Biden offers grants to teach children U.S. 'inherently racist'

President Joe Biden signs a commission for Gina Raimondo as Secretary of Commerce Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)

The Biden administration plans to offer grants for K-12 history classes that use curriculum claiming the United States is inherently racist.

The funding will support the teaching of Marxist-based critical race theory and the “1619 Project,” the New York Times series that contends the United States was founded on slavery, regarding it as the defining characteristic of the American experience, the Washington Times reported.

The grants, which distribute about $5 million a year, were listed in the Federal Register on Monday as proposed rules, open to comment until May 19.

The administration will prioritize funding for schools that teach the works of Ibram X. Kendi, a black professor and pioneer in critical race theory, and the “1619 Project.” Critical race theory is a postmodern theoretical framework rooted in Marxist principles that views individuals through the lens of the oppressed or the oppressor, based largely on their skin color. Ivy League professors and Pulitzer Prize-winning historians have condemned the “1619 Project” as a bogus history.

The grants are to the Presidential and Congressional Academies for American History and Civics (Academies) and National Activities programs. The objective, according to the proposal, is to improve “the quality of teaching of American history, civics, and government in elementary schools and secondary schools, including the teaching of traditional American history.”

The Department of Education said the teaching is important because the U.S. is going through a “national reckoning with systemic racism [that] highlighted the urgency of improving racial equity throughout our society, including in our education system.”

The department also said the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected people of color.

Peter Wood, president of the conservative National Association of Scholars, told the Times that what’s “baked into these priorities are the ideas that America is systemically racist; that Americans are implicitly racist; and that anyone who denies these views is spreading “misinformation.'”

“No program that gives the stamp of federal approval to such risible sources deserves the light of day,” he said.

In February, former Vanderbilt and Princeton political science professor Carol Swain warned that having already “destroyed” higher education, the political left is ramping up its effort to fundamentally transform K-12 schooling, teaching children that anything associated with Western Civilization.

Embedding racial ‘equity’

In his first week in office, President Biden unveiled a plan to “embed racial equity,” rather than equality of opportunity, in all government agencies and “redress systemic racism where it exists” across the nation.

Among his moves was the elimination of President Trump’s 1776 Commission, for which Swain served as vice chairman. The Biden administration called the report the commission released just prior to Biden’s inauguration “counterfactual.”

With the aim of restoring education on America and its founding, the 1776 report argues that while the country “has its imperfections, just like any other country, in the annals of history the United States has achieved the greatest degree of personal freedom, security, and prosperity for the greatest proportion of its own people and for others around the world.”

“These results are the good fruit of the ideas the founding generation expressed as true for all people at all times and places.”

Last October, two members of the 1776 Commission, Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn and Hoover Institution fellow Victor Davis Hanson, were among the professors, academics and historians who signed a letter urging the Pulitzer Prize Board to rescind its award to the author of the “1619 Project,” Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Posted on the website of the National Association of Scholars, the letter asserts there is “simply no evidence” for her claim that “protecting the institution of slavery was a primary motive for the American Revolution.”

The Pulitzer board called her work “a sweeping, deeply reported and personal essay for the ground-breaking 1619 Project, which seeks to place the enslavement of Africans at the center of America’s story.” Hannah-Jones asserts that 1619, “when some 20 Africans arrived at Jamestown,” should be recognized as the year of the nation’s founding, not 1776.

The scholars point out that the “1619 Project” has been discredited by so many historians that the Times “has felt the need to go back and change a crucial passage in it, softening but not eliminating its unsupported assertion about slavery and the Revolution.”

“Prominent historians” keep finding “serious factual errors, specious generalizations, and forced interpretations,” they emphasize. But Hannah-Jones has dismissed the criticism, and the Times has stonewalled, the letter says.

The New York Times’ own fact-checker, Leslie M. Harris, the scholars point out, has “warned the newspaper that an assertion that ‘the patriots fought the American Revolution in large part to preserve slavery in North America’ was plainly false.”

Mr. Lincoln weighs in on America’s founding

On Tuesday, Powerline blogger John Hinderaker noted the Biden administration and Democrats nationwide are pushing the idea that “systemic racism” permeates the nation and is woven into its founding documents.

Earlier this week, St. Paul, Minnesota, Mayor Melvin Carter quoted from the Supreme Court’s infamous Dred Scott case to make that point, accepting Chief Justice Roger B. Taney’s dubious interpretation of the Declaration and the Constitution. Taney said the original Constitution regarded black people “as so far inferior that they had no rights that white people were bound to respect.”

Abraham Lincoln

But Abraham Lincoln, Hindraker pointed out, rebutted Taney’s claim in a speech addressing the decision. In 1857, before his presidency, Lincoln said that when the Founders wrote that God has granted everyone “certain inalienable rights,” they “did not mean to assert the obvious untruth, that all were then actually enjoying that equality, nor yet, that they were about to confer it immediately upon them.”

“In fact they had no power to confer such a boon. They meant simply to declare the right, so that the enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit,” Lincoln said.

And, wrote Hindraker, America “fought a great Civil War that derived from the debate over [Taney’s] teaching.”

“It resulted in the adoption of the Civil War amendments to the Constitution and other civil rights laws. Yet ignorance rules the day,” he said.

Hindraker argued “the United States is alone in the history of the world in its foundation on the principle of equal rights.”

“We are proud of our founding documents and our history. We dispute the contentions of Taney et al. as self-evident lies.”

Hindraker said the “original Constitution, and hence original intent jurisprudence, can only be defended if one distinguishes the principles of the Constitution from the compromises of the Constitution.”

“The framers made concessions to slavery because they believed that the Constitution would not be ratified without them,” he argued.

“Had the Constitution not been ratified, slavery would have been in a far stronger position. Instead, the new Constitution created a government strong enough to deal with slavery when the crisis finally came. Moreover, the future of the Union as a guardian of the cause of human freedom throughout the world depended upon this distinction between the Constitution’s principles and its compromises.”

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