On Friday, May 21, the Texas Board of Education voted 9-5 to change the school curriculum to represent a more “balanced” view of history. For those who want to read more about this including some of the specific changes that were approved, there’s a pretty good article at the El Paso Times Website.
According to various press reports, these changes mean that many textbook publishers will adapt their books to Texas’s curriculum because of the number of textbooks Texas buys. Now, in an age of print on demand publishing, one wonders why this must be the case. Perhaps other states should demand that textbook publishers update their technology so that we don’t have to be dictated to by a board of education we didn’t elect. However, that’s not the point of this post.
All of this business in Texas reminds me of something that happened to my dad. He used to work for Santa Fe Railroad and around 1950 he was transferred to Cleburne, Texas. One hot day, he stooped over at a water fountain to get a drink.
“You can’t drink from there,” someone called to him. “That’s the colored’s fountain.” Of course, this person was referring to the fact that in those days African-Americans were forced to drink from separate fountains than Euro-Americans.
My dad looked from one fountain to the other, then looked under the two fountains. “They both come from the same pipe,” my dad replied and then proceeded to drink from the “colored” fountain.
Between issues like the Texas curriculum and the discussion that surrounds Senate Bill 1070 in Arizona, I sense a divisiveness over race and cultural issues that hasn’t existed since my dad was chastened for drinking from the “colored’s” drinking fountain in Texas sixty years ago. Perhaps it’s time for us in America to step back and remember that all humans come from the same source. Anyone who doesn’t believe that needs more education — either in science or the Bible.