We need to move past defending needless monuments erected in eras that sent specific messages to formerly enslaved people. We need to understand our history more, not less. That means we deal with the power of Thomas Jefferson’s words as well as his slaveholding mentality and brutality.
We need a more full education as we keep cutting history programs from our education processes. Then, the history we have left is truncated.
Clint Smith, in his book How the Word is Passed, gives examples of current struggles in education:
“In 2015 , the (Texas) State Board of Education and publisher McGraw-Hill Education came under fire for providing students with a textbook that described how the transatlantic slave trade brought ‘millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations.’ It seemed to many to be a deliberate obfuscation of the fact that Africans were forcibly and violently stripped from their homelands, not people who were just ‘workers’ who simply agreed to come help cultivate North American land. In April 2018, eight graders at Great Hearts Monte Vista North charter school in San Antonio were asked to complete a worksheet titled “The Life of Slaves: A Balanced View,” which had two columns in which the students were meant to write the “positive” elements of slavery in one and the “negative” elements in the other. A textbook that had been used at the school included a description of how slavery included ‘kind and generous owners’ and enslaved people who ‘may not have been terribly unhappy.’ The Texas State Board of Education has since revised the standards so that, across the state, slavery is understood to have played a ‘central role’ in causing the Civil War.” (pp. 203-204)
We, as whites, claim people want to tear down history… when it is US who refuse to learn history more fully.