Last weekend — Memorial Day — I posted on my Facebook page the photographic image and the story of the leaflet the American military dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki five days before dropping the atomic bombs.
The 8 million leaflets dropped on Hiroshima, Nagasaki and other Japanese cities warned residents that the city would be destroyed in a matter of days by powerful American bombs and urged them to save themselves by leaving quickly.
My Facebook posting on the Hiroshima leaflet can be found here.
The posting received 80,000 hits in less than four days, an unprecedented response. But that number was not the most surprising thing about the reaction to the story of the Hiroshima leafleting.
What shocked me was the level of outrage, derision and sheer disbelief the story generated. Some people insisted the story was a lie, that it was war propaganda and never happened. In reply, I could only urge the critics to go to Hiroshima, visit the war memorial museum, and see the leaflet for themselves. You see, that’s where I myself first saw it and photographed it.
But mostly, people reading the Facebook posting were outraged that I believe the leaflet matters. The historic act of dropping the atomic bomb made America a racist mass murderer and the leaflet was meaningless. Many people were further incensed that I had added the following comment to the Memorial Day posting: “I am still waiting to see the leaflet Japan dropped on Pearl Harbor.”
What surprised me the most was the undiluted outrage: How dare you suggest that Americans should not feel guilty about dropping the first atomic bomb and killing over 100,000 Japanese civilians! We Americans ARE guilty! We are a racist, bigoted people!
How did it happen that an entire generation of Americans sees only guilt over the “transparent racism” in President Truman’s wartime decision to drop the atomic bomb instead of invading the Japanese homeland at the cost of 2,000,000 Japanese lives and 500,000 American lives? That level of human carnage was the alternative to using the Atomic bomb to bring a swift end to the war.
Without doubt, the wide acceptance of “American guilt” for using the atomic bomb has its origins in the education our youth are receiving in the history and civics classes of our public schools. Not only have we ceased teaching a patriotic appreciation of American history, institutions and achievements, many of our schools — public and private — now teach the opposite — the burden of guilt for bringing oppression and exploitation to the North American continent.
You only have to look at what is happening in California to see the shape of things to come. The Governor has signed new legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Luis Alejo creating the first statewide mandate to teach “ethnic studies” in public schools. The standards for the new curriculum make clear that in teaching about the contributions of minorities, schools will also teach about the travails and obstacles to minority advancement imposed by the dominant culture– our nation’s alleged history of racism, discrimination and exploitation.
White guilt for minority oppression will be the unifying theme of the new ethnic studies” curriculum, which is already in place in a dozen California school districts from San Francisco to Los Angeles, Sacramento to Salinas.
Is California the wave of the future, or is it Texas?
California’s plan for expanded “ethnic studies” courses is in stark contrast to Arizona and Texas, where legislators banned the teaching of “ethnic solidarity” in public schools. In 2010 Arizona passed a law to ban such programs after the Tucson Unified School District disobeyed state education department directives and refused to abandon its divisive and inflammatory Mexican-American studies curriculum. Under state pressure, Tucson dropped its radical program in 2012. However, in 2015 Tucson reinstituted the ethnic studies curriculum, citing a federal racial desegregation order as the basis for the change.
In Texas, a very different story is unfolding. Responding to local school district support for courses in Mexican-American history, with the full backing of the Texas legislature the state education agency has approved a new textbook, Mexican American Heritage, that radical proponents of ethnic studies do not like. That’s because it presents a balanced history of Mexican-American history in the southwestern states instead of following the higher education model of “oppression studies.”
In Colorado last April, the state legislature rejected a bill, HB-1036, that would have set up a new 15-member state commission to make recommendations to the State Board of Education for new curriculum models in ethnic studies. That Governor-appointed commission would be stacked with ethnic studies activists and only two educators, and the state BOE would be required to adopt their curriculum standards recommendations. Democrats in the lower chamber voted for the bill unanimously, but it died in the Republican-controlled state Senate.
If you think this new, progressive “diversity curriculum” won’t show up in your local public school, think again. The teaching of white guilt for all of the shortcomings of human history and “capitalist exploitation” of minorities does not require a separate course labeled “ethnic studies.” In fact, it’s already present in most public schools in the College Board’s AP guidelines for teaching American History.
What is new is the acceleration of the pressures from leftist Latino activists to make such teachings mandatory across the state instead of leaving it to the decision of local school districts. Many local school districts have already adopted such courses, but California is the first state to make it a state mandate.