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Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Trump tries to warp history to his own benefit

Courtesy of Flickr
On Sept. 17, 2020, President Donald Trump signs the “1776 Commission.”The commission would reshape how young people are taught how racism has shaped America throughout its history. Photo credit: flickr

President Donald Trump continues to show a racist outlook on America as he signals his desire to sign the “1776 Commission” into law on September 17.

The commission would reshape how young people are taught how racism has shaped America throughout its history.

“By viewing every issue through the lens of race, they (Democrats) want to impose new segregation, and we must not allow that to happen,” said Trump as he announced the commission at a White House press conference, where he claimed, “Critical Race theory, the 1619 project, and the crusade against American history is toxic propaganda, ideological poison, that if not removed will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together, and will destroy our country.”

The president also said his commission would promote “patriotic education.” He didn’t mention that curriculum decisions are made by the states, not the president.

In reality, the commission would educate young people less about how racism has shaped the country. They would grow up to believe that racial injustice is not an issue in the country and ignore it as it happens around them.

Trump and his fellow Republicans continue to mitigate racial injustice, either by dismissing it outright or by denouncing those who protest for reform.

By restructuring how people are taught about the history of racism, it makes the actions of Republicans seem justified. As more people of color continue to be subject to open racial injustice, students taught under the “1776 Commission” would see the issue as insignificant, leading to a strengthened and “reformed” era of white supremacy.

The president has voiced white supremacist views and yet called those who protest for racial justice reform “hateful.” He would change how children are educated to fit his own political agenda and legitimate his violent actions against those who ask for reform.

He denounced the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 project. While he claims it is “toxic propaganda,” the project took a closer look at how slavery shaped America and how it’s still dealing with the after-effects.

The 1619 Project details racism and slavery in reality, unlike how Donald Trump prefers to tell mythic history.

He believes that he can tell lies about how teaching the history of white supremacy in America and detailing its impact on today is “ideological poison.” Still, the truth is that Americans need to know how the events of the past shaped today.

“We must restore patriotic education to our schools,” the president continued in his press conference at the White House. “Under our leadership, the national endowment for humanities has awarded a grant to support a pro-American curriculum that celebrates the truth about our nation’s great history.”

What Donald Trump fails to understand is that teaching America’s history truthfully is patriotic. For him, “pro-American” means “pro-white” and “pro-suppression of dissent.”

It would be unpatriotic to paint a false image of American history just because it does not support the lies that the president and Republicans have told, that racism has never been a major problem in America and doesn’t require systemic changes to address.

Trump wants to change how history is taught, so it supports his racist actions of the present. If conservatives can change how history is taught, they can legitimize their program of rolling back what progress has been made on the anti-racist front.

Donald Trump should not be attempting to change how history is taught for his own gain but until he leaves office (willingly or not), it is up to us to vocally and actively defend the rights of educators to teach their students history that actually addresses the long, sordid history of race in the United States.

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About the Contributors
Vincent Medina
Vincent Medina, Managing Editor
Vincent Medina is the managing editor of Cerritos College Talon Marks Newspaper. He plans to receive his Associates Degree for Transfer at the end of Fall ‘21 semester. Vincent plans to pursue political journalism, and his goal is to become a political correspondent.
Jacqueline Cochran
Jacqueline Cochran, News Editor
Jacqueline Cochran is the News Editor for Talon Marks this semester.  She is returning to the Talon Marks family for a second time.  Last semester she completed all the requirements for an AA degree in Journalism.  She hopes to transfer to California State University Long Beach in the Fall to begin working on a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism.  She enjoys writing, watching movies, traveling and trying new things.  Last year she learned how to swim which was a long time goal. This year's new thing will be kayaking and skating.
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  • S

    socorro forsytheOct 12, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    Well, what a shock, another side (accurate history) to your article:

    A group of academics, historians and college professors has released a statement demanding that American history be taught accurately.

    The statement calls on the Pulitzer Prize Board to rescind the 2020 Prize for Commentary awarded to New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones for her lead essay in ‘The 1619 Project” that claims that America’s founding ideals were false and the American Revolution was really fought to preserve slavery. They say there is zero evidence of that, the Revolution was fought for freedom and to defeat tyranny, and the Times knew it when they published that garbage, which is now being taught in many schools to make kids hate their own nation. One historian who actually worked on fact-checking the original piece pointed out the flaws but the Times editors ignored the suggested corrections.

    The statement says that “given the glaring historical fallacy at the heart of its account, and the subsequent breaches of core journalistic ethics by both Hannah-Jones and the Times,” they do not deserve the Pulitzer Prize. They write:

    “The duplicity of attempting to alter the historical record in a manner intended to deceive the public is as serious an infraction against professional ethics as a journalist can commit. A ‘sweeping, deeply reported and personal essay,’ as the Pulitzer Prize Board called it, does not have the license to sweep its own errors into obscurity or the remit to publish ‘deeply reported’ falsehoods.”

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Trump tries to warp history to his own benefit