Screenshot of the actual textbook
Welcome to America: Where in 2015, even our textbooks are racist
Disgusted at what she saw in her ninth-grade son's high school geography textbook, Roni Dean-Burren took to Facebook to express how outraged she was to see the horrors of American slavery glossed over and rewritten. Her video, seen below, has received nearly 2 million views, sparked a serious nationwide dialogue, and finally garnered a response from McGraw-Hill, the maker of the textbook itself.
First off, thank you to this wonderful mom for voicing her frustration. All of us should follow her lead and expose racism in American textbooks. Social media is a powerful medium and gives us a real opportunity to put pressure on these companies to do better.
With that said, why in the hell did it take this viral video for McGraw-Hill to release this statement admitting that they made a mistake?
This week, we became aware of a concern regarding a caption reference to slavery on a map in one of our world geography programs. This program addresses slavery in the world in several lessons and meets the learning objectives of the course. However, we 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. These changes will be reflected in the digital version of the program immediately and will be included in the program’s next print run.
Are you saying that it took this mom educating you to realize you screwed up? Were you not aware that Africans were brutally and horrifically forced into labor, that it was not "immigration" or some type of employment, but one of the worst violations of human rights in the history of humanity?
Here's the thing: Updating the digital version and all future versions of the textbook is simply not enough. Schools need to remove these textbooks and replace them with the updated version, at McGraw-Hill's expense. The idea that one more child, of any race, will be subjected to this foolishness is completely unacceptable.