Δευτέρα, 22 Μαρτίου 2010

Bias in Academia And the Cases of Nat Turner & John Brown

TOO MANY PROFESSORS INDOCTRINATE their students with establishment and anti-truth ideology. Institutions of higher learning should not teach students what to think but how to think. Students are not paying for the subjective opinions of uninformed professors. Students cannot get a good education if professors are only telling half the story. All Americans need to defend the right of students to get an education and not just be force-fed prepackaged doctrines. For example, students are told Nat Turner was the black Spartacus, veritably another Patrick Henry. How should students really regard this historical figure? What about the “other side of the story”? Or how about John Brown—was he a martyred saint, or a murdering psychopath? The following article is a transcription of the speech given by Prof. Ray Goodwin of Victoria, Texas at the 2006 TBR Labor Day conference in Washington, D.C.

Bias, of course, is a predisposition or prejudice and is inherent in every one of us because we are human. Our biases are predicated on many factors, including age, religion, sex, upbringing etc. These things will color perceptions; yet it is possible to strive to minimize bias.

Many doctors still take a form of the Hippocratic oath. Historians should take a similar oath—a personal oath to rid themselves, as thoroughly as they can, of any bias when they write a history text or paper, when they give lectures, when they teach.

The textbook I was assigned to use at Victoria College was written by a Pulitzer prizewinner named Irwin Unger. Mr. Unger is a product of New York’s educational system; and I am sure there are some highly qualified and fine universities in New York. But Mr. Unger’s biases certainly came through in that textbook—a definite geographical bias and possibly a racial one. Both had a bearing on his interpretation of the misnamed “civil war,” and both biases have played a part in today’s prevailing outlook on race and the civil rights movement.

There are dozens of examples of bias in today’s texts and classroom instruction, certainly not limited to those cited herein. And to be honest, I doubt I could write a history of the War Between the States without my own Southern bias being evident. That comes from my belief that truth and justice lie in that direction, of course.

I found myself clashing with Unger’s book, greatly. Actually that was a good thing—because I was able to give my students a different perspective.

I would like to cite some textbook examples. Example No. 1 out of the Unger textbook is the Nat Turner slave rebellion, which took place in Southampton County, Virginia in August of 1831.

Turner said he was called on by the Holy Spirit to do what he did. And the Holy Spirit, he said, told him to kill all whites. So he told his followers to do just that, and to spare no one. Joseph Travis was the owner of Nat Turner at the time this took place. (He was Turner’s third
owner—and a very kind man.)

At 2 a.m on August 21, 1831, Turner and three others entered the Travis home and killed all five members of that family. Travis and his wife were hacked to death with an axe, and their infant son stabbed to death in his cradle. Thus began an orgy of murder over the next few days that would terrify all Southern whites.

Turner and his fellow murderers went down the road on an extended killing spree, and more and more followers joined them, the group eventually reaching more than a hundred. As Turner and his band went from farm to farm slaughtering unsuspecting whites, children were the group that suffered the most casualties and arguably the most brutal deaths.

Probably the worst aspect of that whole slave rebellion happened the next day, Tuesday, August 22, 1831. Turner and many of his henchmen came upon a school. There were 11 children there—the oldest being 11 years old. The butchers proceeded to murder the teacher in front of the children and then took those children, beheaded them; stacked their bodies in front of the schoolhouse; and tossed their heads back into the schoolroom. One little girl survived by hiding in the chimney. Whites killed in the grisly rebellion included 25 children, 18 women and 14 men.

Word got back to the Virginia authorities, and the militia went after the killers and finally caught up with them.

Of course, they saw the carnage along the way. Imagine what the sight of those abused bodies did to those men. Turner’s followers were soon captured, but it took about six weeks or so to finally catch Turner himself. He hid out well.

The local authorities put him on trial and executed him. Someone skinned his body afterward as an example to any who might attempt another such massacre. That in essence was the Nat Turner slave rebellion. The state of Virginia executed 55 of his followers.

Many more were sentenced to some form of banishment. A few were acquitted. The state reimbursed the slaveholders for their lost slaves.

