Context matters. America was not the only nation to engage in slavery. Slavery existed long before the United States and persists today in other countries. It is a humanitarian abomination wherever and whenever it is practiced. But it is interesting to see how aggressively some folks only want to teach about America’s sins.
A Sequoyah County lawmaker has filed a bill that would outlaw the teaching that America was unique in its use of slavery and takes aim at a New York Times’ project that sought to highlight the role slavery played in America’s founding.
House Bill 2988, authored by Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland, would prevent the teaching that one race is the unique oppressor in the institution of slavery, that another race is the unique victim in the institution of slavery, or that America had slavery more extensively and for a later period of time than other nations.
“It is important that it be taught that we had slavery as a nation and it was evil, but it would not be proper to teach it that we were the only ones that had it,” Olsen said during a Wednesday interview. “It is the agenda of the far left, they want our young people to hate America.”
The bill also would outlaw the use of the 1619 Project, which is a series produced by The New York Times Magazine that argued there is not enough understanding on how slavery shaped the nation and how it continues to impact society today. Spearheaded by journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, the series drew scorn from some conservatives who believed it detracted from American exceptionalism, the belief that the United States is better than other nations.