Ed­u­ca­tor should have been more spe­cific with re­mark

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

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

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