NAACP letter campaign against gutting Texas social studies standards

May 6, 2010

I get e-mail from the NAACP; the rest of the nation is paying attention to the follies run by the conservative bureaucrats at the SBOE:

Ed,

Don't Erase Our History I wouldn’t want to be a Texas State Board member this week.

Last week, we asked you to write to your representative, telling him or her that rewriting Texas history textbooks is ignorant and unpatriotic.

Over 1,500 people have already written in, filling the inboxes of our school leaders.

This week, we’d like to offer you one more chance to get involved. The NAACP is planning rallies, hearings and press conferences in Texas to stop the state board from rewriting history. But we can’t do it without you.

An issue as controversial as rewriting history elicits strong emotions, and we want to give you the chance to speak out. Do you have something you would like to say at the hearing?

http://action.naacp.org/TextbookHearing

The NAACP works to ensure equal rights and to eliminate discrimination against all racial and ethnic groups. The proposed changes to our textbooks threaten our mission. This is not about Republicans or Democrats — it’s about our shared history as Texans. That’s why we want to use the words of our Texas supporters to turn the tide.

The Texas textbook vote is just two weeks away, so we need to push ourselves harder now than ever before.

The future of our children’s education is in the hands of just a few State Board members. Your voice could be the one to tip the scale.

Take a moment to tell us what you think about the Texas State Board rewriting history. The best submissions will be read at the hearing on May 19th.

http://action.naacp.org/TextbookHearing

Thank you for helping to protect our history.

Gary Bledsoe
President, Texas NAACP


Immigration anniversary

May 6, 2010

Today is the anniversary* of our nation’s first** law generally governing immigration.

Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred Chinese immigrants from the United States for 10 years.

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, page 1 - National Archives

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, page 1 - National Archives

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, page 2 - National Archives

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, page 2 - National Archives

____________

*    I note the image says it was approved by President Chester Alan Arthur (who had succeeded to office after President James Garfield was assassinated a year earlier).  The New York Times calls May 6 the anniversary of Congress’s passing the law; if Arthur signed in on May 6, it was probably passed a few days earlier.  May 6 would be the anniversary of its signing into law.

**  The Chinese Exclusion Act was preceded by the Page Act of 1875, which prohibited immigration of “undesirable” people.  Who was undesirable?  “The law classified as undesirable any individual from China who was coming to America to be a contract laborer, any Asian woman who would engage in prostitution, and all people considered to be convicts in their own country.”  It was not applicable to many immigrants.  The Page Act was named after its sponsor, Rep. Horace F. Page of California.


Flag flying on the National Day of Prayer?

May 6, 2010

We’re coming up on four relatively under-appreciated flag-flying dates before Independence Day (July 4):

  • Mother’s Day, second Sunday in May
  • Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May
  • Memorial Day (half-staff until noon*), the last Monday in May
  • Flag Day, June 14
President Obama at the Gulf of Mexico oil spill - White House photo

President Obama at the Gulf of Mexico oil spill - White House photo

I was surprised to see the “fly your flag today” note in the Dallas Morning News today, especially with the accompanying news story. As you can see above, it’s not on the flag-fly list in law.  President Obama’s declaration of the National Day of Prayer doesn’t suggest flying the flag.

We are blessed to live in a Nation that counts freedom of conscience and free exercise of religion among its most fundamental principles, thereby ensuring that all people of goodwill may hold and practice their beliefs according to the dictates of their consciences.  Prayer has been a sustaining way for many Americans of diverse faiths to express their most cherished beliefs, and thus we have long deemed it fitting and proper to publicly recognize the importance of prayer on this day across the Nation.

Let us remember in our thoughts and prayers those suffering from natural disasters in Haiti, Chile, and elsewhere, and the people from those countries and from around the world who have worked tirelessly and selflessly to render aid.  Let us pray for the families of the West Virginia miners, and the people of Poland who so recently and unexpectedly lost many of their beloved leaders.  Let us pray for the safety and success of those who have left home to serve in our Armed Forces, putting their lives at risk in order to make the world a safer place.  As we remember them, let us not forget their families and the substantial sacrifices that they make every day.  Let us remember the unsung heroes who struggle to build their communities, raise their families, and help their neighbors, for they are the wellspring of our greatness.  Finally, let us remember in our thoughts and prayers those people everywhere who join us in the aspiration for a world that is just, peaceful, free, and respectful of the dignity of every human being.

It’s not in the Congressional Resolution that declares the day (see it tucked in there between National Aviation Day and National Defense Transportation Day).

You may fly your flag any day.  But so far as I can tell, we’re not urged by law to fly the flag for prayer day.

In addition to those many worthy things to pray or meditate for on National Prayer Day, pray for a rational solution to the flap over the day.  Since when does anyone need a law to allow them pray?  Who is trying to claim an official flag-flying mantle, and why do they think a right to pray needs such a boost?

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