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Author Topic: Texas schoolbooks use racist theory for "Biblical origins"  (Read 1120 times)

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Offline SkynetTopic starter

Texas schoolbooks use racist theory for "Biblical origins"
« on: January 23, 2013, 03:05:15 PM »
The Texas Board of Education is infamous for a long list of anti-intellectual decisions, whether it's trying to eliminate the entire African-American Civil Rights Movement from history textbooks or preventing students from learning about testosterone and estrogen in sex education classes.  But this one takes the cake.

Some of the books for "Bible Study" courses discuss the Hamite Theory of Racial Origins as part of the Biblical explanation for racial differences.

Not mentioned is that the theory claims that people of African descent have the Biblical figure Ham as an ancestor, and thus carry his "curse."

The most sickening aspect of this is that the Board promotes their ignorance and bigotry as "family-oriented, patriotic Christian values."

How is it Christian to downplay and dehumanize African-Americans and their contributions to American society and history?

How is it Pro-Family to demonize homosexuals and turn parents and children against each other?

How is it Patriotic to claim that atheists, Muslims, and other non-Christians don't have equal religious rights under the law?

Sorry if my post is particularly angry, but hearing about this latest decision is just... vile.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2013, 05:07:35 PM by Skynet »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Texas Board of Education promotes racist pseudoscience
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2013, 03:10:27 PM »
Dafuq?  I was hoping that either Piers Anthony made that up, or that it was something peculiar to the Mormon Church (the only time I've run across that theory before now was when a Mormon character in the Tarot series mentioned it.)

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: Texas Board of Education promotes racist pseudoscience
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2013, 03:21:26 PM »
Dafuq?  I was hoping that either Piers Anthony made that up, or that it was something peculiar to the Mormon Church (the only time I've run across that theory before now was when a Mormon character in the Tarot series mentioned it.)

I hate to say it, but a subset of fundamentalist Christians in the United States are unable to discern between Far-Right fringe politics and Biblical teachings.  Such a mentality creates a self-contradictory, rotting stew.  It's how the myth of "free market Jesus" came around.

Even worse, these groups have political power in certain regions of the country.  A lot of them also believe that you're only racist if you believe in a "Master Race," so people like Rush Limbaugh can be as bigoted as possible without being racist in their view.  I don't think they'll be able to continue using this excuse now that they're implying that black people are cursed by God.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 03:24:28 PM by Skynet »

Offline RogueJedi

Re: Texas Board of Education promotes racist pseudoscience
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013, 03:24:58 PM »
The Texas Board of Education is no stranger to controversy, whether it's trying to eliminate the entire African-American Civil Rights Movement from history textbooks or preventing students from learning about testosterone and estrogen in sex education classes.  But this one takes the cake.

Specifically, it's promoting the Hamite Theory of Racial Origins.  The theory claims that people of African descent have the Biblical figure Ham as an ancestor, and thus carry his "curse."

The most sickening aspect of this is that the Board promotes their ignorance and bigotry as "family-oriented, patriotic Christian values."

How is it Christian to downplay and dehumanize African-Americans and their contributions to American society and history?

How is it Pro-Family to demonize homosexuals and turn parents and children against each other?

How is it Patriotic to claim that atheists, Muslims, and other non-Christians don't have equal religious rights under the law?

Sorry if my post is particularly angry, but hearing about this latest decision is just... vile.

To be honest, because they think they're better than everyone else. To be fair, my mother is firmly in their camp and believes that anyone who isn't a fundamentalist Christian is going to go to hell and she's happy about it. So basically, she thinks anyone who is black and doesn't join the Southern Baptist Convention or another fundamentalist group is subhuman. Those are her words. Me, I'm a lost cause because I'm Muslim.

But I grew up in Texas, and this doesn't surprise me in the least...

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Texas Board of Education promotes racist pseudoscience
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 03:27:16 PM »
Well, reading through the article referenced by the science blog this does not seem so dire.  The teachings being pointed toward are part of a Bible study course that is offered in some school districts.  Few of these teachers have actually received any training in Bible study and there is no universal curriculum.  Essentially the law set aside money for Bible study; schools took the money and then threw together a course.  More than likely this was done just to get the money and invest the funds into other things.   Unfortunately, this also means that children are being taught some very bad things by people who were given carte blanche to teach a course.  Texas did not think this one through very well.

