By Drew Zahn
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
Actress Marisa Tomei
Hollywood celebrities and education gurus have teamed together to distribute to schools across the country a dramatic new curriculum that casts American history as an epic march of victims seeking to shrug off the shackles of the warmongering, racist, capitalist, imperialist United States.
The History Channel’s airing of the “The People Speak” last night marks the public coming-out party of a movement that has been in place since last year to teach America’s school children a “social justice” brand of history that rails against war, oppression, capitalism and popular patriotism.
The television special featuring performances by Matt Damon, Benjamin Bratt, Marisa Tomei, Don Cheadle, Bruce Springsteen and others condemns the nation’s past of oppression by the wealthy, powerful and imperialist and instead trumpets the voices of America’s labor unions, minorities and protesters of various stripes.
The accompanying curriculum guide for schools that show “The People Speak” in classrooms, for example, highlights an 1852 reading from abolitionist Frederick Douglass:
What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy – a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.
The program and discussion guide is the most ambitious resource among many offered to America’s schools by the Zinn Education Project, a collaboration of Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change, as part of a push to encourage history instruction based on educator Howard Zinn’s 1980 tome exposing the abuses of America’s past, “A People’s History of the United States.”
The project states its goal is to “introduce students to a more accurate, complex and engaging understanding of United States history than is found in traditional textbooks and curricula. … Zinn’s ‘A People’s History of the United States’ emphasizes the role of working people, women, people of color and organized social movements in shaping history. Students learn that history is made not by a few heroic individuals, but instead by people’s choices and actions, thereby also learning that their own choices and actions matter.”
The History Channel, furthermore, touts “The People Speak” as a program that “gives voice to those who spoke up for social change throughout U.S. history, forging a nation from the bottom up with their insistence on equality and justice. … ‘The People Speak’ illustrates the relevance of these passionate historical moments to our society today and reminds us never to take liberty for granted.”
The celebrities featured in “The People Speak” claim the stories of bold protesters and oppressed minorities and workers are “inspiring,” while Zinn himself has stated that casting history as a people’s movement toward change offers hope.
Critics of the Zinn Project, however, warn that the curriculum is more about pushing Zinn’s admitted pacifist and socialist agenda on the next generation.
Michelle Malkin blasts “The People Speak” as an effort to promote “Marxist academic Howard Zinn’s capitalism-bashing, America-dissing, grievance-mongering history textbook, ‘A People’s History of the United States.’ … Zinn’s work is a self-proclaimed ‘biased account’ of American history that rails against white oppressors, the free market and the military.” Continue reading . . .