Frank Breslin is a retired teacher in New Jersey. This article originally appeared in the NJEA monthly publication.

What if your race had known only tragedy
throughout America’s history? What if your people had been enslaved, murdered, persecuted and denied their civil rights?

And what if, instead of owning up to having inflicted such outrages, showing remorse, asking forgiveness, and making amends, those responsible, their descendants and
sympathizers denied that those actions had ever
occurred or, if they had, they had best be forgotten?

But what if the history of those deeds could
never be taught in our schools, but covered in
silence because it would only be “divisive” or
“racist” against those whites who had committed
them? Rather, let bygones be bygones! We should
forget the past and simply move on!

This is the white supremacist gospel being
preached by some in our country today, especially
by protestors at school board meetings. It is the
New Jim Crowism that would leave no public
record in the classroom of the centuries-old infamy that was inflicted on the Black race.

Moreover, these protestors add insult to injury
by denying the victims of this racism the chance to finally have their story told to America’s children as our schools have done for the Holocaust. Children deserve the truth, not fairy tales, even when the truth makes racists uncomfortable.

Anyone with an ounce of humanity could not
help but be moved when learning about the brutal treatment of Blacks over the centuries. Students would learn that the justification of slavery was preached even from church pulpits. They would learn about the KKK, Jim Crow laws, lynchings, fire bombings of Black churches, racial segregation of our schools today—decorously disguised as “school choice,” the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the killing of George Floyd, and the freedom march in Birmingham, Alabama when Commissioner “Bull” Conner turned his fire hoses, attack dogs, and police truncheons on peaceful Black marchers demanding their civil rights, as Americans watched aghast at their TV
screens as it unfolded.

It would be a national catharsis to know that
America was finally coming to terms with the dark
chapters in its history and not-so-distant past. For
this is what great nations do that are big enough,
humble enough, contrite and courageous enough
to admit their failings and vow to do better. The
beginning of healing is the admission of wrong!

Great nations also reverence the sacrosanct
nature of the mind. They do not insult those who
have dedicated their lives to the noble profession of
teaching the young. They do not force teachers to
indoctrinate their students with a sanitized history
that omits the entire truth about their nation’s past.

However, teaching the truth is terrifying to these
protestors who view truth as dangerous, especially
for their children, for it would mean losing control
over their minds. Schools that teach what actually
happened should be shut down because truth
leads to social unrest, and it is better to have peace
based on lies.

In a word, we are dealing with an
educational philosophy that teaches: Thou shalt
not think! Thou shalt not question! Thou shalt
only conform!

These protestors abhor teaching about what
happened to Black people since this would mean
the end of their white supremacist world. Their
protests are an assault on the mind itself, the
importance of truth, and the nature of education.

An education in its ultimate sense is not an
initiation rite into the myths of one’s tribe, but
a personal struggle to free oneself from those
myths. It is escaping from Groupthink. An
education is not about fear of the truth or a blind
acceptance of White supremacist doctrine.

Teachers resist such indoctrination of their
students. They want to teach, not suppress, the
truth of what happened, but these protesters know
what happened and want to suppress it lest it be
taught not only to their children, but to everyone’s
children, as well, a.k.a. censorship.

Teachers refuse to aid and abet this fantasy
of a dying white Supremacy whose days are
numbered as anyone knows who has checked
the demographics, for what we are hearing today
is but its death knell!

A classroom is a sacred place, a temple of
reason, not a recruiting station for a white
supremacist doctrine that would ban the teaching
of Black history because it dismisses Black people
themselves as unimportant in their kind of
supremacist democracy that is not a democracy
at all, but an ethnocentric, xenophobic, wouldbe fascist dictatorship, and not the American
democracy most of us know, cherish, and want
to preserve.

Teachers refuse to violate their consciences by
lying to children and shattering their trust in them,
and when they are forbidden to tell the whole
truth lest it embarrass white racists, they refuse
to betray both children and truth

Frank Breslin is an NJREA member and a retired
English, Latin, German, and social studies
teacher. An educator for over 40 years, he retired
from the Delaware Valley Regional High School.