Friday, August 12, 2022

Is it necessary for a superintendent of public instruction to learn how to read?

 You would think so. Tom Horne, who actually held the position a few years ago, is running for the post again in the State of Arizona on the Republican ticket. His principal campaign is directed against Critical Race Theory and the 1619 project which emphasizes the history of slavery in America. 

Here is what Horne says that the 1619 project asserts: 

1. The American revolution was not fought for life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but because American slave owners feared a threat of abolition by the British authorities.

Here is what Nikole Hannah-Jones actually says:

Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons some of the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery. By 1776, Britain had grown deeply conflicted over its role in the barbaric institution that had reshaped the Western Hemisphere. In London, there were growing calls to abolish the slave trade. This would have upended the economy of the colonies, in both the North and the South. The wealth and prominence that allowed Jefferson, at just 33, and the other founding fathers to believe they could successfully break off from one of the mightiest empires in the world came from the dizzying profits generated by chattel slavery. In other words, we may never have revolted against Britain if some of the founders had not understood that slavery empowered them to do so; nor if they had not believed that independence was required in order to ensure that slavery would continue. It is not incidental that 10 of this nation’s first 12 presidents were enslavers, and some might argue that this nation was founded not as a democracy but as a slavocracy.

This doesn't actually say that the Founders were PRIMARILY motivated by the preservation of slavery. 


21 comments:

bmiller said...

This doesn't actually say that the Founders were PRIMARILY motivated by the preservation of slavery.

Neither does the Horne quote.

bmiller said...

But wait.

the fact that one of the primary reasons some of the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.

Victor Reppert said...

The Horne quote implies that Jones and those like her are saying that because of the motivation on the part of the founding fathers to protect slavery, the war for Independence was NOT motivated by the purpose of achieving life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for the colonists. She does say on the the primary reasons SOME of the colonists decided to declare independence was that they wanted to protect slavery. But she is very clearly NOT saying that the slavery motive, even where present, excluded the motive of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

bmiller said...

Let me quote her in full:

Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons some of the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.

This sounds to me that she is accusing other historians of deliberately leaving out what she is asserting here and that it was indeed a very important motivation for the Revolution. You can parse it to show that she said only that only SOME of the colonists were so disposed, but then the Horne quote can be parsed to show the he very clearly did NOT accuse her of saying ALL colonists were so disposed.

I took the trouble to go to Tom Horne's election website and I couldn't find that quote there in reference to the 1619 Project. Was it made up?

Regardless, I've mostly ignored the 1619 Project as I ignore most leftist nonsense but I did a quick search and found this Politico article from a leftist fellow traveler complaining about badly Nikole Hannah-Jones got it wrong.

bmiller said...

In other words, we may never have revolted against Britain if some of the founders had not understood that slavery empowered them to do so; nor if they had not believed that independence was required in order to ensure that slavery would continue. It is not incidental that 10 of this nation’s first 12 presidents were enslavers,

It seems to her some means 10 of 12 of the first presidents. And those 10/12 believed that independence was required to continue slavery. I don't see her qualifying that statement by by saying they also were motivated by the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

On the basis of the supplied quotes, I'm rating the claim that Horne mischaracterized Hannah-Jones essay as : mostly FALSE.

One Brow said...

bmiller,

By the time we get to the 6th President , we are well past the founders. Still, four of the first 5 were enslavers.

I don't see her qualifying that statement by by saying they also were motivated by the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons ...

She's focusing on what is left out, not what is commonly repeated, and using "one of the ... " certainly implies that other reasons exist.

William said...

The quote states that slavery was a necessary fact for the revolution to occur, because fear of abolition via British fiat was a necessary motivator.

We cannot read the minds of 18th century people now, yet there is nothing in any writings to confirm such thinking. This puts this part of the project firmly in the conspiracy camps.

The assertions in the second to last sentence of the quote are likely factually wrong. They can be historically invalidated by the facts of British interventions _for_ slavery in colonies that did not revolt. In Jamaica, for example, British troops were used repeatedly to put down slave revolts in the late 18th and early 19th centuries until abolition around 1834. Britain actively aided slavery in Jamaica until then.

The problem with embedding racism into history where it does not belong is that it potentially adds to racism in our schools.

One Brow said...

William,
The quote states that slavery was a necessary fact for the revolution to occur, because fear of abolition via British fiat was a necessary motivator.

Except, it doesn't. There's a large difference between "one of the primary" and "necessary".

The assertions in the second to last sentence of the quote are likely factually wrong.

After claiming we can't read the minds of past people, you seem to think those past people could foretell future events.

The problem with embedding racism into history where it does not belong is that it potentially adds to racism in our schools.

