Letters to the Editor — Nov. 29, 2023

Memory laws

Several states have banned academic freedom and historical facts from inclusion in school and college instruction. Censoring honest discussion about bigotry, race and racism is a central focus, such as the 1619 project by New York Times journalist Nicole Hannah-Jones.

“Uncomfortable feelings” become an excuse to alter history. What about the feelings of children whose ancestors suffered the horrors of slavery?

Concealing facts teaches kids it’s clever and beneficial to be liars.

For adolescents, learning explicit details about human enslavement doesn’t undermine patriotism; rather, allows comprehension, ability to learn from mistakes and growth into responsible adults.

Revisionism. Disinformation. Post-truth. Memory laws. Whatever called, tampering with the acquisition of knowledge causes people to be untrusting, at the mercy of maleficent unscrupulous people, like white nationalists, and leads to horrific attacks on innocent people.

Nationalists presume white settlers’ experiences during the westward expansion — manifest destiny — were exclusively significant. One result was missionary and government abduction of Indigenous children, isolating them in harmful Indian boarding schools to erase Native cultural identities.

The Hitler Nazi regime’s drive to conquer the expanse of eastern Europe and Russia was influenced by manifest destiny – the conviction that ethnic and racial minorities, who inhabited lands for eons, were subhuman, thus, mercilessly enslaved or executed. U.S. slavery influenced Hitler’s objective of the “final solution.”

The erasure of knowledge from memory ultimately benefits those who commit abhorrent, self-serving acts against individuals or groups of people. It’s important to recognize this elemental truth … for the sake of our children.

Gayle Brauner

Port Angeles