#1544 Block History Month: The Campaign to Erase Uncomfortable Truths About Black History (Transcript)

Air Date 2/17/2022

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JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: Welcome to this episode of the award-winning Best of the Left podcast, in which we shall take a look at the importance of teaching a full and unflinching version of Black history and why the campaign to block it is reaching a peak at this moment in time. Clips today are from Today, Explained, What Next, Counter Stories, Latino Rebels Radio, Here Wee Read, and All In with Chris Hayes, with additional members only clips from At Liberty and Then and Now.

The fight over AP African American Studies - Today, Explained - Air Date 2-7-23

TONY GREEN: I'm a teacher and a coach in Oakland, and I have been a teacher and a coach for the last 42 years. I've taught economics and foreign policy. I've taught the Rise of Black nationalism, Caribbean coffee cane and culture, African-American studies, and currently I'm teaching Advanced Placement African-American Studies.

NOEL KING - HOST, TODAY, EXPLAINED: Mr. Green, Tony, is one of sixty teachers in the United States who taught the pilot version of the AP African-American Studies course. I asked him why teaching an AP course on African-American [00:01:00] Studies is important to him.

TONY GREEN: When I first started my formal education, I went to school in a housing project in Vallejo called Flawston Elementary School, and it was in the Floyd Terrace housing project. At that point, history was taught to us by very young teenage Black Panthers, as it was at the start of their Black Panther breakfast program in about 1968, I would say. And growing up, the housing project at my school was in, half of it burned down in 1968 rebellions that happened after Martin Luther King's assassination.

So my parents took me out of that school and they moved me across town to an all-white school. And at that point, when they started to refer to history, I no longer heard anything about what Black folks had done historically. And so my perspective on the [00:02:00] truth and what I was being told really changed. And I started to learn history from a Western perspective. And it did not jive with what I had learned previously. And so my total focus in terms of education from that point forward was learning more about African-American history and studies. And when this opportunity availed itself this past summer to teach Advanced Placement African-American studies, I jumped at it. And the reason why I think advanced placement African-American Studies is so important is because it's a national recognition of real history.

NOEL KING - HOST, TODAY, EXPLAINED: Tell me, what does “Pilot” mean in this context, for you and for your students?

TONY GREEN: It means that the students do not get Advanced Placement credit for college. They did not get college credit at this point until it's fully accepted by the College Board. I currently have 65 students, [00:03:00] so the students were very interested in the course and it's become very popular. I see the students as revolutionaries, especially if you look at the content that they are pushing out there. It's at a very high level.

NOEL KING - HOST, TODAY, EXPLAINED: Even though your students weren't getting the college credit, they wanted to take this class.

TONY GREEN: Exactly. 100% correct.

NOEL KING - HOST, TODAY, EXPLAINED: Let me ask you what the students liked about it. When you would sit with a young person and they would tell you, "I really enjoy this," what would they say specifically?

TONY GREEN: I would say the information that's contained that they had no concept of. They had no concept of. Give you an example, Abubakari II, the you know that the brother of the richest man in history, Mansa Musa, who was able to actually navigate the seas before the supposed father of the age of Discovery, Christopher Columbus in 1492. [00:04:00] Abubakari did it in the 1300s. They had no idea that you had, number of Islamic universities connected to Africa that preceded universities in Europe. The oldest continuous university, the University of Karim in Morocco, still open today. So they did not have any idea that Africans had access to this extensive knowledge that would actually put them at the forefront of, of knowledge, scientific and otherwise, the forefront of mankind's knowledge base.

NOEL KING - HOST, TODAY, EXPLAINED: Let me ask you something, Mr. Green. Parts of this course really set conservative Americans on edge. It seemed like there were things it seemed like there were lessons that were more in the present day that had conservatives really concerned. What were those parts?

TONY GREEN: Well, I would say one of the main issues that conservatives [00:05:00] have is the idea of the Black Lives Matter movement. Historically, there's been a major concern since Reconstruction has ended about the intimidation of Black people brought on, directly or indirectly, by the United States government. And it perpetuates itself currently in the actions that the police have in relationship largely to Black males or sometimes in Black females. There's a number of cases that have caused Black activists to respond by creating this movement called the Black Lives Matter movement. Why that is threatening to conservatives, I would link basically to racism.

The belief that Black people are not fully human, which is something that extends throughout the, [00:06:00] colonial period to the contemporary historical period. Black people react with extreme anger. And I wouldn't say just Black people, if you look at the Black Lives Matter movement, which was an international movement. And so when they respond to anger, it's natural. Racists don't think that it's natural because they don't believe that Black people are fully human. They think that there's something wrong with us. But if you look at history, and this is the beauty of Advanced Placement African-American history, it tells exactly who we are as humans.

NOEL KING - HOST, TODAY, EXPLAINED: So you are teaching this course. Your students are really enjoying it. You like it as well. When did you start hearing that there might be pushback about the content and what were you hearing?

TONY GREEN: During the summer when we first got together at Howard University, there was a discussion amongst quite a few teachers, [00:07:00] you know, social discussion, that in some states there might be pushback because of the content and because of the history of certain states. In terms of the most recent thing in Florida, a week to two weeks ago, a discussion about what the what the guy down there would be talking about and how he would be attempting to use it to leverage his own political ambitions, which I think is exactly what it's doing. He's trying to leverage this idea.

My family is from Florida and my mom's side is all from Florida. My grandmother fought off the Klan with a shotgun. That's Florida. If you look at Black history in the Americas, the first Black settlement in the United States, Fort Mose, or Fort Negro in Florida, it’s now Saint Augustine. That was built by Black hands. We learn that in Advanced Placement African-American Studies. [00:08:00] There's always been pushback from white racists in Florida. So that was sort of expected. Some of the teachers that were teaching it down there expected it as well. All right. But politically, now all of a sudden we're starting to talk about this guy instead of talking about Advanced Placement African-American Studies. And he's consuming a lot of the oxygen. I'm here in D.C. for this celebration of this course, but the oxygen was actually sucked out over the last week for this guy down in Florida. And it's doing exactly what he wanted it to do, is cause this controversy.

How Florida’s School Censorship Spreads - What Next - Air Date 2-9-23

MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: Like a lot of people, I heard about the fight over African-American Studies in Florida and I thought, "well, that sounds like Ron DeSantis being Ron DeSantis." After all, Florida’s governor has made education into a major talking point, rejecting any historical information his administration thinks might [00:09:00] make America’s children feel bad about themselves and their country.

