Professor Adam Laats on the Censorship of History on the Morning Show May 4thMay 3, 2023
Professor Adam Laats on the Censorship of History
Mary Jacobsen speaks with Adam Laats, Professor of Education and History at Binghamton University in New York. Laats is the author of multiple books, including “Creationism USA: Bridging the Impasse on Teaching Evolution” (2020). He is an expert on cultural battles over schooling and school reform.
Earlier this year, the governor of Florida stirred up controversy when he blocked the first draft of an Advanced Placement African American Studies course offered by the College Board. A national discussion about political efforts to control the narrative of Black history has been ensuing ever since.
Laats puts this current discussion within the context of the long American history of efforts to censor and control the teaching of Black history, starting immediately after the Civil War.
As Laats has written, efforts first launched by White Southerners in the former Confederacy form a throughline to current efforts to skew racial history by minimizing the horrors of slavery and racial oppression in service of portraying American history as universally and uniformly heroic.
History, however, says Laats, suggests that these efforts probably won’t succeed in the long run. “By making it unacceptable to teach the truth of America’s racial history, even when the facts are unambiguous,” the result is that “students learn less,” and often emerge feeling “confused about the past.”