Critical thinking is developed by learning from a variety of perspectives, and history is no different. Students should have access to all the facts: the good, the bad, and the ugly. However, assigning current day fault, blame, or culpability for actions of past generations does not heal wounds, resolve conflicts or move our state or nation forward in a spirit of unity. Rather, it divides along the same old racist boundaries and as Lincoln said, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
The promotion of concepts that hold our seven, eight, and nine year old children responsible for the crimes of past generations goes against everything our nation stands for. It is an unconscionable perversion of justice that any child should be held personally responsible for the sins of their father, or a group of individuals in the past. We are a nation founded on individual value, individual responsibility, individual accountability and individual accomplishment and failure.
HB 327 protects children’s right to learn American History in an objective and historically accurate manner without taxpayer dollars being used to promote an ideology of racism and group guilt. It protects state and local government employees from being subjected to an ideological “purity test” to receive or maintain employment. It strives to ensure that every Ohioan is treated equally under the law and that every individual enjoys the rights and privileges of a non-discriminatory, objective representation of educational and historical facts, taught more than once a year during a given history week or in honor of a holiday.
In the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “I still have a dream, a dream deeply rooted in the American dream – one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed, ‘We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal.’”
It is time to affirm the contributions of all Americans to our great nation and live up to the refinement of the founding concepts of freedom: equality of all, just and equal treatment under the law, and the opportunity to follow your dreams.
State Representative Sarah Fowler Arthur represents Ohio’s 99th District.