Keep in mind though that this study referenced is from 2007 and Texas as of 2011 came down unanimously in favor of evolution being taught.  Now whether these programs are still in fact being taught is unclear, but Texas Board of Education has definitely switched gears as of late. 

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: Texas Board of Education promotes racist pseudoscience
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 03:31:38 PM »
Since they tried removing Martin Luther King Jr. and Civil Rights leaders from the course, or renaming the "Atlantic Slave Trade" the "Atlantic Triangular Trade," I'm not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.  And they tried to get the Nation of Islam and Black Panthers just as much coverage in Civil Rights courses to "provide a balance against groups like MLK's Southern Christian Leadership Conference."

When I see a consistent pattern like this, it's not unreasonable for me to jump to the conclusion that this decision is borne out of racist sentiment.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Texas Board of Education promotes racist pseudoscience
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 04:23:14 PM »
Yes, but as noted people tried to have the Texas Board of Education do these things.  They were not able to solely use the term Atlantic Triangular Trade, which interestingly enough the slave trade was what is classified as a triangular trade.  The Texas Board of Education settled on the term Transatlantic Slave Trade which is actually the proper title.  As for the others, Texas is a conservative state.  The state will of course push forward its agenda of conservative values.  Since there is no federally mandated curriculum then the state has the ability to do just that.  The problem comes for the rest of the country because publishers bow to the largest customer, which is Texas.  Other school districts, especially poorer ones, do not have the finances to purchase alternative books.

While certainly racism is involved, I think this has more to do with advancing an extremely conservative agenda.

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: Texas Board of Education promotes racist pseudoscience
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2013, 04:40:50 PM »
Yes, but as noted people tried to have the Texas Board of Education do these things.  They were not able to solely use the term Atlantic Triangular Trade, which interestingly enough the slave trade was what is classified as a triangular trade.  The Texas Board of Education settled on the term Transatlantic Slave Trade which is actually the proper title.  As for the others, Texas is a conservative state.  The state will of course push forward its agenda of conservative values.  Since there is no federally mandated curriculum then the state has the ability to do just that.  The problem comes for the rest of the country because publishers bow to the largest customer, which is Texas.  Other school districts, especially poorer ones, do not have the finances to purchase alternative books.

While certainly racism is involved, I think this has more to do with advancing an extremely conservative agenda.

Stirring up fear against minorities is a significant factor in US Republican politics today.  Racial resentment is a large part of extreme right-wing politics, and has been for decades.  Birtherism, Neo-Confederate sympathies, Rush Limbaugh's virtual immunity from GOP critics, Fox News' daily attacks against African-Americans and Latinos; all these things are very big problems that US conservatives must deal with if they hope to remain relevant in the future.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Texas Board of Education promotes racist pseudoscience
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2013, 05:07:27 PM »
Yes, but wouldn't labeling a movement and group of people as racist be stirring up fear of the minorities against those people?  As you stated in your post about jumping to conclusions, that would be considered a fear tactic as well.  Be careful, those conservatives are racist and are attacking minorities.  Seems just a different side of the same coin.  As was stated in the article, the Texas Board of Education did not set forth a curriculum for the Bible Stud courses.  While that does not excuse them from being bad at their job and neglectful of the class, one can hardly say they were pushing forward a racist agenda.  Also many of the changes made were to include more conservative values and agendas, pushing out not only racial figures but also figures like Thomas Jefferson and womanís rights figures. 

While the GOP lost the presidential election, I do think, considering all the deadlock and trouble caused to the Democrats that control the Senate and hold the highest seat in the Executive Branch, this might be a little soon to consider them in danger of being irrelevant.

