Black history for every public school kid!


The way one state's mandate works: As we noted this morning, the College Board's new Advanced Placement course won't affect all public school kids.

By definition, advanced placement courses are mainly designed for higher-performing kids. Last week, the Washington Post's Hannah Natanson penned a report about a certain number of states who are requiring the teaching of African American history to all their public school kids.

Full disclosure! What actually happens in various classrooms may not always match what state law requires. That said, here's the way Natanson's report began, invidious headline included:

As red states target Black history lessons, blue states embrace them

Even as lessons on Black history draw complaints from Republican governors, who argue the instruction is ideological, several blue states are moving in the opposite direction—mandating classes in African American, Latino and Puerto Rican studies—and setting up a uniquely American division over how we teach our past.

Since 2019, partly in response to the murder of George Floyd, at least four reliably Democratic states—Connecticut, Delaware, Maine and Rhode Island—have passed laws requiring instruction on Black history...Connecticut’s law says African American, Puerto Rican and Latino studies must be included in the social studies component of all public school curriculums. Delaware’s mandates that school districts offer instruction on Black history. Maine’s says that African American studies and the history of genocide must be included in state testing standards. And Rhode Island’s orders schools to include a unit on African History and Heritage.

It's odd to think that these reliably blue states had to wait for George Floyd's death to create such mandates. But then, as Abraham Lincoln said, let's judge not lest we be judged.

Stating the obvious and the important, black history is American history. To the extent that such mandates are followed, all the public school kids in those states will be given the type of instruction described.

We're tempted now to show you the mandates which were recently adumbrated by one of our better-known states. That said, doing so would involve us in a type of snark we've never indulged in before.

In the end, this topic is too important to be packaged in snark. That said, we'll show you the statewide mandate in question before the week is done.

For today, we'll tell you this:

Black history is American history. So is Native American history, dating back to the years before European contact. 

Every child should get a chance to take this vast history in. At question is the way that vast history will be taught to all those kids. 

Also at question is the extent to which our modern-day warring tribes are able to speak to each other. Please don't assume that it's only the Others who may have some blind spots there.


  1. "Every child should get a chance to take this vast history in. At question is the way that vast history will be taught to all those kids."

    Well said, dear Bob. Kinda trivial, though...

    ...anywho, how is your waiting for Mr. Ten Percent's Big War going these days? What are those famous future anthropologists saying? Will there be November this year? Next year?

    1. Every state should require Russian studies.

    2. There are a lot of Russian immigrants in Los Angeles who would like that, but at least it would enable American voters to better understand how Trump became president.

  2. "Please don't assume that it's only the Others who may have some blind spots there."

    If Somerby is going to bothsides the blind spots, he needs to tell us what he thinks they are. He never does that. It is only fair that when he criticizes the left, he actually describe the specific criticism and provide some evidence to support his accusations.

    Today, he teases some unknown state that he is presumably going to describe tomorrow. Too often, he never gets around to it. Meanwhile, he leaves us with the impression that there is some horrible blue state to be discussed later, tarnishing the blue state without ever mentioning its name (thus ALL the blue states share blame for a day, or longer or forever), while his readers are encouraged to wonder which is the bad one, considering each state in turn, before losing interest in Somerby's game.

    ANY blue state that is being inclusive about teaching history is doing fine, in my opinion. I am not going to wait for Somerby to tell me which one has imperfections, especially since I am unlikely to buy into his specious criticisms of schools that are at least addressing the problem of all those disappeared people's histories.

    1. Well, Bob doesn't respond directly to stuff in
      the comment section, but can I give it a shot off
      the top of my head?
      When you teach the history of slavery, are
      you going to mention the African nations role in
      setting the whole thing up?
      Are you going to tell that, even in slavery times,
      many blacks came to America who were not slaves?
      Are you going to tell students that in the 1960s
      there was a black man on the Supreme Court who
      was not an Uncle Tom like Clarence Thomas?
      Are you going to explain that the second amendment was dreamed up in large part for
      slave owners to keep track of their property, even
      if that pisses off black gun owners?
      That there were black slave owners is now
      mentioned pretty regularly (and probably too much,
      given that it was a very limited thing), but will
      you mention that?
      Are you going to mention the money the
      American taxpayer has put into social programs
      designed to create equality? (including busing,
      which did trigger crude and violent reactions from
      racist whites.)

