Textbook publisher McGraw-Hill announced Friday that it will rewrite a section in one of its books after a Houston-area mother complained about the wording used to explain the role of slavery in bringing Africans to America.
Dean-Burren elaborated on the issue in a video she posted to Facebook the following day.
When Roni Dean-Burren saw a caption in her ninth-grader’s world geography textbook that likened slaves to immigrants, she posted video evidence to social media which has now gone viral. She called the phrasing of the caption – as well as the labeling of slaves as “immigrants” – “erasure” of history. “This is revisionist history – retelling the story however the winners would like it told”.
Dean-Burren’s post was eventually shared over 40,000 times on Facebook, earning the attention of publisher McGraw-Hill Education, which took her concerns seriously.
She added that “it is a little scary to me” that the caption was allowed to be published, given that there were many “wise people” with “all that PhD behind their names” who were the “academics and consultants for this book” listed on the front pages. “This program addresses slavery in the world in several lessons and meets the learning objectives of the course”.
According to Dean-Burren, the textbook implied that Africans came to the US willingly and were compensated for their work. “To communicate these facts more clearly, we will update this caption to describe the arrival of African slaves in the U.S.as a forced migration and emphasize that their work was done as slave labor”.
The company issued an apology on Facebook and admitted that the book “did not adequately convey that Africans were both forced into migration and to labor against their will as slaves”.
McGraw-Hill Education agreed that the textbook had fallen short, and promised to change the digital version as well as future editions. Should the state need someone with her experience to vet school textbooks, she said she would relish the chance.
The publisher stated that they could “do better”.
“Even as the left pushes stories of American perfidy, the right counters with triumphal accounts of American perfection”, the report says, arguing that either slant handicaps students’ ability to understand the world around them. They were sold and sent across the sea in terrible conditions.