But I called up Jeremy Young, a historian at PEN America, because he says what happened with this AP class is actually an indication of something bigger that’s going on in public education. It’s just that this larger conflict is most clearly visible in Florida with something like this Advanced Placement stunt. So I asked him to start at the beginning. He said he first heard about the AP program offering African-American Studies a few months back. And at the time, he was optimistic about it.

JEREMY YOUNG: It sounded like a really exciting new departure for the Advanced Placement Program, which often focuses on courses that are universally offered in college core curricula, U.S. history, early mathematics courses, English literature, things of that sort.

MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: You’re saying Advanced placement's a little basic sometimes?

JEREMY YOUNG: Well, yes, because they want to make sure that the courses [00:10:00] going to be accepted and needed in every college in the country when it when they are transferred. To include African-American studies, it’s an acknowledgment of the fundamental importance of the field, absolutely.

MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: So when did it become clear that things in Florida weren’t going so great for this AP African-American history course?

JEREMY YOUNG: In some ways, it wasn’t shocking given other things that have happened in Florida around education in the recent past, but there was not any public warning that there was going to be an attack on this AP course or a rejection of this AP course until it was rejected. There was an article in the National Review quoting a letter from the State Department of Education declaring that the course was not teaching legitimate history or content.

MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: Yeah, this was a letter from Manny Diaz, the commissioner of education in Florida, right?

JEREMY YOUNG: Right. For Manny Diaz. And the AP received it. And that was the first that this was publicly known that this was going to happen.

MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: Yeah. What was interesting to me about that letter from Diaz is that he cited [00:11:00] specific academics in it. He called out Kimberly Crenshaw, who people may be familiar with. Some people say that she was one of the people to name Critical Race Theory. He calls out bell hooks, who is a poet, feminist, Black scholar. I know who some of these people are. I wonder, like, is the inclusion of these thinkers some kind of indoctrination in your opinion?

JEREMY YOUNG: The first thing to understand about this is that this is an African-American Studies course, not an African-American history course. So the state is assuming that some sort of pantheon of famous political figures or celebrities in African-American history is what this court should be teaching, that’s not it at all. African-American Studies is an interdisciplinary field that draws on history, literature, fine and performing arts, sociology and other cultural studies fields. And, and it also has its own distinct methodology.

And these two figures, Kimberly Crenshaw, who coined the term and the concept of intersectionality and bell hooks, [00:12:00] the noted African-American feminist writer, these are two of the towering figures in the field of African-American Studies. And to learn African-American Studies is to survey the thought of prominent African-American thinkers, among other things. And you simply cannot do that without including thinkers from all aspects of the spectrum and from all aspects of the field.

MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: Yeah, it didn’t really surprise me that Ron DeSantis and his administration were picking a fight over this class, but it did surprise me what happened next, which is the College Board announcing that they were going to upend their curriculum and not just in Florida for everyone. Did that move surprised you?

JEREMY YOUNG: Not really. And I should know that the College Board has said that publicly, that they did not make any changes to the curriculum on the basis of the governor’s comments.

MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: They just happened to do it right around the same time.

JEREMY YOUNG: Well. So so I think there’s some truth [00:13:00] to this. I think there’s truth in two ways. First, it is true that these are dense readings, as the College Board has claimed, that some students may find them difficult, but it beggars belief that they truly intended to eliminate all of the content areas that these readings focus on. Because they have done that, they have eliminated the unit on queer theory. They have eliminated the unit on Black Lives Matter. Not just the readings, but the entire unit.

The other way that there’s truth to their comment is this course was being criticized by conservative commentators, by pundits, and perhaps by local figures as well, while it was being piloted before the governor got to it. So it is quite possible that the College Board made these this capitulation to these other critics before the governor jumped on the bandwagon.

MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: Because they saw the writing on the.

JEREMY YOUNG: Wall, because they saw the writing on the wall. And the College Board has a history of doing whatever it needs to to maintain its status as an accepted option in all [00:14:00] 50 states.

MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: It turns out that before this back and forth over African-American Studies, the Advanced Placement Program twisted itself in knots over U.S. history. This was back in 2014. Conservatives complained the course was not "pro-American" enough. Some states, like Oklahoma, considered rejecting the class entirely.

JEREMY YOUNG: And ultimately, the College Board responded to that criticism by adding a unit on American exceptionalism, which said only positive things about American history and culture.


JEREMY YOUNG: So the College Board has never been shy about being willing to defend its position in these states, really, almost no matter what capitulation they have to do to make that happen.

MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: Yeah, I mean, when I read a bit about this decision in 2014, 2015 about the U.S. history course, it was interesting to me how explicit the changes were about race. Like one [00:15:00] change that one person noted was that the 2014 version, the original version of this history course, talked about Manifest Destiny—the idea that settlers, White settlers in the United States should move west, that it was part of their mission to do that. That this was about cultural superiority. Originally. This course said this was about White people making this decision to move west inside North America, and it was about cultural superiority among white people. But then when the curriculum was published, they sort of they got rid of the White aspect.

JEREMY YOUNG: It always surprises me when critics of these curricula want to take the explicit mention of race out of these courses, because if you look at the historical documents, and I’m a U.S. historian by training, if you look at the historical documents from these periods, the White historical figures who were promoting concepts like Manifest Destiny were very open about the fact that they were doing it to promote what they would call [00:16:00] the White race. You can find innumerable quotes from senators and governors and even presidents making exactly this argument. They weren’t shy about it. It’s not something that’s being inserted later by historians. And yet there seems to be this squeamishness around talking about that fact when we talk about American history.

MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: I think the College Board censoring itself is so important here because when I dug in and I think this was some of your writing, where you noted that when states have tried to ban things like ethnic studies in the past, like Arizona tried to do this, there have been court rulings saying you can’t do that, that’s racist. That’s motivated by racial animus, that’s not allowed. And so a ban, like what Ron DeSantis was doing, you can potentially challenge that in court and flip it around. But if the College Board is censoring itself and responding to criticism and watering down the [00:17:00] curriculum, you don’t get that opportunity to have that conversation and have a ruling on the other end.

JEREMY YOUNG: That’s exactly right. And, you know, that is the way that this educational censorship has tended to work. When a law censors content in a classroom or when it when a elected official censors a course, as we’ve seen in this case, what happens is that the law is only infrequently enforced directly. We have seen some instances where some of these censorship laws have been enforced and have resulted in punishments for school districts or for teachers, but it’s rare.