In the hysterical climate that followed the rebellion, close to 200 blacks, many of whom had nothing to do with it, were murdered by white mobs. Slaves as far away as North Carolina were accused of having a connection with the insurrection and were tried and executed. Thus Turner’s action caused the immeasurable suffering of his own people. This fact is always ignored, of course.

Virginia considered abolishing slavery, but instead chose to adopt a suppressive and restrictive policy against black people, both slave and free. Because of the actions of Turner, educating slaves was outlawed.

If there were a modern-day parallel to Turner and his followers, probably the closest thing would be the Charles Manson family or any of numerous other serial killers.

How does Mr. Irwin Unger present the affair in his textbook? Unger writes (352): “Turner, a slave foreman and preacher inspired by the Bible, decided to strike a blow for freedom.” Note the use of the phrase, “inspired by the Bible.” I mean, who could argue with that? I have no idea what “Bible” Mr. Unger was referring to, but the ones I have read say something about “Thou shalt not kill.” And “decided to strike a blow for freedom”? When an 18- or 19-year-old student reads such words, he or she automatically thinks: “This was a good guy just trying to help his oppressed people; this is some sort of hero.”

Unger never mentioned the slaughter. Unger never mentions the methods of slaughter, did not use the word “murder” and also neglects to tell his readers that 43 of the victims were women and children.

He said that the actions of Turner were directed against “not a particularly brutal master.” In actuality, Joseph Travis was a very kind master. Turner had been taught to read and write and was allowed to preach itinerantly. His owners completely trusted him. They gave him the run of the plantation.

Yet Unger writes, “not a particularly brutal master,” insinuating that Travis wasn’t, perhaps, quite as mean and cruel as the stereotypical fictional Southern slave owner who bullwhipped his slaves every morning, noon and night.

No, Nat Turner had it pretty good, all things considered. In the 1960s some black writers got angry about a novel (The Confessions of Nat Turner, by William Styron) published in 1967 about this Turner rebellion that was essentially what I just related to you. Those black “historians” said a white person couldn’t write an accurate history of the Turner rebellion—so they wrote their own book. In that book they made Turner a hero, a symbol of black power and social liberation. [Oddly enough, the novel Styron wrote, which so enraged the black writers, was largely sympathetic to Turner as a person, being opposed mainly to his actions.—Ed.]

Example No. 2 out of the Unger textbook would be John Brown. Brown was very much the religious zealot, a fanatic, who also saw himself as an instrument of God to “smite the slave owners” (or any other Southern white). If there were a comparison of such fanaticism today, to me it would be the Jewish Zionists and their allies the Christian Zionists.

In May of 1856 at Pottawatomie Creek in Kansas, Brown, his sons and a handful of followers rode out to that creek where there were five families of Southern settlers. Because these folks were, naturally enough, pro-South (yet were not slave owners), Brown and his followers proceeded to hack them to death with swords. The five men were killed in front of their families. He murdered them. It happened so fast, these unarmed fellows did not know what was happening. That was the demented zealotry that was driving a man like Brown.

For three years, Brown ran wild, taking vengeance on anyone from the South, anybody who was not pro-Union. In 1859, he fomented a plan to ignite a slave rebellion in the South. And he sought the backing of abolitionist leaders of the North to fund this enterprise. His plan was to take several of his followers and conduct a raid on the armory at Harpers Ferry. In that time, it was in Virginia; today, West Virginia. His idea was that once the slaves saw Brown and his followers take over that arsenal, there would be an immediate uprising, and Brown could then pass out the weapons from Harpers Ferry to the slaves and they could go immediately on a massacre of white Southerners. He did indeed capture that arsenal for a little while and killed some civilians (the first one killed, ironically, was a black) and some U.S. soldiers.

What put an end to the raid? What stopped John Brown? U.S. Capt. Robert E. Lee and a contingent of U.S. Marines. John Brown was caught, convicted and sentenced to hang. During the time before he was hanged, Northern newspapers lauded the man for what he had done and made a hero out of him.