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: Texas Board of Education promotes racist pseudoscience
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2013, 07:08:10 PM »
Yes, but wouldn't labeling a movement and group of people as racist be stirring up fear of the minorities against those people?  As you stated in your post about jumping to conclusions, that would be considered a fear tactic as well.  Be careful, those conservatives are racist and are attacking minorities.  Seems just a different side of the same coin.  As was stated in the article, the Texas Board of Education did not set forth a curriculum for the Bible Stud courses.  While that does not excuse them from being bad at their job and neglectful of the class, one can hardly say they were pushing forward a racist agenda.  Also many of the changes made were to include more conservative values and agendas, pushing out not only racial figures but also figures like Thomas Jefferson and womanís rights figures. 

While the GOP lost the presidential election, I do think, considering all the deadlock and trouble caused to the Democrats that control the Senate and hold the highest seat in the Executive Branch, this might be a little soon to consider them in danger of being irrelevant.

Not if the organization or group of people in question has proven time and time again that their ends and means involve the disenfranchisement of people of color and others who don't fit into their paradigm of "patriot."  And I didn't say that all conservatives are this way, just a large portion of GOP politicians and organizations.

And if their response of being called racist is to become even more fearful of minorities, then the problem is with them.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 07:10:48 PM by Skynet »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Texas Board of Education promotes racist pseudoscience
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2013, 07:55:32 PM »
Making the statement "not all of you, but most of you" is sort of a cheap way of getting around having to account for every single person in that group.  Obviously anyone making such a blanket statement cannot account for every person, but there is an attempt to incorrectly account for the vast majority of that group.  As for their ends and means being shown time and time again, that is for the most part a matter of some debate and argument.  So with absolute certainity a racist agenda cannot be put forth.  Even the title of this thread is wrong and painting a conjectured image.  The Texas Board of Education did not promote racism through the Bible class, they simply lacked oversight into what they probably figured was fairly straight forward.  Incompetent certainly, racist not so much.  The same board also promoted evolution to be taught, not psuedoscience.  Anyone coming into the thread and reading the article will already have their vision painted and be expected a certain slant.  That is the danger of blanket statements and painting certain groups in a light that may not be accurate.

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: Texas Board of Education promotes racist pseudoscience
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2013, 05:00:17 PM »
Making the statement "not all of you, but most of you" is sort of a cheap way of getting around having to account for every single person in that group.  Obviously anyone making such a blanket statement cannot account for every person, but there is an attempt to incorrectly account for the vast majority of that group.  As for their ends and means being shown time and time again, that is for the most part a matter of some debate and argument.  So with absolute certainity a racist agenda cannot be put forth.  Even the title of this thread is wrong and painting a conjectured image.  The Texas Board of Education did not promote racism through the Bible class, they simply lacked oversight into what they probably figured was fairly straight forward.  Incompetent certainly, racist not so much.  The same board also promoted evolution to be taught, not psuedoscience.  Anyone coming into the thread and reading the article will already have their vision painted and be expected a certain slant.  That is the danger of blanket statements and painting certain groups in a light that may not be accurate.

It's entirely possible that the Board acted out of ignorance instead of malicious intent, and may might not be aware of the implications of Ham.  But it's still full of unfortunate implications.

And even if the Board approved of evolution, it doesn't erase the previous negative actions of ultra-conservative members to "sanitize" American history to one to their liking.

At this point in time, after seeing enough intentional malice on their part, I'm not so willing to attribute unintentional incompetence and ignorance when they do something like this.

Edit: I looked over the article again.  The examples from the texts mention that Africans are descendants of Ham, although it's not so blatant as to suggest that they're cursed by God.  It still rubs me the wrong way, as it alludes to the racist theory.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2013, 05:09:44 PM by Skynet »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Texas schoolbooks use racist theory for "Biblical origins"
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2013, 05:16:00 PM »
Well, as I said there is a conservative push inside of Texas.  History books have always been a battleground for the socialization of a societyís young.  A glimpse at history textbooks across the globe will reveal that simple truth.  I donít necessary think of the push as a malicious one because the truth is that their perspective is that the same thing is being done to their values.  To them their values have been pushed out of history textbooks and those they consider influential political minds have been silenced.  The people on the school board want their children raised with their values, just as others want their children to share values like their own.  Socialization is simply a necessary aspect of any society.  Good or bad.

Being conservative does not make someone bad and does not make their desire to raise their children as conservatives bad, no more than a liberal being bad and wanting to raise their children as liberals makes them bad.  I just donít see the malice there. 