What tends to happen instead is that the law creates a chilling effect on speech. The law, because of its vagueness, because it’s so unclear to teachers, to administrators what exactly is being banned and why it’s being banned, it leads them out of an abundance of caution and the prudent management of risk to censor themselves, and in the case of administrators, to censor the teachers who they [00:18:00] supervise. And so it’s not surprising to see the College Board fall prey to the same trap that many teachers are having to deal with.

MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: Jeremy Young wrote a whole report about these censorship laws last year. He calls them educational gag orders. These laws ban certain concepts like so-called Critical Race Theory, and they allow parents to sue if they feel a school is in violation of them. Jeremy is only found a few examples of parents or other interested parties bringing the school to court for what’s going on in the classroom, but he worries that it doesn’t take a whole lot of legal action for these rules to have a chilling effect.

JEREMY YOUNG: So the ultimate outcome of this is to silence teachers and silence classrooms.

MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: And there was a RAND report recently that came out that kind of boosted this because it surveyed thousands of teachers and principals and basically echoed this findings, said that teachers feel like they need to hold themselves back and especially Black teachers, I guess, because they feel more [00:19:00] vulnerable. I’m not sure.

JEREMY YOUNG: That’s absolutely right. The survey from the RAND Corporation found that over a quarter of teachers are self-censoring or being told to censor their content. The numbers are higher among social studies teachers, and they are higher among Black or African-American teachers in states that have passed educational gag order laws. There are 17 states where that’s the case.

MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: So your state doesn’t even need to have passed a gag order for the teachers to be censoring themselves. It just needs to be like in the ether the way it is. But then it’s worse if you’re somewhere where there is a law.

JEREMY YOUNG: That’s right. And there was a remarkable quote in this report where a teacher said the state told us we couldn’t teach Critical Race Theory, and none of us were, but now I’m afraid to teach Frederick Douglass, because I don’t think the people in my community know the difference between Black history and Critical Race Theory. That’s just a heartbreaking comment, and I think it really underscores the real effect of these laws, which is not to ban this concept that is not being taught [00:20:00] in K-through-12 classrooms, but instead to silence all sorts of teaching about African-American history, slavery, racism and gender and sexuality.

Erasing History - Counter Stories - Air Date 6-4-21

DON EUBANKS - HOST, COUNTER STORIES: There's this racial reckoning that's happening in this country, and unfortunately while many of us are grappling with this, cuz I know in Indian country, and I know many people are, have responded to this mass grave of Native American children that were found. And we know that there are many other Native American children who have disappeared, mysteriously disappeared, when they went to boarding schools here in the United States. You look at the similarities in terms of what happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the fact that no one even has a number on the number of Blacks that were killed in this riot where White men came in [00:21:00] and burned down, planes flew over and dropped fire bombs on Greenwood, Oklahoma. They don't even know how many people died and they're searching for these bodies, cuz I'm well aware that Iowa and three or four other states are all trying to pass similar legislation that won't allow us to have the kind of discussions we need to have in this country. One to reconcile events like we're you know, that are coming up, and for this country to move forward. So I'm wondering what your guys' thoughts are.

LUZ MARIA FRIAS - HOST, COUNTER STORIES: With respect to the unearthing of these 215 bodies of children who were formally enrolled as students in these boarding schools—and I should correct myself, it's not enrolled, they were taken.

DON EUBANKS - HOST, COUNTER STORIES: Thank you. I was gonna say formally enrolled is the wrong language.

LUZ MARIA FRIAS - HOST, COUNTER STORIES: [00:22:00] No, I, I caught myself. I caught myself. They were forced into it against their will, and yes, and actually many taken by force from their families at gunpoint, as I read the reports.

 What we need to really understand is that this is a culmination of work that's been done in Canada that we have yet to do in the US, which means that in Canada at least, they had a truth and reconciliation process that I understand occurred where they identified 130 schools, right? And they began to then understand what the issues were and what needed to be done, and began to have, as a, the name of the effort, truth and reconciliation. Tell the truth of what happened, how it happened, before you began to start moving past and healing with community.

Well, in the US we're nowhere near that. I mean, from my understanding, there have been at least [00:23:00] 367 schools, boarding schools identified in the United States. So more than twice the number of the boarding schools found and identified in Canada. We are nowhere near where we need to. In terms of forcing and coming to the truth that needs to be had, forcing that conversation to take place in the US. Telling the truth, understanding the atrocities that occurred from beginning to end, from beginning and snatching these young children from the arms of their parents, forcing them into these schools and the abuse, I mean the abuse that's been unearthed in the schools in Canada from sexual abuse and rape of young girls, Indian girls, impregnating young girls, minors, and having those [00:24:00] difficult conversations that need to be had.

ANTHONY GALLOWAY - HOST, COUNTER STORIES: There's a striking correlation between our inability to be honest about this particular history and the project that is in play trying to position Critical Race Theory as something other than it is. I think it's important to underscore, and I see a direct correlation this uncovering at the Kamloops Indian School in Canada, which was specifically designed to, as Don you have told us over, the purpose of these boarding schools was very specific and extinct. "Kill the Indian, save the Man" was the motto that was used to justify these schools that would not allow native folks to practice any of their traditions. Again, washing away, and trying to control what a person can or cannot learn, that is part of their heritage and the true history.

I think the attacks on Critical Race Theory are, one are nefarious for that reason. I wanna point out that Critical Race Theory itself was an argument that came from lawyers with the core [00:25:00] tenets being one, that racism is socially constructed. This is what Critical Race Theory says, that race is socially constructed, not biologically natural. Two, that racism in the United States is a normed way of being, ie. it has been part of our entire history throughout. And the third piece looks at, to advance and move through a system, there has to be, we have to take into account the times that we have moved forward has been because we have found the nexus of interest convergence. And then the fourth one that, we all have experienced different racialization, that we all have different experiences based on that race, and then one that we have to be telling counter narratives to the dominant narrative, which does not tell all these stories, which is what we get our name from. Counter Stories.

Those are just some of the tenets of Critical Race Theory that say we need to look with the critical eye at the impact of race on lives. This is very purposefully missing from arguments to ban Critical Race [00:26:00] Theory, because if they were there, folks would say, "what is the problem?" this is us looking with a critical eye on how race has impacted our society. And I think it is being conflated purposefully in this conflation with "shame", because our history is shameful and we need to honor that and move forward and pass that, and we've got folks who are trying to use this to distract from other things.

I see a very similar project with trying to wipe away our racialized history and experience and the reality of those for the sake of the comfortability of the folks who are unwilling to look at our history in real way, and the project that was trying to erase the cultural understanding and identity of Native peoples through these boarding schools. I see a very deep and clear correlation.