    2. Yes, and I would also tell them that there were Indian slaves and white slaves and indentured servants, and those transported from England against their will. And I will talk about the slave rebellions and the Irish draft riot and the streetcar riot against African Americans. And Lincoln's support for Back to Africa, and about Marcus Garvey. And I'll explain about the black Muslims and the KKK. And I will point out that those social programs are the reason we have progress and we need to keep them up, despite opposition. And I will point out that black musicians got ripped off by Motown and I'll talk about the Sunset laws and redlining and the two black female farmers in CO today who are being harassed today by white neighbors, and the historical ways in which black farmers and ranchers and land owners were driven off their legitimate plots of land. And lynching. And the way Bessie Smith (a famous singer) died because she was denied treatment at a white-only hospital. All of it.

      When Somerby starts saying that we need to go slowly or stop teaching black history because it is too hard to pick and choose which parts, I will point out that he is engaging in the same obstructionism that has happened with all black progress over our nation's history.

  3. There are a lot of white and black people who do not know that the South refused to implement Brown v Board of Education until well into the 60s and 70s. That meant that black children didn't have ANY schools to attend, not simply segregated ones, in several Southern states. And they don't know about the anti-busing riots in the northern states that occurred when segregated urban schools were told they had to integrate by the courts. And they don't know what the term "de facto segregation" means at all. And then they read the opposition to integrating special schools and programs in NY City and think Somerby has a point, without noticing the long tradition of foot-dragging when it comes to equal education in our country, our entire country. This is why everyone needs to hearn African American history, in ALL of the states, regardless of political majority.

    Somerby is being an asshole when he pretends there is any reason to humor the red states on these matters.

  4. Yes, this is all American history. Somerby needs to ask himself why it is not being taught already. It is almost as if Somerby doesn't know that black kids were recently denied ALL education, not just their own history. It is almost as if Somerby thinks the red states have valid concerns about HOW this is taught, and are not just obstructing ANY and ALL teaching of minority history as part of American History. It is almost as if Somerby thinks DeSantis is acting in good faith, out of legitimate concerns over the specifics of teaching history to children.

    Can Somerby truly be this disingenuous? The only people who will be fooled by Somerby's concern trolling today are those who do not already know our country's history.

    1. Are black kids not taught "their own history"? Black kids are Americans. All of American history is their
      history. The early colonies are their history. The Revolutionary War is their history. The Constitution is their history. The Great Depression is their history. WW1 and WW2 are their history.

      These events are my history, too, even though my ancestors weren't in the US during many of these events

    2. Yes, David, black children are not being taught their history because black history is not included in the mainstream history taught in their classrooms. Yes, ALL of American history is also black children's history, but the same applies to white students -- the history of black people in American is THEIR history too and they need to know it and own it. And you are right that you personally own slavery, even if your ancestors were not here when it was happening.

      Watch the film Hidden Figures and answer truthfully what would have happened to the space program without the black female "computers" who did the math. That movie is historically accurate, not made for Hollywood in terms of its factual content. Those black women made essential contributions. How can any history of our space program leave them out? And yet, they did. And that was a lie. It is time to correct the lies being fed to innocent children of all colors.

    3. @7:11 -- Yes, black women contributed to our space program, as you point out. Many minorities contributed to our space program. Didn't gays, Mormons, Italian Americans, Jewish Americans, Irish Americans, Polish Americans, Chinese Americans, etc. also contribute to our space program? I would think so. So, should the space program be taught in separate classes in Mormon Studies, Italian Studies, Irish-American Studies, Jewish-American Studies, Gay Studies, African American Studies, Irish-American Studies, etc,? Of course not. But, if the black contribution should be taught as African American Studies, then shouldn't all the other groups' contributions be taught the same way?

    4. Maybe it could be taught as Intersectionality Studies.

    5. David, none of them were disappeared from the record. We saw them in The Right Stuff.

    6. Is it any surprise that DinC is slobbering all over the new great white hope from FL?

  5. Somerby is distracting his readers with culture war nonsense, while Marjorie Taylor Greene is talking about secession:

    And Somerby has the nerve to tell us that The Others may have a point about anything.

    1. Build the wall at the Mason-Dixon line.

    2. MTG herself lives in a blue state.

    3. "blue"? "Blue" is sad.
      The state of MTG is more "miserable" or "pathetic", than "blue".

  6. Somerby's efforts here daily to denigrate experts and challenge the idea of expertise or knowledge, to attack the media which is an important source of information

    1. Bob Somerby is the Matt Drudge of Roger Stones.