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Just as it started with education.

About a year or so back, I had a far right leaning relative tell me that the Southern Strategy was a myth. I wasn’t as floored as I should have been, because since Trump was elected the same relative was spouting dozens of absurd make-believe depictions of reality.

I didn’t think about that conversation again until recently. During this time of uprising, I’ve watched countless arguments on social media between people, and maybe participated in a few. As the parrots they are, Republicans have been regurgitating how they aren’t the party of racists because the Democrats started the KKK and the Democrats led the Confederacy. Of course, Democrats refute this claim by reminding their arguer of the Southern Strategy.

Then, the phrase came up again, “The Southern Strategy was a myth.” While, the reason why that is factually inaccurate and the Southern Strategy was NOT a myth, is a discussion for another day; I started to wonder why the Republican party believes this.

Here is now infamous leaked audio of controversial Republican Strategist, Lee Atwater, explaining the was the Southern Strategy worked.

The war on facts started long before Fox News went on air for the first time.

It all stated with the Lost Cause of the Confederacy. Which basically is historical denialism which depicts the Confederacy has heroic and just.

During the beginning of the Lost Cause movement, the participants of the Confederacy rewrote history to say the Civil War being about state’s rights and not about slavery. An argument many of us have had in Texas more than once in our lifetime.

The Lost Cause portrayed the South as much more Christian than the North. They often would use a narrative of slaves being happy as propaganda in order to to defend slavery.

The Lost Cause of the Confederacy rhetoric, still has a lasting impact on today’s culture. Remember back in 2013, when Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson received a huge backlash from what he said about the pre-Civil Rights South?

I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field …. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word! … Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.

Back then, we all just thought he was a wing-nut, right?

But in fact, this rhetoric was rhetoric that he learned while growing up. As part of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, white people all over the South could turn a blind-eye to racial injustice, by simply saying that Black people were happier or better off before.

President Andrew Johnson pardoned the majority of the confederacy in 1869.

This had a snowball effect, for many reasons. First, when you look at Texas history, from the end of the civil war until the early 1900s, the majority of Texas’ governors, congressman, supreme court judges, and other elected officials were ex-Confederate soldiers. So, even though the Civil War was over, the Confederacy still held on to Texas.

Many of those Confederate soldiers wrote books and gave speeches, as I wrote about recently, the words and ideology of the Confederacy are still echoed in today’s GOP.

Secondly, one of the men pardoned by Johnson began a disinformation campaign that still is in practice today. His name was Jubal Early, he was an outspoken supporter of white supremacy and believed that religion justified slavery.

He took pride in being an “unreconstructed rebel,” and after he was pardoned by Johnson, he became a member of the Southern Historical Society and wrote many articles which painted the Confederacy in an inaccurate light and romanticized the Antebellum South, (the South before the Civil War).

In came the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

The UDC was just one of many groups that integrated the Lost Cause of the Confederacy themes to help white, Confederate-sympathizing Southerners cope with the many changes during the Reconstruction era.

Who the UDC and their actions are best described by this VOX video from 2 years ago:

The UDC literally changed text books in the south for decades. According to this VOX video, it was until the civil rights era. However, in Texas, this misrepresentation of history is still prevalent today.

It wasn’t just the Confederacy elevated, it was also the KKK. The UDC during Jim Crow worshiped the Klan. They dealt in and preserved Klan artifacts and symbology. It even served as a sort of public relations agency for the KKK. At the UDC’s 1913 annual national convention, thy unanimously endorsed the KKK.

Where are the United Daughters of the Confederacy today?

Unbelievably, still in existence. And, they are a 501(c). So, they are a non-profit organization who doesn’t pay taxes. While many today may say that their racism and views of the past, are in the past. A quick search on their public Facebook pages tells us all different.

During, the 2020 Uprising, protesters have destroyed many monuments and statutes once placed by the UDC, which also has their tail feathers ruffled.

Their followers actually think the Confederacy was part of America, (and not traitors to this country).

They actually believe their own ignorance.

The UDC and their followers are still filled with hate. Much of this I found on the Dallas Chapter of the UDC Facebook page.

Who is the modern day UDC?

A bunch of old white ladies. Seriously, if this is your grandma, it’s time to sit her down and have a talk with her.

So, how do we stop the cycle from continuing?

It goes so much further than what these bigots of the past taught children in school during the 1900s, it’s what are they teaching them now?

In Texas, which has been conservative for the last few decades, they’ve taken part in their own dismantling of out children’s education.

Take the Southern Strategy, for example. This is not taught in history books, although it should be. For this we look to the Texas State Board of Education who is directly responsible for what gets taken out or put in to our children’s history books.

Texas’ long history of erasing history.

While this goes back all the way to the 1800s, as recent as 2018, Conservatives who sat on the State Board of Education were working to remove Helen Keller and Hillary Clinton from books, to downplay the role of slavery as the central cause of the Civil War, and to leave in references to Moses as an individual “whose principles of laws and government institutions informed the American founding documents.” 

These changes often have to do with the board member’s own personal beliefs or pet causes, and have no basis in existing scholarly consensus.

Maybe you remember back in 2015, when a Houston mom found in her child’s history book slaves were referred to as workers. Texas history books in schools downplay slavery and barely skirt over Jim Crow.

Conservatives literally have been white washing history to our children, and attempting to repeat the same methods put in place by ex-Confederate soldiers and the UDC.

In 2010 some of the most damage was done by the Conservative school board members.

In 2010, the then board members of education implemented such a distorted version of history, that it made national news and is still often talked about today.

That year, they implemented changes in text books like  Joseph McCarthy an American hero, and particular historical figures, including the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, and labor leader Cesar Chavez were complete erased from the books.

