Carson: AP History Class Would Make People Join ISIS

Like most right wingers, Ben Carson bristles at any criticism of the United States and jumps immediately to “you must hate America” any time such criticisms are made. At a meeting of Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy last week, he claimed that the AP history course would make kids want to join ISIS.

And we need to look at our history, we need to understand our history. You know, I am a little shocked, quite frankly, looking at the AP course in American history that’s being taught in high schools across our country right now. There’s only two paragraphs in there about George Washington. George Washington, believe it or not. Little or nothing about Dr. Martin Luther King. A whole section on slavery and how evil we are. A whole section on Japanese internment camps and how we slaughtered millions of Japanese with our bombs. A whole section on how we wiped out American Indians with no mercy. I mean, I think most people, when they finished that course, they’d be ready to go sign up for ISIS.

A whole section on slavery in a course on American history? That’s outrageous! I mean, it was only the single most dominant issue in American politics for most of the first century of the nation’s existence and it only caused the bloodiest and most nation-changing conflict in our history. Why on earth would they devote a whole “section” (whatever that might mean) to that?

But it’s difficult to even know what he is referring to here when he says “whole section.” There is not a single textbook used nationally for AP American History classes, there are several different ones. There is a new exam and framework that was rolled out this fall at the beginning of the new school year, but I have no idea what he means by a “whole section.” The framework divides American history up into nine chronological periods. Within each of those periods, there are “key concepts” to be studied, each of which has several subsections. But by any definition, there does not appear to be any “whole section” on the Japanese internment camps. In fact, it is only one of many thing listed in one subsection of one key concept of one chronological period:

Wartime experiences, such as the internment of Japanese Americans, challenges to civil liberties, debates over race and segregation, and the decision to drop the atomic bomb raised questions about American values.

It isn’t even a whole subsection of a subsection of a subsection. And notice that at no point in this diatribe does he question the accuracy of what is taught. It is an undeniable part of American history that the settlers here did import slaves, they did slaughter Native Americans in massive numbers. And we did drop an atomic bomb on Japan, the only nation ever to do so. I don’t know how one could possibly teach American history without talking about those things.

But I don’t think Carson or his target audience cares about what is true, they care only about maintaining their narrative in spite of the evidence. And they care about scoring cheap political points with ignorant nationalists who prefer a sanitized version of history to an accurate one.

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  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    Listening to Ben Carson talk about our terrible American schools could cause parents to send their children to a radical Islamic madrasah.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    And Americans don’t want a medical professor lecturing us from a podium.– Sarah

  • Mr Ed

    The key to his argument seems to be only through ignorance can some one truly love America. Shows how little he loves it.

  • tbp1

    It’s an interesting contradiction: they can’t stand any criticism of the US, but they also think God is gonna destroy us any minute now for our horrible sins and iniquities. The cognitive dissonance is strong.

  • John Pieret

    it’s difficult to even know what he is referring to here when he says “whole section

    I suspect he was only looking at the Index to the AP U.S. History Framework, which has this:

    slavery (See also abolition; peopling; Period 2;

    Period 5; racial tensions), 23, 34, 36, 40,

    55, 56, 58

    developing restrictions to, 47

    Dred Scott decision, 57

    expansion of, 48, 54, 55

    identity and, 55

    regional identity and, 50

    resistance to, 37, 50

    Thirteenth Amendment abolishes, 60

    http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/ap/ap-us-history-course-and-exam-description.pdf

    As far as his educational philosophy, I think it boils down to this: “We have to keep our children as ignorant as we are or else they may not think as we do.”

  • Loqi

    I took multiple AP history classes in high school, so am I supposed to join Turbo ISIS or something?

  • caseloweraz

    Ben Carson: I mean, I think most people, when they finished that course, they’d be ready to go sign up for ISIS.

    Sure, because reading about the slaughter of Native Americans or the internment of American citizens of Japanese extraction just naturally evokes sympathy for Muslim criminals in Iraq and Syria.

  • colnago80

    I used to think that Carson doesn’t really believe this crap but is just another grifter. However, it’s getting to the point that I think he really believes it.

  • Alverant

    “And they care about scoring cheap political points with ignorant nationalists who prefer a sanitized version of history to an accurate one.”

    I noticed they did the same thing with their religion.

  • http://actofreparation.com alastor

    Funny. I took AP US History when I was in high school and turned into a progressive liberal atheist. I doubt Carson would find this any more comforting, though.

  • Ethan Myerson

    I took AP US History when I was in high school and turned into a progressive liberal atheist.

    Yeah, ISIS. That’s what I said.

