Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot: The Illinois Edition

Exclamation MarkThe story is linked in case you missed the news on 09 July 2021; Illinois has become the first state in AMERICA to mandate ASIAN History be taught in K-12 education.  Let that sink in for a moment.  AMERICAN History has been abused, twisted, contorted, and NOT taught in AMERICAN schools in ANY of the 50-US States.  But Illinois wants students to learn Asian History.  Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot Illinois!

What is the reported reasoning for this move?

According to a statement from Governor JB Pritzker, the reason for this move is as follows:

With the recent rise in acts of violence and bigotry against the Asian American community, teaching students about the rich culture and important contributions of the Asian American community throughout history will help combat false stereotypes” [emphasis mine].

For your information, the legislation is called the “Teaching Equitable Asian American History Act,” and the special interest group pushing this legislative nightmare is Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago.  The website includes a Los Angeles branch, the Asian Law Caucus, AAJC, and an Atlanta branch.  Another special interest group involved in this legislation is PAVE (Pan Asian Voter Empowerment). My first question about this legislation comes from the name, “What is equitable Asian American History, especially when American History is not being taught?”Lemmings 5

What is in the curriculum?

The curriculum declares it is compliant with Common Core standards, which doesn’t mean anything as teaching masturbation to first graders is compliant with Common Core Standards.  However, PBS Learning media has a website dedicated to the curriculum plan for teaching Asian American History, even though the curriculum does not describe “equitable.”  PBS Learning media claims to be “pleased to present over 30-lesson plans based on a fiver hour documentary Asian Americans in American History.  While the Illinois legislation claims that K-12 will begin learning about Asian History, the reality on the PBS Learning media is that the published lesson plans only go from third grade to twelfth grade.  Leading to my next question, “Where is this push for historical teaching coming from?”

Plato 2I have not viewed the series; I have barely scraped the surface of the curriculum offered.  What I have seen of the curriculum worries me.  I call it “whitewashing” history, to glance over the actions of one group to reflect how other groups were treated, with the intent of stirring the racial divides and creating more chasms based on race alone.  What I see in this curriculum does nothing to “ … teach students about the rich culture and important contributions of the Asian American community throughout history” or to “combat false stereotypes.”  I ran a search engine using the string, “Violent migrant worker strikes, involving Asian people,” and the first item on the list returned originates with the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project, sponsored by the University of Washington.

The context, labor union organizing, which everyone should know, includes the growth and development of Marxist ideology in America.  How did the labor unions create a space for themselves?  They drove wedges between groups of people based solely upon race, creating contention, becoming violent, and hiding behind equity and fairness to escape responsibility and accountability for laws they sundered.

Let me be clear!

Knowledge Check!Let me be clear; every group across the skin color spectrum has historically had problems in American society.  Any time race separates, chaos, confusion, and violence are bred!  I am proud that America has grown out of oppressing people based on the color of their skin and do not judge American history as racist just because historically, people acted out of fear when treating their fellow men fairly.  History is full of people who made terrible choices, and teaching that these choices were poorly made is important, but race, religion, handicap, etc., should NOT be the focus on the content in history.  The focus of history should be on what grew out of specific actions in specific epochs of time.

America IS better for the Civil War, even though the US Government continues to hinder economically and is biased against the states that formed the Confederate States.  A dumb historical decision that has kept many states from achieving greatness is due to President Lincoln’s death and the hostility in the US House of Representatives, the US Senate, and President Andrew Johnson.  All of whom believed that the Confederate States needed to be mightily punished.  In contrast, President Lincoln was pushing for national forgiveness.  Thus, we need to focus on the events, not the race, color, lines of separation and division, but on the outcomes and the fruits from those decisions when teaching history!The Duty of Americans

State’s Rights

I affirm in clear language that a state has the right to set the curriculum of government-mandated schools.  I support state’s rights to the fullest and would see each state prepare their students to meet the world and win!  Paradoxically, I also affirm in language clear that this legislation will do NOTHING to “combat false stereotypes” but will only increase racial division and disharmony in Illinois and any other state who refuses to learn the lessons from history.

History and Racial Focus

Content of their CharacterThink about this quote for a moment, who are the biggest race hustlers in America?  History has taught that when race is the only concern worth knowing people care only about race, to their demise.  Focusing on race is the sole reason why I have questioned, and continue to question, the validity of the arguments for National “Name your Favorite Minority” Month celebrations.  There are absolutes in this world; focusing solely upon race as a choice, will breed racial tensions as a consequence, is an absolute.  Recent history under President Obama reflected this exact issue to the Nth degree, yet nobody wants to have that discussion.  Why; because of race!

Bob MarleyWhen your focus is solely upon an individual’s race, race will be the only thing learned, the only lesson absorbed, and the fruit of that lesson are bitter.  Have people from various races achieved great things; absolutely, but why should their achievements be diminished by focusing solely upon their race?  Why should their achievements only be mentioned during “Name your Favorite Minority” monthly celebrations?  Has the 1960s taught us nothing about the character, knowledge, talents, curious minds, and the work performed where race was NEVER an issue?  I have books galore in my home; I continue to collect books about famous people of great accomplishment; I have never cared a whit about that person’s sex or gender.  Why; because their sex and gender, race, skin color, religion, handicap, or heritage have never been a factor.  As a kid, a thrill ran through me when I read the preamble to the US Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness [emphasis mine].

