Over the weekend, social media blew up over the misprint in a Texas social studies textbook that implies that African slaves were brought as "workers." To make matters worse, the wording in that particular section of the textbook fails to distinguish indentured workers from slaves.
McGraw-Hill Education said it “conducted a close review of the content and agree(s) that our language in that caption did not adequately convey that Africans were both forced into migration and to labor against their will as slaves.” The textbook publisher promised to change the caption's wording in their textbooks, which caused some Texas State Board of Education members to say that they didn't understand what all the hubbub was about.
David Bradley (R-Beaumont) said that McGraw-Hill was "going a little bit overboard, adding people's outrage over the misrepresentation of history would "make for a great Seinfeld episode: something out of nothing." He went on to praise the publisher for pledging to fix the dishonest depiction of slavery but didn't think that replacing all of the textbooks would be the right thing to do.
“Unfortunately, in our culture, everybody is too easily offended ... Something else I’ve learned is people are only offended if they choose to be offended.”
Thomas Ratliff, another Republican member, said that out of all of the references to slavery and The Atlantic Slave Trade, this was the only mistake. "We need to recognize this for what it is, not what some want to make it out to be." He didn't specify "what it is," however.
Both members said that they or any other members of the board are not at fault for the misprint, saying that the responsibility lies with the publisher. This is despite the fact that the board oversees the adoption process for textbooks, which is a months-long process.
Watch the original video that caused the initial uproar here:
Many of you asked about my son's textbook. Here it is. Erasure is real y'all!!! Teach your children the truth!!!#blacklivesmatterPosted by Roni Dean-Burren on Thursday, October 1, 2015