There’s been a bit of an uproar recently over a series of new “history” books in Virginia, which amongst other errors, repeat the bullshit claim that African Americans fought on behalf of the Confederacy during the Civil War:
“I absolutely could not believe the number of mistakes — wrong dates and wrong facts everywhere. How in the world did these books get approved?” said Ronald Heinemann, a former history professor at Hampden-Sydney College.
To be fair, much of what we teach our elementary school children about our nation’s past is a carefully sanitized, if not outright mythologized version of American history, but really… a century and a half after Fort Sumter, and the South is still fighting to defend its traditional values? Can’t we just settle this once and for all that slavery was bad (you know, for the slaves), and that in fighting to maintain the institution, the South was on the wrong side of history? No ifs, ands or buts?
Of course the author, Joy Masoff, vehemently defends her work:
“As controversial as it is, I stand by what I write. I am a fairly respected writer.” But when it came to one of the Civil War’s most controversial themes — the role of African Americans in the Confederacy — she relied primarily on an Internet search, according to the report. And the results were based on the work of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a neo-confederate group based in Tennessee.
Masoff’s other literary achievements include “Oh Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty” and “Oh Yikes! History’s Grossest Moments.”
Now that’s what I call quality scholarship, and since we both primarily rely on the Internet for our research, I suppose that makes me a “fairly respected writer” too. Maybe I should put my Ivy League history degree to good work, and write some elementary school textbooks? Couldn’t do much worse.