National Archives task force: Display of founding documents is ‘structurally racist’

Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, June 29, 2021

According to the National Archives Task Force on Racism, the Archives’ Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, where America’s founding documents are on display, is an example of “structural racism” because it provides a portrayal of the nation’s founders that is too positive.

In other words, the current caretakers of American history are saying the creators of the world’s greatest experiment in freedom and self-governance were too white and too male.

The founding documents of the United States in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. / National Archives

In a report, which was released in April but has mostly flown under the media radar, called for changes in the National Archives’ Rotunda because it “lauds wealthy white men in the nation’s founding while marginalizing BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and other People of Color], women, and other communities.”

The Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom displays the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence.

The task force suggests ways to “reimagine the Rotunda,” including staging “dance or performance art in the space that invites dialogue about the ways that the United States has mythologized the founding era.”

How it is possible to “mythologize” an actual historical document was not made clear, but it is clear that context has never been important to woke leftists.

The task force’s report also calls for a change to language on OurDocuments.gov — a website on American “milestone documents” such as the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. The task force believes the website should be less celebratory of historically impactful Americans, such as Thomas Jefferson.

“OurDocuments.gov features transcripts and historical context of ‘100 milestone documents of American history’ but often uses adulatory and excessive language to document the historical contributions of White, wealthy men,” the report reads before taking aim at Jefferson.

“For example, a search of Thomas Jefferson in OurDocuments.gov brings up 24 results. He is described in this sample lesson plan as a ‘visionary’ who took ‘vigorous action’ to strengthen the ‘will of the nation to expand westward,’ ” the report continues. “The plan does not mention that his policy of westward expansion forced Native Americans off their ancestral land, encouraged ongoing colonial violence, and laid the groundwork for further atrocities like the Trail of Tears.”

Additionally, the report calls for “the creation of safe spaces in every NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) facility” and says NARA has “a responsibility to eliminate racist language in archival descriptions and revise the policies and practices that led to it.”

The task force also called for “trigger warnings” to be put in place at the archives to “forewarn audiences of content that may cause intense physiological and psychological symptoms.”

“Providing an advisory notice to users gives us an opportunity to mitigate harm and contextualize the records,” the report reads. “It creates a space to share with the public our ultimate goals for reparative description, demonstrate our commitment to the process, and address any barriers that we may face in achieving these goals (i.e., the size and scope of the Catalog and the ever-evolving knowledge we gain regarding what is harmful).”

Hot Air’s Karen Townsend noted in a June 27 analysis: “Perhaps smelling salts should be available in kiosks. For decades, we’ve not read reports of visitors to the National Archives suffering physical or emotional damage from viewing historical documents and records, have we?”

What the National Archives Task Force on Racism is doing, Townsend wrote, “is an attempt of a national museum to advance the nationalization of teaching critical race theory.”

National Archivist David Ferriero commissioned the task force in response to George Floyd’s death last year, the report notes. Ferriero, an Obama appointee, has served in the position since 2009. The position has an indefinite term length.

What the task force’s report does, Towsned wrote, “is provide yet another opportunity for erasing American history in order to fit the narrative of revisionists.”


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