How did Unger handle John Brown’s fanaticism, his murder of those people in Kansas, and the victims at Harpers Ferry?

As described by Mr. Unger in my required textbook, “John Brown, a stern latter day Old Testament patriarch, swore to rid the United States of the sin of slavery.” My young students would read that and think, “Oh, my goodness—a stern, latter-day Old Testament patriarch? That means he’s right in there with Abraham and Moses!”

Even after Brown’s capture and sentencing (also from the textbook), “Henry David Thoreau compared John Brown to Jesus. Novelist Louisa May Alcott named Brown ‘St. John the Just’.” Unger describes Brown as a martyr to the cause of human freedom and reminds us that in two short years, Union soldiers advancing on the South would be singing, “John Brown’s body is a-moldering in the ground, but his truth is marching on.”

These two examples illustrate the practice of mind manipulation rather than education.

Now, here’s another personal incident for me. I would devote one of my class periods entirely to the JFK assassination. There are two areas that for the last 35 years I devoted my time, efforts and energy; they are two historical events that mean much to me.

One of them was the defining moment in my life as a patriot. That was the murder of John F. Kennedy in Dallas and the subsequent cover-up. The second would be the “holo-hoax.”

I have attacked the “establishment” rendition of both of those. On the night I would lecture on JFK, I would bring five or six books I consider the most informative on the subject. I have read 50, 60, 70 books on the subject, and most of them were disinformation from the CIA to mislead people and to add further confusion.

But there are a handful of very viable books. Mark Lane’s booksRush to Judgment and Plausible Denial are certainly two of the best.

However, I consider Michael Collins Piper’s book Final Judgmentas the definitive work on the JFK assassination. In my estimation Piper did indeed provide the missing link in the assassination as well as just who was able to engineer and sustain the cover-up. Piper exposed those crucial facts. [Final Judgment (760 pages; 1,000+ reference notes) is available from TBR BOOK CLUB for $25 minus 10% for TBR subscribers plus $3 S&H inside the U.S.—Ed.]

I recommended Piper’s book to my students, but that book was not in the Victoria College Library. So, I took the book to our librarian, and I said, I would like you to register this and put it on the shelf so that my students would have it available. He responded, “fine.”

So, two or three weeks later my students were saying that they had gone over to the library to look for Piper’s book, and it wasn’t there. So I went over to see for myself. The librarian didn’t know where it was. He looked everywhere. He couldn’t imagine what had happened to it.

I happened to buy three copies so I took a second copy to the library. That one disappeared as well, with no explanation. Nobody knew how it didn’t wind up on the shelves for my students to read, or where the book could be.

Additionally, regarding that Unger textbook, Mr. Tito Howard, well-known USS Liberty researcher, was not surprised to hear that absolutely not one word on the 1967 assault on the Liberty was in the textbook. My students found out about the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty because I used articles out of THE BARNES REVIEW. I photocopied those articles, with permission, handed them to my students, and asked them to write response papers. That was the first time any of them had ever heard of the USS Liberty tragedy. [A special 8-page
newspaper report on the Liberty massacre is available from American Free Press for just $3. Call 1-888-699-NEWS to charge. See page 11 for two amazing Liberty videos.—Ed.]

I assigned other articles out of TBR from which my students were to write response papers. When I asked for response papers, I made it clear that I did not want them to tell me what Richard Bondiera or Michael Hoffman had written. I already knew that. I explained that I wanted to know what they thought about what that author had written. I was trying to prompt them to think, because my job as an instructor was never to tell them WHAT to think; it was to try to teach them HOW to think—and to let them know there are other viewpoints out there that are much more viable than what they see in their textbooks.

I had assigned Richard Bondiera’s article about the Confederate battle flag, which he described as a flag of honor. And I had also assigned Michael Hoffman’s article on white slaves in Colonial America. I wanted my students to write a response paper, and I made it clear to them that whether they agreed or disagreed with what was in the articles, it would not affect their grades. I wanted to know what they thought about what they read.