Even today, these words continue to guide me.  Show me; where in the Declaration of Independence does it discuss sex, race, heritage, religion, handicap, etc.?  NOWHERE!  A lesson America needs to relearn if she is to survive.  What hinders the pursuit of happiness, capturing inalienable rights, and stops liberty; focusing upon that which divides instead of that which unites!

PatriotismFrom the National Archives website, we find the following regarding the Declaration of Independence:

The Declaration of Independence states the principles on which our government, and our identity as Americans, are based. Unlike the other founding documents, the Declaration of Independence is not legally binding, but it is powerful. Abraham Lincoln called it “a rebuke and a stumbling-block to tyranny and oppression.” It continues to inspire people around the world to fight for freedom and equality” [emphasis in original].

Think about this for a moment.  The American Identity, the bedrock principles upon which America was built, the power cell for liberty and freedom across the world, begins with a simple truth:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness [emphasis mine].Image - John Wayne Quote

A document that is not legally binding holds power to inspire actions that unite people, provided our focus is not on those things which separate us.  Cementing the lesson discussed herein, focus on race and racial division is the only lesson learned, and the resulting fruit is bitter, chaos ensues, and problems abound in violence.  Why have we not learned these lessons from the 1960s, the Watt’s Riots, the death toll in Chicago that makes war zones safer than the streets of Chicago; the focus is on race, not the potential.  The focus is on the sex, the invented genders, the handicaps, the religions, the heritages, etc., not on what is essential, character and potential, freedom, liberty, and equality under the law.

Knowledge Check!We need to get back to teaching history, where the focus is on how the decisions and actions from the past hinder or help the present so that the future can be better.  Failing that, we desperately need to cease focusing upon race, gender, sex, religion, handicap, and heritage as these things only matter to the individual and not to historical records.  Failing that, America fails, and the light of liberty and freedom will be lost to the annals of history forever.  So, gather the fruit you choose, focus on race if you prefer, focus on gender, sex, handicap, veterans status, and every other line of separation.  Your fruit gathered will be most bitter indeed, for you will miss the rich tapestry of human interaction, for the dirt caught in the fabric.

Powering my third and final question to the legislative and executive branches of Illinois, “Knowing all this, why are you focused on race and forcing students to focus solely upon race?”

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Juneteenth and Critical Race Theory: A Head Scratching Conundrum!

QuestionI fully admit, every time “Juneteenth” comes around, I have to look up the word and the history to make sure someone is not pulling my leg.  For those like me, Juneteenth is the celebration of the emancipation of slaves in Texas from 19 June 1865.  Apparently, President Biden just made the day an Official U.S. Holiday, the first since Martin Luther King Day in the early 1980s.  There are times I feel like, for all the work I invest in knowing what is happening, I am still living under a rock.

Included at the bottom of this article are references to the source materials and knowledge gleaned.  Unless explicitly linked, the references below can support both my questions and my conclusions.  Feel free to expand your mind and read; be warned, though, once your mind expands, it can never go back!

The historical celebrations of Juneteenth included prayer, new clothes, hymn singing, and expressions of gratitude regarding being made free.  A celebration of freedom by slaves in America also included food.  I have never seen race; plain and simple truth!  Your choice of race is your business; how you act and live is more important than race, culture, creed, religion, handicap, and gender to me.  While working on my MBA degree, I was introduced to two concepts, critical race theory and the fact that the United Nations claims race and culture are a conscious choice.

WhyIf the United Nations can claim that a person’s race is a choice, then I am an American.  I am not distinguished by color, several colors, or even my history.  As a point of reference, America was set up that way for a reason; it releases people from bondage to not be judged by their family, their financial circumstances, historical tribal connections, color, or any other line of separation.  When America as a “Melting Pot” was described to me in school, I cheered because it meant I am not the sum of my family’s actions!

Then along comes Critical Race Theory, and my mind took a sudden jolt.  Critical Race Theory is a loosely organized intellectual movement based upon a shaky legal framework and premise claiming that race is not a natural, biological, or physical distinction separating subgroups of humans.  The intellectualists embrace Critical Race Theory and attempt to make race a sociological invention to oppress other people.  They further adhere to an almost religious belief that America is inherently racist, especially to African Americans.

