The Big Conversation
Some members of the State Board of Education are suggesting that reaction was overblown to a caption in a social studies textbook that described Africans caught in the Atlantic slave trade as "workers."
McGraw-Hill, the book's publisher, has apologized, corrected the caption, offered stickers to cover up the caption on existing books and offered to exchange the old books for new, corrected ones, the Tribune's Kiah Collier reported.
One SBOE member, David Bradley, suggested the publisher's reaction was "a little bit overboard" and said the whole incident would “make for a great Jerry Seinfeld episode: something out of nothing.”
“I applaud the publisher for trying to make a fix and something should be done, but I don’t advocate replacing all the textbooks in the world. It’s not fatal,” he said. “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.”
The publisher's actions were spurred by Roni Dean-Burren, a Pearland mother and doctoral candidate at the University of Houston, who posted a video of the textbook caption to Facebook. Her video post has since drawn nearly 1.9 million views.
Another SBOE member, Thomas Ratliff, suggested the caption was an isolated error and was not "an intentional act." Other mentions of slavery, according to Ratliff and a McGraw-Hill representative, more accurately depicted the harm caused by the slave trade.
“It's unfortunate that these passages haven't been part of the conversation; rather, all of the attention was focused on the one mistake,” Ratliff said. “We need to recognize this for what it is, not what some want to make it out to be.”
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Quote to Note
“I will remind all of them that Hitler made the trains run on time. The good that’s being done doesn’t compensate for the evil that’s being done by Planned Parenthood.”
— Ron Wright, a Tarrant County Tax Assessor Collector, on his decision not to encourage employees to contribute money to United Way, which he says has ties to Planned Parenthood
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News From Home
• In the 2015 Texas legislative session, state lawmakers weren't shy about using their religious beliefs to defend their policymaking. Check out part 2 of our "God & Governing" documentary-style series — to see how lawmakers' personal religious beliefs played into the open carry and campus carry debates.
Trib Events for the Calendar
• A Conversation with Political Commentator Paul Begala on Oct. 15 in Austin
• The Texas Tribune Festival on Oct. 16-18 at the University of Texas at Austin
• The Texas Tribune Trivia Night on Oct. 18 in Austin
• A Conversation with Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht on Oct. 29 in Austin
• A daylong higher education symposium on Nov. 16 at Baylor University in Waco