LUZ MARIA FRIAS - HOST, COUNTER STORIES: Yes, and, and the other part of that, Anthony, is the fact that so much of our society across our country functions on sound bites. So the folks are not taking the time to read and [00:27:00] understand what you just said. They hear a soundbite, "Critical Race Theory is wrong, it's bad, it's harmful, it's divisive," whatever other arguments that folks are putting forth, which are all, inaccurate. But there's a foundational willingness to be ignorant of the facts to their own benefit. So folks who don't take the time to read past the headline, or do any of the analytical type of discussion or exploration of the material on their own or with folks that are within their circle, they end up having this close-minded mindset as well as a close-minded environment by design and the benefit from it, cuz then they don't have to talk about it and they don't have to be a part of it.

Combating Anti-History - Latino Rebels Radio - Air Date 2-9-23

JULIO RICARDO VARELA - HOST, LATINO REBELS: You brought up so many things that I just want to break down a couple because -- take me back like [00:28:00] 13 years ago or 2009, take me back as someone who was involved in the curriculum, how it was providing value to kids in the district, but then you start seeing the Republican movement in Arizona, given all those names and others, and the buzzwords, right? [Spanish] You know, not American. Take me back. Why was it so important to do this, and what were the kids doing? How did they feel? How did you feel when this shit was going on? Because it was shit. I'm sorry.

SEAN ARCE: Yeah. You know, it was just the rhetoric in and around the quote unquote "controversy" was that we were anti-American, we were distorting history, including the lived experiences of our students. These are all sound educational methods, right? We're not into historical distortion. We're into looking at primary sources, analyzing them, and these primary sources that we're looking at in these historical narratives as counter narratives to the mainstream [00:29:00] narrative or the dominant narrative.

We're a threat, right? Because we were exposing so much of the local Arizona history and the cultural genocide and the actual genocide against native peoples, against Mexican origin folks, contemporary issues that were negatively impacting our communities, and that was utilized against us. And so we were developing critical literacies with and for our students. And so that served as a demographic threat, it served as a political threat.

JULIO RICARDO VARELA - HOST, LATINO REBELS: Yes. Smart Mexican American kids or Chicanos or indigenous kids with knowledge -- that's dangerous.

SEAN ARCE: Kids that can read and write and speak is a danger, right? It's a political threat to some folks, and who are in defense of their communities, who are advocates for their communities.

No one came around when our kids were failing miserably. We had court-ordered audits on our program, and that was funded by the state of Arizona. And they kept coming back in our favor. I mean, we closed the academic achievement gap. Students [00:30:00] were developing a positive image of themselves and their community, et cetera. And so that really served as a threat.

So wild thing, in court, in the federal courts in the Ninth Circuit, these politicians were asked, so the judges were dumbfounded. They were like, well, these kids are closing the academic achievement gap. Isn't that what your position as a state superintendent is? Should [not that be] something that y'all should be celebrating? Horne and Huppenthal respond, no, it doesn't matter, these kids achieving academically, when their teaching is anti-American rhetoric, et cetera. So the judges almost had to stop themselves from laughing at these folks.

JULIO RICARDO VARELA - HOST, LATINO REBELS: There's so much there. But listen, you mentioned that you are in California, and you gotta leave Arizona, right?


JULIO RICARDO VARELA - HOST, LATINO REBELS: In the midst of all this -- seriously, go to Latino Rebels, 2011, 2012. Also, Fernando Santos, our editorial director, was covering this for the New York Times back in the day. And there's some great articles about that.

But in 2012, you were let go, right? [00:31:00] You were in the midst of this extreme opposition, you were let go.

SEAN ARCE: Yes, and I contested our board of education, I contested our superintendent, that this was a racist law and we have to challenge it in the courts. They refused. And although it took seven years, we ended up, we were right.

JULIO RICARDO VARELA - HOST, LATINO REBELS: And know you were. But talk to me about back then, because you as an educator, you're fighting, you know it's the right thing. And also this came around the same month -- I remember this and I think I congratulated you on Facebook -- you won this award from the Zen Education Project for your work teaching a more complex understanding of -- this is the reason you got the award -- because you were teaching a more complex understanding of our history beyond the lessons we find in textbooks, which to be honest with you, there are few of them. So that was ironic, huh?

SEAN ARCE: Yeah. And I was fired a week after. But I think that award was really reflective of our collective within the Mexican American studies program. I was just a figurehead in the burro, if you will, the one that worked hard.

JULIO RICARDO VARELA - HOST, LATINO REBELS: But, you're a good burro in all the positive sense of the burro. You're not the burro supido though. [00:32:00] You know what I'm saying? Like you were smart as fuck.

SEAN ARCE: You know, there's a book, Burro Genius, but we could, yeah.

JULIO RICARDO VARELA - HOST, LATINO REBELS: That's who you are. That should be your tag name.

SEAN ARCE: Yeah. I don't wanna pop my collar too much.

But it was wild in that sense. But, it really backfired on folks. Right now, ironically, I just got out of a professional develop meeting working with teachers. I'm working with the educational consultant with the Chicanex Institute for Teaching and Organizing. We're working in several districts in California. I had to step out of the classroom after 25 years. I served in South Central Los Angeles serving a beautiful community, a Black, Brown, really heterogeneous, right? We're not all Latino community. We're not all Mexican. And it's just been a great experience for me.

But this whole thing has backfired where you have the largest state in the union in California mandating an ethnic study graduation requirement. So the work that I'm doing right now, aside from adjuncting at Cal State Long Beach teaching [00:33:00] Chicanx, Latinx studies, I'm working with teachers on how to implement this on a statewide level. I never would've thought 10 years ago that we'd be doing this.

JULIO RICARDO VARELA - HOST, LATINO REBELS: But here you are. But everything has a purpose. But let's talk about 2017. Let's talk about the -- that's the year of the trial. When was the year?

SEAN ARCE: It was 2010 to 2017. Judge Wallace Tashima of the Ninth Circuit ruled in December of 2017.

JULIO RICARDO VARELA - HOST, LATINO REBELS: That's right, I knew it was coming around to o, 'cause we actually covered that.

Let's focus on the trial, but also now you're looking at what's happened in Florida, right? And I'm sure you're sitting there watching and you're like, okay, Burro Genius already, I know what's up here. I've lived this. Right? You know I say that with love, Sean.

SEAN ARCE: Yes, of course, of course.

JULIO RICARDO VARELA - HOST, LATINO REBELS: So what advice would you give to people who are trying to protect their right, right now, to a more inclusive and nuanced approach to education, given what you and the collective out in Arizona and all the wonderful people that I've gotten to know and [00:34:00] admire -- what would you tell people given your experience?