Question 3Here is where my brain disconnects, the questions asked are honest, and I would appreciate dialog without emotion to attempt to answer the following questions:

    1. If the United Nations is correct, and race is a choice, how does Critical Race Theory have any followers and adherents?
        • Since race is my personal choice, I can be any race I choose, regardless of skin tones, speech, mannerisms, etc. How can anyone claim to be oppressed by another race?
        • How can race be an issue if race is a sociological construct?
        • Under the Rule of Law, there is no distinction of race. The lady of law has a blindfold for a reason, so she cannot judge by sight, only by hearing, and weigh the results on the scale.  Where is the legal justification for Critical Race Theory?
    2. Is Juneteenth a celebration just for black people? If so, doesn’t this upend the Critical Race Theorists?  If not, then what is Juneteenth historically?
        • If Juneteenth is a celebration of liberty, why did we need another holiday when the 4th of July celebrates freedom?
        • When considering people’s kept as slaves across history, race becomes an interesting variable if race is not a choice but a biological, physical, and method of sub-grouping humans. Africa has seen a lot of periods where one tribe conquers another, and the conquered became slaves.  The same pattern has been witnessed across all the different tribes, countries, and human species throughout world history.  Does this mean that Critical Race Theory was just proven invalid as a concept?
    3. If Juneteenth is a holiday only for those emancipated from slavery, does this mean others cannot celebrate humans ending forced servitude?Bob Marley
    4. Why is Critical Race Theory all about black oppression? Didn’t the American Indians have it much worse than black people in early-American history?  Where is the holiday for the American Indians being freed from reservations, empowered, and promoted as a distinct culture worthy of respect and study?
        • Wait, if the United Nations’ supposition is true, that culture and race are a choice, does this mean that the laws against and for American Indians are now in question and under doubt?
        • What about other indigenous tribes across the world facing brutal oppression? Are those laws invalid due to the United Nations or due to Critical Race Theory?
        • Which minority groups are “more equal” and “deserving” than other minority groups under the Critical Race Theory? Why the distinction if race is a choice and not a biological, physical, or cultural tribal distinction in human sub-groups?
    5. Since the American Indians owned slaves, why are the Critical Race Theorists attacking white people only?
        • If the United Nations is correct, then those purporting to be Critical Race Theorists are broadcasting their ignorance by adhering to a group that pushes a lie about race being a factor, right?Commit

I need to understand something, and history, as well as archeology, supports the following:

“White slavery pre-dates black slavery in America. This fact has been verified by forensic evidence from archaeological digs and historical documents uncovered by contemporary scholars, including Don Jordan and Michael Walsh in White Cargo (New York University Press: 2009).”

The stories behind white slavery, indentured servitude, and other means of conveying the purchase and abuse of people are incredibly heartbreaking.  What man has done to their fellow man through all of recorded history is appalling.  Trying to further that oppression through Critical Race Theory is despicable on a level I can not describe.  Yet, what do we see, Critical Race Theorists doing precisely that, getting a person to choose a race, then choose to allow themselves to be victimized and oppressed because of their choice to join a culture, tribe, or race.

Knowledge Check!Hence, my conundrum!  If we accept that race, culture, creed, and religion are choices made by humans without compulsory means, what is Critical Race Theory talking about and preaching?  If we refuse the belief that race, tribe, and culture are not choices, then we still have a logical disconnect between Critical Race Theorists and the history of civilization.  The Critical Race Theorists seem to be missing the forest for the bark they are stuck seeing.  Unfortunately, I still do not understand most holidays, since I prefer to work than rest, I do not need to know to understand the holiday, just save me some food.

Slavery References

Davis, J.B. “Slavery in the Cherokee Nation.”
Chronicles of Oklahoma, Vol. 11, No. 4. December 1993.

Gates Jr., Henry Louis. “Did Black People Own Slaves?”
The Root. 4 March 2013.

Gates Jr., Henry Louis. “How Many Slaves Landed in the U.S.?”
The Root. 6 January 2014.

Hall, Kermit L. The Oxford Companion to American Law.
New York: Oxford University Press USA, 2002. ISBN 0-195-08878-6.

Halliburton Jr., R. “Free Black Owners of Slaves: A Reappraisal of the Woodson Thesis.”
The South Carolina Historical Magazine, Vol. 76, No. 3. July 1975.

Johnson, Michael P., and Roark, James L. Black Masters: A Free Family of Color in the Old South.
New York: W. W. Norton, 1986. ISBN 0-393-30314-4.

Mintz, Steven. African-American Voices: A Documentary Reader, 1619-1877.
New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2009. ISBN 1-444-31077-1.

Rodriguez, Junius P. The Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery.
Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1997. ISBN 0-874-36885-5.

Russell, John Henderson. The Free Negro in Virginia, 1619-1865.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1913. ISBN 1-480-03049-X.

Walton, Hanes and Smith, Robert C. American Politics and the African American Quest for Universal Freedom.
London: Routledge, 2015. ISBN 1-317-35045-6.

Critical Race Theory Reference

Crenshaw, K., Gotanda, N., Peller, G., & Thomas, K. (1995). Critical race theory. The Key Writings that Formed the Movement. New York, 276-291.

Delgado, R., & Stefancic, J. (2017). Critical race theory: An introduction (3rd ed.). NYU Press.

Juneteenth References

Donovan, A., & De Bres, K. (2006). Foods of freedom: Juneteenth as a culinary tourist attraction. Tourism Review International, 9(4), 379-389.

Ellison, R. (2021). Juneteenth. Modern Library.

Taylor, C. A. (2002). Juneteenth: A celebration of freedom. Open Hand Publishing, LLC.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.