As for the situation with racial bloodlines and Biblical teaching, I doubt there are many people in religion subscribing to this theory.  I do not remember the numbers from the article off-hand but I donít believe many of the classes actual taught that theory anyway.  Probably some wayward teacher that got caught up in their attempt to mix evolution and religion.

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: Texas schoolbooks use racist theory for "Biblical origins"
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2013, 08:46:44 PM »
Being conservative does not make someone bad and does not make their desire to raise their children as conservatives bad, no more than a liberal being bad and wanting to raise their children as liberals makes them bad.  I just donít see the malice there.

I'm not saying that conservatives are bad; I'm criticizing far-right groups, which as of lately are the predominant political faction within the GOP.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2013, 08:48:14 PM by Skynet »

Offline Monfang

Re: Texas schoolbooks use racist theory for "Biblical origins"
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2013, 10:43:32 PM »
I just want to drop this in here for food for thought.. Doesn't or didn't Evolution put forward the 'Out of Africa' theory for human evolution that suggested that humans from African origins were less evolved than other humans?

Just keep that in mind before you start throwing darts.

Offline Braioch

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Re: Texas schoolbooks use racist theory for "Biblical origins"
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2013, 11:08:11 PM »
I just want to drop this in here for food for thought.. Doesn't or didn't Evolution put forward the 'Out of Africa' theory for human evolution that suggested that humans from African origins were less evolved than other humans?

Just keep that in mind before you start throwing darts.

-eyetwitch-

That theory is stating that all modern humans descended from a common ancestor that originated in Africa, it is NOT a means to support 'race.' So yeah, I guess you could say they were less evolved, because they all had to evolve into us. I'm not going to jump to conclusions on what you were aiming at with that statement, but I sincerely hope it wasn't to promote...err...'inherent racial differences.'

Also, food for thought, 'less' or 'more' evolved is a rather vague and often times irrelevant means to describe the quality of an organism. Bacteria and viruses are 'poorly' evolved and yet they have done better at surviving than all of us. One could say dolphins and bonobo are 'less' evolved than we, and yet they're finding evidence the little bastards have an intelligence rivaling our own. Evolution is not a race, it is not a means to get to the top or any such thing, it is a biological process in which an organism changes to suit it's environment and be able to perpetuate the species, no more, no less.

Which I would also like to note that 'race' isn't even accepted anymore in any scientific community, it's a social construct. Ethnicity or ethnic heritage is deemed more appropriate as 'race' which is used to infer differences between people solely on skin color.

Offline Rhapsody

Re: Texas schoolbooks use racist theory for "Biblical origins"
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2013, 11:11:41 PM »
Which I would also like to note that 'race' isn't even accepted anymore in any scientific community, it's a social construct. Ethnicity or ethnic heritage is deemed more appropriate as 'race' which is used to infer differences between people solely on skin color.

^ This.

There's only one race. Humanity. We're all a part of it, no matter where in the world our ancestry originated.

Offline Monfang

Re: Texas schoolbooks use racist theory for "Biblical origins"
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2013, 11:48:35 PM »
I say it because organizations like the KKK have used the scientific theory 'Out of Africa' and that blacks have smaller frontal lobes (a minisule amount smaller to be honest) to push their beliefs.

I wanted to show that nether side is innocent of promoting theories that others have taken and twisted in a way that wasn't intended. The common theme here is that OTHERS have twisted their words.

Offline Braioch

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Re: Texas schoolbooks use racist theory for "Biblical origins"
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2013, 12:12:11 AM »
I say it because organizations like the KKK have used the scientific theory 'Out of Africa' and that blacks have smaller frontal lobes (a minisule amount smaller to be honest) to push their beliefs.

I wanted to show that nether side is innocent of promoting theories that others have taken and twisted in a way that wasn't intended. The common theme here is that OTHERS have twisted their words.

Sad story for the KKK, they came from the same ancestor, their following ancestor's just happened to leave is all.

Afterthought: Also, you didn't state in the original post that it was to show that ignorant groups will twist proper evidence to fit their agenda, you actually stated an established scientific theory incorrectly.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 01:42:18 AM by Braioch »