SEAN ARCE: You know, as I identify as Chicanx, as Chicano, and I stand in solidarity with the Black community, and anti-Blackness is pervasive and persistent. DeSantis, like you mentioned earlier, is again, using these racial coded appeals to incite this fervor and the racial anxiety.

Interestingly, going back to the court case, how our Arce versus State of Arizona case is directly related to what's going on in Florida, it is a precedent case. So DeSantis is really exposing himself, by utilizing these dog whistle politics, these racial coded appeals, saying that African American history is not legitimate, they're not legitimate forms of knowledge, there's no applicability. I mean, he's just really demonizing and dehumanizing the Black experience. And this might get him into, unfortunately, might get him into the presidency. I mean, we all saw Trump won on an anti-Mexican platform. So they have this [00:35:00] game and this template down. But anyways, our case, Arce versus State of Arizona was utilized initially to stop the Muslim ban. Unfortunately, that went through. It has been utilized all the way to the US Supreme Court as a precedent case to keep DACA going. And then, right now some of the folks that were expert witnesses on our case are working with the folks in Florida to utilize Arce again, as a precedent case. I'm not a legal analyst by any means.

JULIO RICARDO VARELA - HOST, LATINO REBELS: I'm not gonna hold you to anything. We don't play lawyers on television.

SEAN ARCE: I'm just experienced, but I do know our folks are working in solidarity with the Black community, considering Arce versus State of Arizona, our expert witnesses. You know, that's how we could work in solidarity. It's really critical to work across communities, to work across our quote unquote "racialized communities."


SEAN ARCE: Because that's what is happening right now, as DeSantis has continued this racialization of the Black community. And so I hope [00:36:00] that we could be of assistance. I'm currently working with educational collectives, consultants, collectives, where we work across communities. We find that we're much stronger working together, the diversity of ideas, of educational approaches, and then political approaches to how are we going to defend these forms of knowledges? How are we gonna defend the attacks that are certain to come?

Even in the "progressive" state of California, we're continuously dealing with the naysayers. They're not basing their critique on any type of educational methodology or any type of substantiation. Rather, they are leaning and depending on these racial coded appeals in this racial anxiety, that the Mexican, the Latinx population is continuing to be the boogeyman and we're seeing this in Florida with the Black community there and how they're being demonized and dehumanized.

So this is definitely an ongoing effort. I'm just fortunate to be a part of a collective in a [00:37:00] community that participated and engaged and contributed to some earlier efforts. But there's so much work to be done.

Black History Month: Teaching Beyond Slavery, Racism, Oppression, and Struggle - Here Wee Read - Air Date 2-1-22

CHARNAIE GORDAN - HOST, HERE WE READ: Your biggest mistake with Black History Month is... only reading books about slavery, racism, oppression, and struggle. Then I went on to say in the comments of the post, let's move beyond exclusively reading books that focus on slavery, racism, oppression, and struggle for Black History Month. Also incorporate more books at that show Black Excellence, Black Leaders, inventors, scientists, artists, and Black joy. Do this all year long, and not just during the month of February. "Can you commit to that this year and every year going forward with your children or students?"

That was the end of my post. After seeing the success of this video, it [00:38:00] got me to thinking why this may have struck a chord with so many people. But then I realized it's because America is so divided, and many schools are still teaching outdated history that always begins with the period of slavery during Black History Month. I remember growing up, black History Month wasn't even really acknowledged and celebrated as much as it is now. But apart from that, if we did learn anything about Black people, it was always about the struggle and the pain that Black people in America have faced. Never did I learn about influential Black leaders, except of course for the usual top two, and I'm talking about Martin Luther King Jr. And Rosa Parks.

Black History is so much more than Dr. King and Rosa Parks. While learning accurate history [00:39:00] is important, we need to be teaching kids, and adults, about Black excellence, Black leaders, inventors, scientists, artists, cowboys, and Black joy to raise a better generation.

I also think it's time to stop segregating Black history from American history. Doing this keeps Black Americans contributions to America separate and not equal. It's okay to talk about the contributions Black people have made to America and other countries around the world year round, and not just during the month of February here in the US. Can we start acknowledging teaching and learning our shared history? Can we ever get there?

I know that may sound like a tall order for a [00:40:00] lot of people because it really is, but I think it can just start by you wanting to make that commitment. Commit to doing the things that I've said this year and every year going forward. If you have children or grandchildren, or if you are an educator, you can start today. You can start this month if you are committed to it, and if it's something that you believe in.

Ta-Nehisi Coates on the right-wing backlash to teaching Black history - All In With Chris Hayes - Air Date 2-2-23

TA-NEHISI COATES: Obviously, one of the big arguments in Between the World and Me is that race is a social fiction. So when we say White people will cease to exist, the ideas, the category will too. And racially the hope would be that Black people would too, you know what I mean? Which is the case that the story makes. It does not mean that White people will be physically eradicated from the face of the earth. But you know, if somebody wants to do that, they can do it.

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: Well, the other thing that it strikes me with that quote and about the way that you write about [00:41:00] race, both in Between the World and Me and in your novel, there's a phrase you use of people that think they're White or believe that they're White. That it is a belief. It is a belief system. It is a social construction, is a way of people constructing a social reality together that is imbued with history and material consequences, but fundamentally it isn't actually a biological reality.

TA-NEHISI COATES: Yeah. And that's the argument that's being made. And actually I think the elements of that belief system can be seen in this slate of laws. Take for example, this notion that students should not be exposed to anything that makes them feel uncomfortable, discomfort, or any sense of -- this is my favorite -- personal responsibility, for anything that's ever happened in history.

Anybody that's ever studied history in any sort of serious way knows that you feel a range of emotions, and 70% of the time those emotions are not positive -- emotions that make you feel good about the world. The goal of education isn't to tell you that the world is sunshine and rainbows. The goal is enlightenment. The goal is some [00:42:00] deeper understanding of humanity. And that's what you hopefully are trying to get across to students.

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: This is what's so perverse, right? Because this entire backlash was shepherded in under the cover of critical thinking and the left is trying to indoctrinate people.

And I want to play you this little clip from Jonathan Cox who's this sociologist I spoke to. I was really just impressed with. He was talking about what he's trying to do in the classroom, right? Right. With these two classes on race that he had to cancel because of this law. Take a listen.