Much like religion/money/politics/etc., racism is already everywhere in American society, including schools.

William said...

@OB: We agree on the last point. I would rather try to keep schools as separate from such venal and racist concerns as possible. I take it you think this impossible?

Victor Reppert said...

I think the article bmiller brought up from the "leftist fellow traveler" who criticized Hannah-Jones is good, and important. The central claim of the 1619 project is to make the case that the influence of slavery in American history is under-represented, but that Hannah-Jones does her cause no favors by supporting a theory that what the colonists were largely about was the protection of slavery as opposed to other motives. That would require that perceive the budding British abolition movement as a serious threat to their way of life if they did not separate from England. By so doing, people like Hannah-Jones are playing into the hands of right-wing attempts on the part of people like Horne to create a "cancel culture" against any attempt to emphasize slave history or even white privilege is considered "critical race theory" and therefore not to be so much as mentioned.

bmiller said...

By so doing, people like Hannah-Jones are playing into the hands of right-wing attempts on the part of people like Horne to create a "cancel culture" against any attempt to emphasize slave history or even white privilege is considered "critical race theory" and therefore not to be so much as mentioned.

So Horne was just waiting for someone like Hannah-Jones to publish a conspiracy theory in the NYT that became part of the curriculum in Tucson and then began to be spread throughout AZ schools, just so he could "pounce" and implement his plan to silence slave history?

Sounds like blaming a witness for reporting a crime.

I'm a fan of history (accurate history) and I think it's interesting to find out all of the little nooks and crannies of the full story of the beginning of America. A lot of people didn't like history during elementary and high school because it seemed like a bunch of memorizations of dates and events and nothing more. I actually enjoyed the stories and why people did the things they did. I remember reading about slavery and the "underground railroad" and even visiting a "way station" on a field trip in elementary school. There's no doubt slavery was an important part of America's history and it's a good thing that historians are researching and publishing newly discovered documentary evidence.

However. There is only so much that can be taught during the school-day and the school-year. If public schools focus on teaching students how to read, how to write, math and critical thinking (do they even teach that anymore?) parents will be grateful and the schools will be successful. If you fill up the school-day teaching students that America was designed to be a slavocracy they won't learn the skills they need to succeed. If you do teach them those basics, they can figure out for themselves if America was designed to be a slavocracy.

Leslie Harris is a leftist BTW. I suppose that's the only reason leftists bothered reading it.

bmiller said...

If you fill up the school-day teaching students that America was designed to be a slavocracy they won't learn the skills they need to succeed. If you do teach them those basics, they can figure out for themselves if America was designed to be a slavocracy.

Hmmm. Maybe that's why public schools don't want to teach the basics.

bmiller said...

AZ has the third worst school system in the US. So they should prioritize the basics over politics.

Victor Reppert said...

https://www.electtomhorne.com/toms-plan

This is where I was getting this material on Horne's website.

bmiller said...

I see he has detailed rebuttals at the bottom of that page.

One Brow said...

William,
I would rather try to keep schools as separate from such venal and racist concerns as possible. I take it you think this impossible?

We need to avoid sweeping problems under the rug just as much as we need to avoid introducing problems. I think it is impossible to avoid racist concerns entirely and not contribute to the problem. We have measured racism in a variety of sources.

One Brow said...

bmiller,
So Horne was just waiting for someone like Hannah-Jones to publish a conspiracy theory in the NYT that became part of the curriculum in Tucson and then began to be spread throughout AZ schools, just so he could "pounce" and implement his plan to silence slave history?

1) Horne would have used/exaggerated anything at hand to accomplish the goal of suppression.
2) Speculating about motives is not discussing nor alleging a conspiracy.

Sounds like blaming a witness for reporting a crime.

More like blaming how a person (Hannah-Jones) is dressed for the harassment they receive (Horne).

One Brow said...

bmiller,
I see he has detailed rebuttals at the bottom of that page.

He and you seem to have gone to the same school of rhetoric. He equates questioning with opposition, affirms a central tenet of CRT in an attempt to repudiate it, exaggerates freely, doesn't understand the difference between CRT and the 1619 project, etc.

Limited Perspective said...

No. Public educators do not need to know how to read. Again, educators living off the taxpayer do not know how to read.

Limited Perspective said...

I was looking at a graph on public education spending. Victor, you teach students who have come out of the massive increase in spending on public education, forget the temporal narcist 1619 project which will fade in about three years, can your students read? Do they have a grasp on ideas and literature that have lasted more than 200 years?

ufa88casinofootball said...

ប្រដាល់គុណខ្មែរ 2022Thanks for sharing the blog so well and I hope you have something new for me to study