Letter to the Editor:
A Glaring Omission, The
Times (Trenton, New Jersey), Wednesday, May 18, 1994, p. A19
I was surprised to see Gov. Christie Whitman and Speaker of the Assembly
Garabed Haytaian support a multiculuralist educational requirement.
Both Whitman and Haytaian are demanding that our schools teach about
the Holocaust, something I also think students should know about. But
as an American historian, I was stunned by their omission of the genocide
and oppression that has occurred in our own country.
Nowhere in the article I read in The Times, April 8, was the genocide
of American Indians or lynching of African Americans mentioned, even though
the report concludes with concern that the legislation does not adequately
address genocide in Russia, Ukraine, Cambodia, and the Balkan states.
As though that were all that was missing.
Are the governor and speaker trying to drive the wedge between African
Americans and European ethnics deeper by addressing only the genocide
that occurs elsewhere?
Surely political savy – if not compassion for New Jerseyans whose
people have been the victims of atrocities in their own country –
should encourage our political leaders to see more broadly. Otherwise
they reinforce the widespread impression that politicians care less for
loss of life when the lives in question are those of people of color.
Nell Irvin Painter
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