JONATHAN COX: I try to bring in lots of different perspectives and encourage students to do so. So for example, we talk about something like cultural appropriation. I might present one article that talks about it and saying this is what it is, here's why it's really negative. And another article that presents a completely different view. And then we'll talk about it in class so that students, I don't want them to just swallow stuff and actually tell them all the time, don't take what I'm saying just to be the pure hundred percent truth, right? Go out and do some research on your own. I want you to be critical thinkers.

So I really try to actively fight against that caricature that you expressed about what's people think about my classrooms. [00:43:00] And I also don't go in leading with my opinions. I very rarely, almost never share my own opinion. Right? I'm much more interested in the thoughts and ideas that students are bringing with them.

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: I mean, that's a guy who's not going to teach two courses at the largest state school in Florida because of the DeSantis law.

TA-NEHISI COATES: Right, right, right. You know, the fascinating part to me is, was it only two years ago that there was this notion that kids on campus were too soft and needed to be coddled and this, that and the other thing? And now we have literal laws saying that. We have actual laws, not beliefs, not ideas, but actual on-the-books laws saying that students -- in the most recent case in a AP class of all places -- are somehow too sensitive to be exposed to ideas that give them a sad.

 It is utterly ridiculous. And it's so clearly not education. The point of it is not education. I'm a teacher too. I teach down at Howard University. I expose my kids to all sorts of things from all sorts of perspectives that I do not hold myself. There is no way in the world I could be a black writer and [00:44:00] say, I will never read anybody that's racist, I'll never read anybody that's sexist. You couldn't live, you couldn't practice your craft if you were like that.

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: The irony is you and I have -- there are people and I'm not gonna name them -- you and I have talked about writers we like or don't like, writers whose politics we don't like, but you're like, yo, that guy can write.

TA-NEHISI COATES: But the craft, the craft!

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: That's a good argument.

TA-NEHISI COATES: And you have to do that. You have to. And even if you completely disagree with a person, how will you know what you disagree with if you don't read 'em? If you don't read 'em seriously, how will you know?

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: And then the one layer deeper than that I find, and I don't know if people have looked at this, but I spent some time on this, like the Florida law, it's not just that there's the education aspect to it, but there's also a degree to which it is essentially stipulating a civic creed officially for the state of Florida that is an ideology. And so here's an example. This is a thing that you can't teach in Florida, under Florida law now, although the law is currently enjoined: such virtues as merit excellence, hard work, fairness, neutrality, objectivity, and racial colorblindness are racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular race, color, sex, or national origin to oppress members of another race, [00:45:00] color, sex, or national origin.

Now, you may or may not agree with that as a thesis. But that is now the official state creed of Florida, that you can't say that racial colorblindness was invented as a means of furthering racial oppression.

TA-NEHISI COATES: Right. Yeah. I don't understand that at all. I mean honestly, when I read that, it sounds like somebody else who was an activist wrote that and fed it to the legislatures. It's so weirdly specific, you almost detect the hand of somebody else there working, you know? Don't need to name names, but it's absurd. It's absurd. And it's, you know, just another highlight for why people like that shouldn't be involved in the kind of decisions that are made in a classroom.

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: Just step back for a second. You wrote this really good piece in the Atlantic about Trump, where you call him the first White president, sort of somewhat tongue in cheek, but making the point about, again, how whiteness is constructed only in relation to the backlash against --

TA-NEHISI COATES: That was the point.

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: -- the first Black president, could there be a White president in the way that we understand whiteness? It's in contrast. We had this moment in [00:46:00] 2020 amidst the pandemic and George Floyd's death in the aftermath. And these historic, by all metrics, and just people counting in the streets, maybe the largest civil rights protest we've ever had in this country. This incredibly strong backlash against it playing out in places like this. And now here we sit in 2023, just a few weeks after the death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis Police. And where do you see things in this kind of push and pull?

TA-NEHISI COATES: I, I believe I'm kind of excited. And here's why.

The history of this country, in terms of these backlashes, is that they generally come and are generally the most ferocious when the forces that would like to maintain the status quo are most afraid. You can't understand redemption without understanding reconstruction and without understanding reconstruction as an actual threat.

You can't understand the backlash that came after the civil rights movement without understanding how much certain people perceive the civil rights movement as an existential threat. And I think it's the same thing here. You gotta take a second and [00:47:00] step back.

If you look at the culture and you look at who's president. And you look at who has the authority. I hate to come close to home, but you look at, say, a movie like Wakanda Forever that is on the verge of making a billion dollars. This matters because people look around and they see who is holding place.

It was the same thing for Barack Obama. The idea that the equivalent of American royalty was held by somebody who, only generations ago, their very conception would've been illegal. This disrupts the conception of what America is. And it frightens people. And so you get backlash. You know what I mean?

And so I actually take it as a sign of strength, for where the movement is right now. But we always knew this was gonna happen. I mean, the expectation that the war would just be won and that would be it, it just was always fantasy.

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: Yeah. And sometimes those backlashes can be dangerous too.

TA-NEHISI COATES: They definitely can, and I don't wanna diminish that, right? Yeah. I'm not diminishing that at all.

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: And you're seeing it in schools, you're seeing it in certain ways in which criminal justice laws backlash against bail [00:48:00] reform -- all these different places where progress is made, you can see the backlash politics being marshaled incredibly.

TA-NEHISI COATES: And I just think that's cuz the idea is sticking. How does the 1619 project end up in an executive order? Think about that. What piece of journalism can you remember ending up in an executive order?

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: I mean, no piece of journalism I've ever produced has any president ever cared that much about one way or the other?

TA-NEHISI COATES: Me neither, brother, me neither. And so what that means is people are afraid. That means something is sticking in their minds. They're actually using the levers of the state. It doesn't mean it's not dangerous, I wanna be really, really clear about that. But it's also a statement of how threatened they feel and the effect that some of this work has had.

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: You know, it's interesting you say that because I do think, I'm constantly trying to keep these two tracks in my head of the material and the ideological. So it's like there is so much force and momentum behind these new, these ideas -- and they're not new ideas, they're old ideas about racial equality, about deconstructing Whiteness, about taking apart. And then I look at the material and it's like, what's the racial wealth gap?

TA-NEHISI COATES: That's a great [00:49:00] point.

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: Have we closed the life expectancy gap between Black and White people? We have not. It's staying the same. It is. And I'm always wrestling in my head those two things, because it does feel like the ideas have an ascendancy, and they do have a force, and they are scared because they are.

And then you look at the material aspect and it's like, it feels like a less encouraging story.

TA-NEHISI COATES: I think though those on the other side understand that one undergirds the other, that if, in ideas of White supremacy become less ingrained in the body politic, then when folks look around at the jail system, maybe they actually really do start asking questions. When folks look around at who's foreign and who's not, maybe they really do start asking questions in a way that they didn't before.

