Sanitize definition: to make less offensive by eliminating anything unwholesome, objectionable, incriminating, etc.
We sanitize our history. We erase all kinds of social, cultural, and economic conflict from it. We run away, in a sense, from ourselves, from what we and our ancestors – whoever they are – created. Indeed, this history is highly peculiar, for it avoids acknowledging the accompanying social inequalities that capitalism (and any other economic system, for that matter) creates as it remakes society according to its own rules and imagination. The matter of privilege — and of white privilege in particular, given the majority-minority state in which we live today — is largely relegated to the dustbin of history. The truth be told, the silences in our histories speak as much truth to power as the histories we publicly uphold.
We must strive to teach a plural people’s history for Texas students in the twenty-first century. A recent study by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) contains in it past, current and future projections for the public and nonpublic high school graduates of Texas from 1991-2022. (1) According to this study, Texas Latino high school graduates will be greater in number than Anglo high school graduates beginning with the 2010-2011 school year. By May 2020, the date through which the current social studies curricular standards under discussion will presumably apply, Latino high school graduates in Texas will number an estimated 156,000 students. By comparison, by the end of the current decade Anglo high school graduates will number 102,000. That is, the statewide spring graduating classes in May 2020 will host 54,000 more Latino high school graduates than their Anglo counterparts.
While I was looking for a reasonable explanation and plausible definition of “sanitizing history,” I came across this article. There’s more, but I excerpted the two paragraphs to help support what I’ve said in another article and what I’m about to say in this one.
The fear that “old white men” are feeling about becoming the minority is palpable in their attempts to revamp the voting rules (violating our constitutional rights) as well as with their reluctance to support police reforms. They are afraid—big time—and have been for some time because they (those understanding karma) fear being treated the way they have treated minorities of color. They can deny this all they want, but the proof is in how for decades they have attempted to erase large swaths of history in order to make themselves look like better human beings.
They have rather successfully brainwashed people with their revisionist histories about how awful white men are as human beings. It’s not all white men, just those who are racial bigots and would rather hate others than change their minds. When we look at how Texas changed the related content in history books to pacify their egos and allowed Texas students to be led by lies, we see the proof in some of the Texas legislators now—they didn’t want their children to know how horrible their ancestors had been, so they either erased the true history, or sanitized it so it would not seem so bad. They have eliminated the parts of history they find objectionable and unwholesome and offensive since they were the culprits. But they have also eliminated the opportunity for students in Texas to know truth, to see for themselves and to learn to think for themselves which results in not being controlled.
With this particular view of what it means to “sanitize history,” we begin to understand how or rather why textbook publications, supplying the Texas school districts, were so easily convinced to exchange the truth for a lie. In the long run, it helped those in powerful positions to ignore all the wrongdoings of “white men” for centuries. The massacre of Native Inhabitants, treatment of slaves, Chinese railroad workers, Japanese Interment camps, Jim Crow laws, segregation, and generally racist policies that excluded or eluded most people of color in this land. But one thing is certainly true as pointed out by Richard Calderon, the author of the article referenced—white people will soon be the minority in the United States and perhaps, that is the real reason why “white lawmakers” are trying so desperately to keep immigrants out of the United States—especially those from Central America, the Middle East and Africa.
When “white people” use the bible to justify their behavior or attitudes, it is out of fear that “we” the others would discover the truth and lo and behold we have. We have discovered that Jesus was a person of color having come from the Middle East, He loved everyone, and had a real problem with slavery and hypocrites. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). I am convinced that White Evangelicals that teach they are superior to others are the biggest liars on the planet and they lie to their congregations to control what they do and how they think. That is not to say that other religious denominations don’t do the same thing, but let’s get real, religions are designed to control people and convince them to swallow whatever lies they’re told.
Now, for those of us who know how to read and how to think, we know better. Many of us are “true Christians” and we know what is expected of us is that we are to love one another unconditionally. Therefore, if we are busy loving one another, we don’t have time to promote hate or fear of others because love conquers all. Love will even conquer the need of people to sanitize history for their own sakes, but will conquer the need of those who were mistaught to influence their need for truth. Fearful people, put undue constraints upon others, controlling what they’re exposed to and limiting their ability to develop critical thinking skills, especially about the history of our nation, the true, unsanitized version of history.
Yes, haters of truth—the world is not flat, the Holocaust and slavery were very real, vaccines have saved lives, Easter is not about a rabbit or chickens, parents buy toys for kids at Christmas, and no one human being is superior to another. Did you catch that? Truth matters, and Black Lives Matter as well as all others. Stop The Hate America—in order for us all to matter and to survive and thrive, we must stop hating and start loving.