So I gave them the assignment, and stressed that the one thing I would not accept was an attack on the writer. Sure enough, a female student about 40 years old and completing her education—she was a very good
student—came in on the evening when papers were due. She spoke out in class in an aggressive and accusing manner, saying that she had checked out THE BARNES REVIEW on the Internet and read that it was a “racist and anti-Semitic publication.”

My reply was, “Oh, really. Who is calling it that? Who wrote those words? You know what you are doing, Ma’am? You’re letting someone else do your thinking for you.”

Other students happened to hear what she had said to me, so I responded in this manner, posing this scenario:

Suppose it is 2 a.m., and you are asleep in your home, and someone walking in front of your home sees flames engulfing the ground floor. Imagine this person running up on your front porch and banging on the door to wake you, to let you know that you are in danger. You are upstairs, and you are awakened by this bang, bang, bang on your door. Now, does it make any difference to you if the person at your door trying to warn you is black, Jewish, national socialist, Communist, a Klansman or a homosexual?

I don’t think so. What counts is the message the person is trying to deliver to you. So do not attack the messenger. If you are going to attack the article, this assignment that I give you, then challenge it on the basis of what the author has written.”

Two Hispanic females obviously had collaborated on the closing remarks in their papers, which were to the effect that “the white race has never done anything for [Hispanic] people except put its foot on our neck and keep us down, steal our land and exploit and discriminate against us.”

Of course these two 20-year-olds were just regurgitating what they’ve unfortunately been exposed to for years. This happened to be a night class. At the end of that particular class, after handing out the graded response papers and before dismissing the group, I made mention of the comments of the two girls—without identifying them, of course. I then walked over to the light switch and turned off the lights. It was pitch black for a full minute. I turned them back on—and then so addressed my class:

“What was that? It is called harnessed electricity. My people invented that, and we shared it with the world. And when you walk out of here and get in your vehicle and turn that key, what you are hearing is the internal combustion engine that allows you to drive anywhere. My people invented that, and shared it with the world. And when you get home and want a cold drink and entertainment, my people invented refrigeration and that television and radio and stereo, and we shared it with the world. And if your son or daughter or little sister gets sick and you rush him or her to the hospital for an X-ray or MRI, my people invented those things, and we shared them with the world. So before you make such statements about my race, you had best take a look around and do some honest thinking.”

Several students in the class later told me that my remarks were greatly appreciated.

Racial pride is something that means a lot to me. Every ethnic group—every people—has a right to have pride in their race. I personally think there is something wrong with those who have no pride in their heritage. My approach on this issue is always, do not assume racial pride for yourself, and then deny it to me and my people. I told my students at the start of each term about my grading system and everything they were expected to do throughout the semester. I also told them that there is an occasional “playing of the race card” these days, and that if they are going to play that race card with me in my class, they’d best bring a lunch because we were going to be there awhile.

A consideration in today’s classroom is handling the very prevalent anti-white bias, both from the texts and many students. I openly reminded all my classes that racial pride is very normal, and that it should be accorded to everyone. I also told them that I am very proud of my own heritage, and that the assigning of collective guilt to any race is an injustice, including my race, and that I would not let any such accusations go unchallenged.

I discriminated against no one in my classroom and treated all my students fairly and with respect. I tried to teach them how to think on their own, and to be skeptical of what they see, hear and read from the media and politicians. I encouraged them to be fair and examine all sides of issues before judging. I hoped that if they left my classroom with anything, it would be a healthy dose of skepticism about what they read in textbooks, newspapers, and see on television. As an historian, I owed them no less. And if America is to survive, all of us are bound by our sacred honor to wage the battle in any way we can, for honesty, truth and justice.
A native-born Texan, Revisionist RAY GOODWIN is a retired instructor of American history on the college level in Victoria, Texas. In addition to his recent speech at the TBR Authentic History Conference in Washington, D.C. (the article above), he has given multiple addresses to the Sons of Confederate Veterans organizations in San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi and Victoria. He has done research on various historical subjects, and has had book reviews and articles published on them.

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