An online space for queer, questioning, lesbian, bi, trans and everything else in between women at Yale

Monday, March 15, 2010

The latest battleground for hearts and minds

We in the gay rights movement like to say (and are probably right) that time is on our side. (My favorite formulation of this idea remains: "Everytime you see an ambulance, it's either an opponent of gay rights dying or a supporter being born") However, it's important to remember that this trend is result of constant pressure and education for our side. A big part of the change in attitudes is the result of younger people knowing actual queer people PERSONALLY rather than in the abstract, but it is also the result of how the narrative of women's rights and civil rights is viewed as a part of American history.

On this front, Texas just took a big step backwards.

For full details, check out this excellent NYT Magazine feature. It's well worth the full read. The Texas Board of Ed just approved their new social studies curriculum, which will be taught in almost the entire country. Texas is the nation's largest textbook market, so their decisions set the standard for books used in approximately 47 states.For a quicker look, try this article from yesterday's NYT.
Mr. Bradley won approval for an amendment saying students should study “the unintended consequences” of the Great Society legislation, affirmative action and Title IX legislation. He also won approval for an amendment stressing that Germans and Italians as well as Japanese were interned in the United States during World War II, to counter the idea that the internment of Japanese was motivated by racism.


Mavis B. Knight, a Democrat from Dallas, introduced an amendment requiring that students study the reasons “the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others.”

It was defeated on a party-line vote.

After the vote, Ms. Knight said, “The social conservatives have perverted accurate history to fulfill their own agenda.”

It's inaccurate to say that the conservatives on the Texas Board of Ed want to take us back to an earlier time. The narrow-minded, bile-ridden country they conceive of has never truly existed. Let's not give them free rein to change our future by rewriting our past.


TC said...

I'm not entirely sure what's so problematic with the first paragraph you excerpted. The Great Society /did/ have a helluva lot of unintended consequences- that's not historical revisionism. But then I haven't read the entire piece.

Anonymous said...

Leah, you have gotten dumber since I knew you well. Did you just actually use the phrase "narrow-minded, bile-ridden"? These are meaningless words, metaphors that don't fit. All you're doing is advertising your attitudes--attitudes which, in context, seem pretty silly.

And, as per above, great society, Title IX, etc., all did have good unintended consequences. In fact, many of the revisions are simply accurate. It's true that many of the people McCarthy fingered did turn out to be communists. It's true that the founders--though many of them were free-thinkers by the standards of our own time--were more religious than we are. Saying that Aquinas and Calvin should be on the curriculum is beyond reasonable.

Also, Leah, you should be smart enough not to trust that article. That does not even qualify as reporting. That piece is an opinion piece, not a record.

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