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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Black Lives Matter in Textbooks Too — McGraw Hill School Textbook Says African Slaves Were “Workers”

McGraw Hill Textbook

Snapshot from a McGraw Hill 9th grade textbook

Nationwide — A ninth grade World Geography textbook published by McGraw Hill is currently underfire because of a caption in the book that says that describes African slaves as “workers.” The term “workers” implies that the the slaves received wages.

In addition, the discussion of slavery appears in a section within the book called “Patterns of Immigration” and the word immigration is being criticized because it implies that they willfully immigrated themselves.

Roni Dean-Burren, a Texas mom, whose son brought the matter to her attention, saw something else. She says that the textbook said some Europeans worked as indentured servants for “little to no pay,” but doesn’t mention anything about the forced labor African slaves endured.

“This is erasure,” she told The Washington Post. “This is revisionist history — retelling the story however the winners would like it told.”

She also posted a video on Facebook about it that immediately went viral and has more than 1.8 million views.

So what does McGraw Hill have to say about this?

Well, they posted a statement on their Facebook page, saying: “[W]e conducted a close review of the content and agree that our language in that caption did not adequately convey that Africans were both forced into migration and to labor against their will as slaves. We believe we can do better. To communicate these facts more clearly, we will update this caption to describe the arrival of African slaves in the U.S. as a forced migration and emphasize that their work was done as slave labor.”

So will they update the book to be more accurate?

Apparently, not right away. The Washington Post says that the next hardcopy version may not be printed for a while because the current edition of the book is brand new.

Dean-Burren, comments, “I know they can do better. They can send out a supplement. They can recall those books. Regardless of whether you’re left-leaning or right-leaning, you know that’s not really the story of slavery. Minimizing slavery in any way is a way of saying those black lives, those black bodies, that black pain didn’t matter enough to give it a full description.”

If you want to contact McGraw Hill to complain about the issue, visit www.mheducation.com/contact.html

 

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