This should be one of many texts that parents use not the ONLY one.

 

Further I do not view facelessness as glorification, it is ARTISTIC style, nothing more.

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Okay. I have never actually read the book, so I have not posted in this thread for obvious reasons. It definitely has piqued my interest though, and I was wondering if this was indeed a racist book.

 

However, this post pretty much discredits the OP's concerns, no? Obviously the faceless people wasn't aimed at stripping blacks of their identity. It is consistent art throughout the book portraying both blacks, whites, and native americans.

 

I'd love to see clearer evidence that racism exist in this book.

 

 

Susan

 

I have never read a first person slave narrative that opined about the joys of lining the drive, waiting for massa.

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