  • blf

    I took multiple AP history classes in high school, so am I supposed to join Turbo ISIS or something?

    Join the isis nutters multiple times?

  • raven

    Reading lies and gibberish from fundies like Ben Carson, might turn me into a Pagan atheist.

    Oh wait, it already did.

    Colliding with the creationists was what finally got me out of xianity after almost 5 decades.

  • eric

    As far as his educational philosophy, I think it boils down to this: “We have to keep our children as ignorant as we are or else they may not think as we do.”

    Well, yeah. But we already knew that. Example one, example two.

    The only real question at this point is, will they outright say it in 2014, or is this a year they skip saying it?

  • alanb

    Little or nothing about Dr. Martin Luther King.

    Presumably he wants to teach about MLK without mentioning Bull Connor, or George Wallace, or the Birmingham church bombing.

    This is a good time to quote Al Franken:

    We love America just as much as they do. But in a different way. You see, they love America like a 4-year-old loves his mommy. Liberals love America like grown-ups. To a 4-year-old, everything Mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes Mommy is bad. Grown-up love means actually understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad and helping your loved one grow. Love takes attention and work and is the best thing in the world. That’s why we liberals want America to do the right thing. We know America is the hope of the world, and we love it and want it to do well.

  • kantalope

    I knew I liked that Franken guy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/den.wilson d.c.wilson

    #7:

    Sure, because reading about the slaughter of Native Americans or the internment of American citizens of Japanese extraction just naturally evokes sympathy for Muslim criminals in Iraq and Syria.

    You have to understand how the wingnut mind works. Remember, these are people who don’t do nuance. To them, the world is neatly divided into the Us and Them. If you are part of Us, you are pure and virtuous and nothing you do can every be considered wrong. Everyone who isn’t part of Us belongs in Them. And Them are all servants of Satan, willingly selling their souls to destroy everything Us holds dear and everyone in Them is working together. It doesn’t matter if different parts of Them hold diametrically opposed beliefs (Ex: LGBT and atheists vs. fundamentalist Muslims). If you are part of them. you are conspiring with the rest of Them to bring down Us. So yes, it makes perfect sens to them that once the seed of anti-Americanism is planted in the minds of our children, they will immediately jump into being full blown jihadists.

  • http://www.facebook.com/den.wilson d.c.wilson

    #8:

    I used to think that Carson doesn’t really believe this crap but is just another grifter. However, it’s getting to the point that I think he really believes it.

    I’m not sure what Carson believes at this point. When he starts spouting off on things like this, it becomes clear he has no idea what he’s talking about. So, he’s either pandering by reading talking points someone else gave him or he is as pig ignorant as people like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Six of one.

  • Pen

    A whole section on slavery and how evil we are. A whole section on Japanese internment camps and how we slaughtered millions of Japanese with our bombs. A whole section on how we wiped out American Indians with no mercy.

    He’s very identified with the ‘we’ who did these things he doesn’t want to talk about isn’t he? It’s true that if a history course genuinely leaves people with no better understanding of causes and agencies than a ”we’ did this’, it is horribly lacking. I’m highly suspicious of all American history courses in this respect, but I suspect Mr Carson’s mis-education began before AP got to him.

  • Michael Heath

    Ben Carson:

    A whole section on slavery and how evil we are.

    I think it’s reasonable for the unschooled when they’re initially getting educated to think historians focus too much on slavery. I once thought the same, until I worked at becoming historically literate. Now I don’t think historians focus enough on slavery.

    Slavery wasn’t merely a fatally defective incident that lasted centuries. It was also a systemic flaw whose repercussions not only cause misery to tens of milliions today, perhaps billions, but also is a primary reason our way of governance is not only broken, but the reason we can fix what’s broken with our politics by insuring every vote is equal in weight to every other vote.

  • Michael Heath

    I didn’t mean to hit the post comment button above; I wasn’t done editing. Sorry about that.

  • raven

    George Satayana:

    Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    Ben Carson is an idiot. He is explicitly advocating lies instead of the truth. This is rarely a good idea in the long run.

  • dingojack

    Al Franken: “We know America is the hope of the world…”

    Rest of the World: [snorts derisibly, and rolls eyes] ‘Yeah, right! Do you want us to repeat that long, long list of really, really bad stuff your partner did to the rest of us — again?!?’

    Sounds like old Al had a teen-aged hard-on for America. Real mature love knows that your partner is not good, not bad and sure as hell not the ‘hope of the world’.

    Dingo

  • Nick Gotts

    dingojack@23 beat me to it. Really, thinking your country (whichever that may be) is “the hope of the world” is at best embarrassingly naive.