Educator should have been more specific with remark
This letter is in response to a quote attributed to Hardwick Crawford of the Greater Washington D.C. Chapter of the 9th and 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association in an article concerning the Buffalo Soldiers in the March 10th edition of the Maryland Independent.
In discussing Manifest Destiny, he is quoted as saying,” What it really meant was the white man was taking land away from the Native Americans.” I am distressed that such indiscriminate language was used in teaching very impressionable young minds. Ah, the “white man.” Exactly which “white men” was he referring to? Does he include those “white men” in the Union armies who fought and bled and died for the freedom of the slaves? Does he include those “white men” who just a year before the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation were freed from their own oppression and ser vitude by the emancipation of the serfs in Eastern Europe and Russia in 1862 and had emigrated to the United States? Does he include the “white men” who as descendants of these rode the Freedom Buses to the South in the Civil Rights Movement? Perhaps included in this group of “white men” would be the “white men” Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwener who died with James Chaney.
Which “white men” did the children think of as he said that? What was the lesson or “picture in their minds” after that remark? What was the lesson the young students learned about the “white men”? Here is a man dressed up in the regalia of the Buffalo Soldiers, a group whose exploits should be honored, speaking as an expert or perceived as an expert by these young people and he used some very indiscriminate and inflammatory language.
I might add that the civilized world has condemned the workers/common soldiers in the Hitler death camps just as guilty as those who gave the orders. Is the same standard used in this instance or is it only the “white men” who are guilty of “taking away lands from the Native Americans?”
I think that someone who accepts the responsibilities of educating young minds should be applauded but they should be very careful in the words they choose when involved in that process. The lessons children learn are more than what is presented on the surface. Or perhaps that was the point.
John Montgomery, White Plains