From the Independent: “The school board’s decrees range from the surreal to the faintly sinister. One dictates that the Republican former House speaker Newt Gingrich should be studied. Another says that the speeches of Jefferson Davis, the slave-owning president of the Confederacy, should be taught alongside those of Abraham Lincoln. And the National Rifle Association should be praised for upholding the Constitution.”

Pro-Confederate, Tea-Party Conservatives have NO place on the State Education Board.

It’s dangerous. A big reason today our country is rife with ignorance and hate is because of the disinformation that has been lodged against us and against children for nearly 150 years. It has to stop.

That means being aware of who is currently sitting on the board, who’s up for election, who needs to be reelected, and who needs to be voted out.

District 6

The reason I am bringing up District 6 first, instead of in order is because the board member of District 6 is also the current Chair. The current chair is Donna Bahorich, she has been on the board since 2013, although she’s not seeking reelection. Why is she relevant if she’s not seeking reelection? I’ll get there.

Like Abbott, Crenshaw, and the rest of the cowardly GOP, Donna Bahorich says one thing in public, as Reform Austin pointed out, but when faced with racism on her own Facebook page, she doesn’t speak out against it, instead, she agrees with it.

When she tries to talk about unity, she is immediately hit with absolute racism.

As we all know, the racist people hate Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters, Sheila Jackson Lee, and AOC because the stand up for civil rights. If anyone refers to these individuals as “race-baiters,” they are telling you they don’t think anyone should be standing up for civil rights. That makes them racist. Period.

And Bahorich’s response? “That’s true.”

Here’s a tip for you Donna, if you want to promote unity and all stand together, you need to start by calling out and renouncing racist comments like this, instead of agreeing with them.

This isn’t a one time thing for her, either.

If you don’t see what’s wrong here, it’s time to check your own privilege.

Too often white people don’t want to confront the racism within our own community, but with the same stride they talk about peace and unity, (usually while mentioning their black friends).

This is one of the things in American culture that needs to change.

So, who is up for election in District 6?

The Democratic candidates are facing a run-off in July between Kimberly McLeod and Michelle Palmer. We’ll follow up more about the winner after the run-off election.

The Republican candidate is Will Hickman. His campaign website says very little about him, it doesn’t say what he wants to do if elected, or his positions on revising history as many before him have done.

But, he is a Tea Party member, which should tell you more than enough about his character and he’s been endorsed by Donna Bahorich. Since we already know, Bahorich will not stand up against racism, unless for some bullshit public “I’m not racist,” display. Could we really count on Will Hickman to do what’s right?

District 1

District 1 currently has a Democratic incumbent, Georgina Perez. Perez is awesome, she has been working to get some of the things Conservatives erased put back in the books.

Here is Georgina Perez from this year’s Texas Democratic Convention.

Running against her is a woman named Jennifer Ivey. Who is Jennifer Ivey? That’s a great question.

I could not find a campaign website, a social media account, an interview, or even a picture of Jennifer Ivey. I don’t even know if she’s a real person. Perhaps she is just running on the fact that she has an (R) next to her name, hoping that will get her votes.

District 5

District 5 has been headed by Ken Mercer for the last 13 years. It’s a good think he’s on his way out, because holy crap, this guy is stupid. I’m not going to screenshot any of his appalling posts on Facebook, but here’s the link if you want to take a look yourself.

Running to replace him is Rebecca Bell-Metereau, another fantastic candidate. She’s a college professor, smart, articulate, and is passionate about making sure students have a science-based curriculum, (opposed to the religious-based one that Conservatives currently have).

The Republicans are still in a run-off, and one of them is this clown, Robert Morrow, who has a lengthy history of sexist, racist tweets and conspiracy-laden rants. A perfect GOP candidate, right?

Running against Morrow is yet another Tea Party backed candidate, Lani Popp. Even though, Popp and Morrow are in a run-off, Popp still had less votes than the clown, showing her unpopularity even with Republicans.

District 9

The current incumbent Republican is Keven Ellis, yet another run of the mill same. He’s a Tea Party member with Tea Party endorsements. He also is a chiropractor with no previous experience in education.

His democratic opponent is Brenda Davis, a retired journalism and English teacher and a graduate of UTA with a degree in communications. The difference between the two couldn’t be more stark. Brenda Davis believes in social justice, equality in education, and the separation of church and state.

District 10

The Republican incumbent in District 10 is Tom Maynard. He is ultra religious, spends his free time at pro-life rallies, and tells his own unique version of history, (which is a big hit with his fans).

Running against him is Dr. Marsha Burnett-Webster. Another fantastic candidate. She has spoke out against the evils Betsy DeVos has done to education, she is pro-woman, pro-fact, and opposes school vouchers. All of those qualities are what we all hope for in a school board member who decides what goes in or comes out of our children’s text books.

District 14

The Republican incumbent of District 14, Sue Melton-Malone, is another idiot who has been working to put creationism in school text books, as far back as 2013.

Running against her is Greg Alvord. He knows that Texas has been white washing their history and he wants to set things right. He believes in education equality for all students. Greg Alvord is someone who is well known and well liked in Democratic circles. Definitely, check him out.

District 15

The Republican incumbent for District 15, Marty Rowley decided not to tun for reelection this year. Running for District 15 seat is Jay Johnson, a dentist without a campaign website or a social media page. I guess another Republican running in hopes that his (R) next to his name is enough to get elected.

The Democrat running in District 15 is John Betancourt. We really like him a lot. Check out his video, you can hear in his voice how genuine he is and how he really cares.

Just like the other amazing Democratic candidates running for the State Board of Education, John Betancourt is someone that believes our children’s text books should be teaching them facts, that all kids deserve equality in education, and all schools should be appropriately funded.

It’s time to fix education so that the lies of the Confederacy are no longer taught 150+ years after they lost the war.

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