I think of it like the foundation of a building. You can chip away, chip away, chip away, and you can see progress, you know what I mean, in the chipping away, but the building might still be there.

And so it is that the artifice of White supremacy still is there even as the foundation is being chipped away.

The Movement to Erase Black History and Culture - At Liberty - Air Date 2-3-22

SOMIL: Five Republican controlled states so far have passed laws limiting how schools can teach race and gender. We have a particular [00:50:00] litigation addressing this kind of law in Oklahoma called HB 1775. Can you tell us a little bit about HB 1775 and what we’re doing to challenge it?

EMERSON: This idea was hatched in these conservative think tanks and, you know, caught the ear of the former president. He issued an executive order towards the end of his presidency, listing a set of "divisive concepts" that would not be allowed in any trainings for government employees. That law was actually enjoined because it also covered contractors. And so that was enjoined with litigation by Lambda Legal by the Ninth Circuit, but not taking the hint that this was unconstitutional, as you said in there in the intro, dozens of states at this point have considered these laws, and at least nine of them have already been adopted. But one small piece of this is litigation. I’m a staff attorney, you’re a staff attorney, what do we do other than do podcasts? We file lawsuits. [00:51:00]

We brought this suit in Oklahoma, along with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, the ACLU of Oklahoma and pro bono counsel at Schulte, Roth and Zabel. And so we decided that we wanted to file suit in Oklahoma first, in part because the Oklahoma law covers higher education as well as K-12 education and courts have been more readily recognizing our First Amendment protections within college campuses as a special environment where it’s especially abhorrent for the government to try to limit what people teach, learn, say, think. Also, because the Oklahoma law uses many of the "divisive concepts" that pop up in a lot of these laws, so we think that if we can get a court to strike down some of these in the Oklahoma law, it will help us fight laws with exactly the same language in other places. [00:52:00]

And I think, third, is the clients that we were able to bring together, the plaintiffs in our case in Oklahoma are able to tell an incredibly compelling story about Oklahoma and the importance of inclusive education. So we have the NAACP of Oklahoma, we have the American Indian Movement of Indian Territory, we have the professors from Oklahoma University, we have the Black Emergency Response Team, a black student activist group on the campus of Oklahoma University, as well as representing individual teachers, public school teachers, and individual public school students. And so I think, you know, through our plaintiffs' experiences over the last four months now, where this law has been in place, is it has wrought confusion, it has had a chilling effect on what teachers are feeling brave enough to present, because the law creates a situation whereby [00:53:00] if a teacher violates or presents one of these "divisive concepts", even in the context of saying, “this is what some people thought, even though it was wrong,” you can’t even mention these things according to this law. And if you do, you risk your teaching license. And that threat has hung over the heads of these teachers and impacted the education of these students for the last four months. And so we’ve asked a federal judge not only to rule that the law is unconstitutional, but to block its enforcement during the course of the litigation. So our preliminary injunction motion is currently pending.

SOMIL: Yo, I’m glad you mentioned that amongst your coalition of very impressive plaintiffs are both students, teachers, administrators. These are all of the relevant stakeholders in a school saying We don’t want this, and yet politicians from above are imposing these kind of restrictions. So, you know, it’s always dicey, [00:54:00] two lawyers talking to each other about the law, but can you explain at a high level, Why are these bans in Oklahoma and elsewhere a violation of the First Amendment?

EMERSON: It’s a great question. So we actually have four different claims in Oklahoma. The first claim is actually sort of, it’s not even really a First Amendment claim, it’s a due process claim. So the first argument is that these laws are unconstitutionally vague. So we say that they, on plain reading, a reasonable person who is subject to the law cannot understand what is prohibited and what is permitted, and the ambiguity of the text leaves the door open to discriminatory and arbitrary enforcement by regulators, right? That’s the vagueness claim. Then we have two different First Amendment claims. One is around the fact that this is a overbroad and viewpoint-discriminatory regulation of academic freedom in the [00:55:00] university context. And that impacts professors, teaching assistants, staff members, students. Many people are teachers, learners, researchers all at the same time, and they have administrative jobs as well. Right? So there’s this idea in the law that the First Amendment protects academic freedom, particularly in higher education, because we want as few regulations inhibiting free thought in those places that we entrust with coming up with the new ideas that are going to improve our country and our world, right? So there is an inherent skepticism around laws that limit academic freedom.

SOMIL: And this is the place where liberals, libertarians, conservatives have traditionally come together, that we want as few limits on academic freedom as possible. And yet here, that doesn’t seem to be the case for some of them.

EMERSON: I have been disappointed, if not especially shocked, at the relative silence from [00:56:00] the so-called academic freedom brigade. Some of them have written a blog piece or two about how these might not be such a great idea. But we haven’t seen that coalition really come together in strong voice, saying, “This is a mistake.” I think, just to finish up the list of the four claims that the other two, I think, are particularly interesting as well. One is around the right to receive information, and this is a First Amendment claim on behalf of students both in higher education and in K-12. So, we talk about the First Amendment protecting free speech, like, the right to speak, but it also protects the right of listeners and the right to receive information and the right to access information. And so the courts have recognized that students have a specific First Amendment right to receive education without undue political partisan influence and without any reasonable relationship to a legitimate [00:57:00] pedagogical or educational interest. Then the last claim we bring is the equal protection claim, which is explicitly saying that this law was passed with racial animus and intent and has had a racially disparate impact because these laws especially negatively impact the experience of students of color, though inclusive education is good for all students. But we’ve seen that, sort of, this narrative around protecting White students from guilt, discomfort or anything of, those words are actually in many of these statutes: guilt, anguish, or discomfort. And it’s implicit, if not explicit, that it’s protecting the discomfort of White students. And so we think that that is very directly at the expense of students of color.

Why Our Idea of History is a Poison - Then & Now - Air Date 12-1-22

LEWIS WALLER - HOST, THEN & NOW: Consider the history student, the root, the foundation, the seed of all history. History itself in training, choosing to study the past, [00:58:00] desiring to pass it on, a passion, a pain, a symptom emerged from life experience. Why do they choose their subject? Why do they choose to study the Holocaust or the French Revolution, or plagues and pandemics, or presidents, or slavery? They have an itch, a passion, a pain, a symptom, something magnetic that draws them towards it.

A symptom might be a fear, a fear of war, fear of revolution, a fear of dictatorship and despotism that leads us to try and illuminate what happened in the past so as to inoculate us in the present.

