A Historian Weeps

So the American Library Association has decided Laura Ingalls Wilder is a racist piece of shit and removed her name from their award for children’s literature. Oh, there is no evidence to prove their claim, as is usually the case when the Social Justice Zealots are on the rampage. Evidence? They don’t need no stinking evidence!

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Laura Ingalls Wilder

They point to Wilder’s Little House series of books, written for children that recount her early life on the plains back in the 19th Century. It is a work of non-fiction. It tells of how life was back then directly from a person who actually lived in the time period. It uses the words that were used at the time as well as accurately portrays how people acted back then.

But the ALA, and its division that carried out this lynching (let’s call this for what it really is, shall we?), had this to say about why they changed the name of the award from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award:

“Her works reflect dated cultural attitudes toward Indigenous people and people of color that contradict modern acceptance, celebration, and understanding of diverse communities.”

Actually, no. Her works ACCURATELY reflect the attitudes her contemporaries had of indigenous people, as well as the times she lived in and was writing about, said attitudes based directly on interaction with said indigenous people.

And there’s the problem with assigning 21st Century values on 19th Century people. The 21st Century world is nothing like the 19th Century’s was. Comparing the two and expecting them to meet today’s “acceptable” standards is like taking an orange and an apple and expecting the orange to taste like the apple. That won’t ever happen.

And by degrading Mrs. Wilder in this fashion we miss an opportunity to teach the children who read her works.

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Books burned by the social justice zealots of the 1930s on the campus of a Berlin University.

That is assuming they are allowed to read them before the SJZs start demanding they all be burned, at night, while they parade march around the bonfire as marching music plays loudly in the background. There was this one bunch that did that at a major university back in the 1930s, whatever became of them I wonder?

But back to present day. Wilder’s books are a historical treasure trove of American pioneer life in the 1800s. And while not every Indian was hostile, they weren’t all innocent angels either. Let’s get that historical fact noted right now.

Long before the first white man dropped anchor on the eastern shores, the American Indian tribes were doing a damn good job of raiding, invading and plundering each others’ territories. The Apaches and the Sioux were amongst the most feared but the other tribes got in their licks too. Oh yes, they were raping, murdering each other too. Or did you think the practice of scalping by the Indians only began when the Europeans arrived?

So let’s get the record straight here and now: Neither side comes away clean from our shared history. That means we should not try to bury any aspect of the historical truth.

The old adage is: Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The best way to fail to learn from history is to keep trying to erase the bits that some small fringe group dislikes.

In this case, it is an affiliate branch of the ALA that focuses on American Indian Librarians that linked up with a small group within the ALA that is going to impose their views on the world and the rest of us be damned.

Destroying History Is Denying The Future

We’ve seen the same thing with the recent assault on any statue or symbol associated with the Confederate States of America. Statues were vandalized, destroyed and eventually removed in the name of Social Justice. Never mind that studying these objects, discussing their history and the issues of the times they represent, would be the best way to learn the historical lessons needed to actually progress this country in a positive way.

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ISIS’ social justice warriors have destroyed thousands of years of historical artifacts in the Middle East.

No, “muh feelz”, they exclaim and destroy our history. There’s another group that destroyed historical artifacts and records recently. And all in the name of what is “right”, according to them of course. I think they were over in the Middle East. Whatever became of them, I wonder?

So let’s recap here. The SJZs have sought to erase the true historical accounts of 1800s America by erasing a writer’s legacy – and let’s call this what it truly is – by banning any recognition of her works (an outright ban is coming soon, just watch) and by destroying historical artifacts. Just like the Nazi’s in 1930s Germany and ISIS in the modern-day Middle East.

Do you still wonder why I stand against the SJZs?

They are not warriors. They are not heroes. They are anarchists. They are for everything our Democratic Republic was founded upon to stand against. I’ll even go one step further:

They are monsters.

This Is What They Honor

Look at the people the SJZs fawn over and fete. These same people who would censor and destroy any who disagree with them have recently honored a writer who openly advocates for pedophilia with a literary award (2018 Locus Award for Best Novelette); celebrated that same writer as a grandmaster of his field (2013 Science Fiction Writers Association); refuse to condemn the pedophilia and child abuse of two writers (Walter Breen and Marion Zimmer Bradley); and continue to celebrate and excuse convicted child rapist Roman Polanski.

That is just in the literary and entertainment arenas and those were just the more notorious cases. There are many more in other fields that are just as, if not even more, dangerous to society.

By all means, let’s not address the clear and very much present dangers. Let’s focus on smearing the names and legacies of those long dead who cannot defend themselves.

I consider myself an amateur historian, a true student of history, who knows that to fully understand the past one is required to leave the present-day prejudices behind. I also appreciate the lessons history has to teach to those who truly open their minds.

I weep that we have allowed a small group of terrorists to flourish and destroy our history. They are denying future generations access to those lessons and possibly dooming them to have to learn them all over again.

The hard way.

 

 

 

9 Comments

  1. There were very good reasons for Ma Ingalls to be afraid of the Indians – especially as a woman, with daughters.. Heck, even a foreigner like me understood that. In Little House On the Prairie they had a very good chance of being massacred, all of them, if that war talk had a different decision.

    The Social Justice Zealots refuse to see that they are the book burners, the pushers for a new Kristalnacht, the real fascists.

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  2. I actually sent a tweet to the organization in question asking if we propose censorship today, is book burning far behind. I got an answer:

    “Nope, that’s not what is happening. Her books will still be readily available at bookstores and libraries. The name of an award has changed. That’s literally all.”

    I “tweeted” her back saying I was still disturbed by the trend to judge authors and other famous folks outside of their historical context, mentioning that both Ray Bradbury and Albert Einstein have recently been accused of being “racist” as young men (I wrote about the alligations against Bradbury on my blog).

    When I was in 5th or 6th grade, my teacher read all of Wilder’s books to us over the course of the school year, and I have very fond memories about them. While it’s only the name of an award today, how soon before Bradbury’s famous “Fahrenheit 451” becomes a reality alongside Orwell’s “1984?”

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    1. I had a very good teacher when I was attending school (5th grade) in the US. We were reading Farmer Boy, and we were all so intrigued by the apples n’ onions, the teacher arranged for us to have an activity on cooking it. One of the students volunteered that her mother had the cookbook, and another student brought in watermelon rind preserves, shipped all the way from the East Coast by a relative who lived near an Amish community. Thanks to her, we really enjoyed the book (I also borrowed the other books they had in the school library.)

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      1. *grin* The knowledge of apples n’ onions came in useful decades later. I’d prepared it once or twice for my husband, as a side for pork sausages. While they were out field (he’s military) on exercises, they had a surplus of apples, onions and pork sausage, and he cheerfully took charge of ‘using them up.’ I was smugly informed the next time he was able to get in touch with me in a stopover where they had cellphone signal that ‘everyone had seconds, and most had thirds.’

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