It's a belief that the study of this is needed now. But the symptom is where it begins. Anxiety, stress, depression, overwork, heart problems, PTSD, eating disorders, issues that lead to [00:59:00] physical symptoms aren't just individual problems, but public ones arising from our common culture, our historical threads.

There are biological markers, feelings, complaints, aches, pains, symptoms, but unlike, say, a broken bone, their cause lies somewhere outside, somewhere else, somewhere out there in the world.

Physical symptoms can need metaphysical diagnoses, as Anne Rogers and David Pilgrim writes in that introduction to the Sociology of Mental Health. In the case of mental health problems and their management, the complex reality of the economic socialization and welfare systems is relevant to understanding them.

The economic system generates stresses, and profits from its amelioration. The socialization system determines the adoption of [01:00:00] social norms during childhood and offers corrective interventions of secondary socialization if these norms are transgressed in adulthood.

Many, like Rogers and Pilgrim, have argued for an expanded view of what's called etiology. The search for fundamental causes or the set of causes of a medical condition from just individual causes outwards to societal ones as well.

Follow the symptom. If we live symbiotically with history, if it's part of us, like bacteria in our guts, like a cultural meme, how do we analyze it? Biologists would isolate a symptom, ask what's causing it? Why is it there? What's its purpose? Where does it lead? Is its cause [01:01:00] environmental, genetic? Follow the chain of clues. Everything has a wider genealogy.

Every habit we have was inserted into our historical consciousness by someone, by some group, by some cultural belief. Why did they do it? What mistakes were made? What assumptions did they have?

I come back to E. H. Carr's formulation often because it's deceptively simple, yet it says so much. The historian approaches the facts like fish on a fishmonger's slab, but crucially, the facts speak only when they're called upon.

In other words, the calling upon the formulation of questions happens way before the writing of the history.

Before history is uncovered, [01:02:00] questions must be asked of it. And those questions come from everyone's symptoms. We all contribute in small ways to the historical process. You watching, liking, subscribing to this video is an act of history. Googling, choosing a book, signaling our interest, bestseller lists, and view counts, having a conversation with a friend, commenting. When each of us asks questions of history we contribute to its processes.

In other words, history isn't just about historians. We all need to control the present, to control the past, to control the future. We all need to ask the questions, which is why I'm still, despite a lot, at the moment, optimistic about the direction of the internet. Simple tools. The mouse, the keyboard, the camera, the [01:03:00] podcast, they all contribute to democratizing history.

The idea of history as an illness is that everyone has symptoms. History can be elitist. Royal history was the most popular in the past, or the history of warfare. Then politics and politicians, because those were the people and the issues that establishment figures were contending with and mattered to their lives. It's only really in the last century, decades, and in some cases years, that historians have started to look outwards and downwards. History from below, working class history, LGBTQ+ history, and so on. History needs to become more inclusive. We should all contribute.

Which is why I love this platform. If you have a symptom, an itch, scratch it. Search [01:04:00] for its roots. De-normalize what we think of as being normal.

Grief, sadness, depression, stress, anxiety, bullying, racism, prison, confinement, loneliness, war, domination, they're all symptoms. History is an illness. We must all cure it.

Final comments on the Streisand Effect

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: We've just heard clips today, starting with Today, Explained explaining why teaching Black history is threatening to White people. What Next discussed the widespread chilling effect of banning education topics. Counter Stories made a connection between the erasure of culture in residential schools for Native children and the erasure of Black history studies. Latino Rebels Radio looked back about a decade to Arizona fighting a similar battle over Latinx history being taught in schools. Here Wee Read pitched a more expansive Black history and the need to teach it year 'round. And Chris Hayes on All In spoke with Ta-Nehisi Coates about the [01:05:00] backlash to a fear of discomfort for White people.

That's what everybody heard, but members also heard bonus clips from At Liberty from the ACLU discussing their lawsuit in Oklahoma seeking to strike down their educational ban, and Then & Now looked at history as being similar to a disease that needs to be carefully analyzed to help keep us healthy.

To hear that and have all of our bonus content delivered seamlessly to the new members-only podcast feed that you'll receive, sign up to support the show at BestoftheLeft.com/support, or shoot me an email requesting a financial hardship membership, because we don't let a lack of funds stand in the way of hearing more information.

And the last thought I have for you today is, just to add something that hasn't been mentioned much I don't think in this whole conversation, which is the Streisand effect. That's the phenomenon of information becoming more interesting and more widespread after an effort to suppress it. So, on one hand, I [01:06:00] don't want to downplay the effectiveness of de-platforming, which is effectively what these sort of educational bans is doing. Taking educational curricula out of schools will definitely impact the number of kids who are exposed to that information, particularly those exposed to it by qualified educators. However, removing, let's say art class because of budget cuts, will not have the same impact as removing Black history because it's too dangerous and scary, and little child brains will be made to feel uncomfortable if they're exposed to it.

In the former example, kids aren't gonna rush to learn all the art history they're missing out on. But in the latter example, making a big loud deal out of banning a topic will definitely pique the interest of a lot of students and adults alike who will just be curious what all the hubbub is about. I mean, if they're trying to ban it, then it must be juicy, right?

Now, of course, [01:07:00] what'll happen is everyone will be disappointed when they learn how tame Critical Race Theory actually is compared to the demonic force of racist evil it's being described as. But I suppose that'll be a lesson in and of itself.

As always, keep the comments coming in. You can leave us a voicemail or you can now send a text message as well to 202-999-3991 or keep it old school by emailing me to [email protected].

That is gonna be it for today. Thanks to everyone for listening. Thanks to Deon Clark and Erin Clayton for their research work for the show, and participation in our bonus episodes. Thanks to the Monosyllabic Transcriptionist Trio, Ben, Ken and Brian for their volunteer work helping put our transcripts together. Thanks to Amanda Hoffman for all of her work on our social media outlets, activism segments, graphic designing, web mastering, and bonus show co-hosting. And thanks to those who support the show by becoming a member or purchasing gift memberships at BestoftheLeft.com/support, through our [01:08:00] Patreon page, or from right inside the Apple Podcast app. Membership is how you get instant access to our incredibly good and often funny bonus episodes, in addition to there being extra content, no ads, and chapter markers in all of our regular episodes, all through your regular podcast player. And if you want to continue the discussion, join our Discord community. There's a link to join in the show notes.

So coming to you from far outside the conventional wisdom of Washington, DC, my name is Jay!, and this has been the Best of the Left podcast coming to you twice weekly, thanks entirely to the members and donors to the show from BestoftheLeft.com.

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