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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Signs ‘1836 Project’ Bill Promoting Texas History. Critics Fear it Will Whitewash Slavery...Because Duh


Illustration for article titled Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Signs ‘1836 Project’ Bill Promoting Texas History. Critics Fear it Will Whitewash Slavery...Because Duh
Photo: Montinique Monroe (Getty Images)

Do y’all remember when the guy who used to leave orange spray-tan booty juice all over the Oval Office furniture established “The 1776 Commission” to counter Nikole Hannah-Jones’ Pulitzer Prize-winning work The 1619 Project? Well, President Joe Biden shut that racist ass shit down pretty much as soon as he got in office, but now it appears that the state of Texas is hopping aboard the passive-aggressive displays of white fragility train as Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a bill to create the “1836 Project ‘’—a whole ass advisory committee created for the sole purpose of promoting Texas history in a way that will make white Texans feel all warm and fuzzy.

The Texas Tribune reports that House Bill 2497 mostly revolves around the promotion of what’s known as the Texas Revolution—a battle fought from 1835 to 1836 that ended in Texas winning its independence from Mexico. I mean, some people characterize it as Texas winning its independence; it could also easily be characterized as white people deciding land that wasn’t theirs actually is theirs because they had already settled there and there weren’t even that many Mexicans using it anyway—but I wouldn’t count on the “1836 Project” to teach it that way.

From the Tribune:

“To keep Texas the best state in the United States of America, we must never forget why Texas became so exceptional in the first place,” Abbott said in a video on Twitter before passing the law.

Under HB 2497, the 1836 Project is essentially just the name of an advisory committee designed to promote the state’s history to Texas residents, largely through pamphlets given to people receiving driver’s licenses. It will also award students on their knowledge of the state’s history and values.

 First, I just gotta ask: What is it with white conservatives and their incessant need to declare the places where they live to be “the best” of all places? America can’t just be a good country, it has to be the best country God gave to the world. Texas can’t just be a state with great barbeque and Mexican food, it has to be “the best state in the United States of America.” Is this like Lil Wayne claiming to be the “best rapper alive,” or DJ Khaled and his favorite words of affirmation, “We the best”? I’m just saying, last time I checked, Wayne didn’t build an independent power grid that collapsed in the winter and left millions of people without electricity during freezing weather. (Texas literally did the opposite of “The Block is Hot.”)

Also, can we just talk about how weird it is to establish a committee to promote state history through the handing out of pamphlets like white nationalist versions of Jehovah Witnesses here to spread the good word of historical whitewashing?

Of course, the bill has its critics, and for damn good reason.

More from the Tribune:

But critics are concerned the new project is a part of Republicans’ nationwide push to limit the discussion of critical race theory in schools. House Bill 3979, now awaiting Abbott’s approval, will limit how Texas educators can discuss current events and racism in the U.S. The 1836 Project also requires the promotion of “the Christian heritage of this state.” Another piece of legislation awaiting Abbott’s signature, Senate Bill 797, requires Texas schools to display the term “In God We Trust” across campus buildings if such signage is donated to them.

For those at home who aren’t keeping track of things: Critical Race Theory is anti-white indoctrination, but making it rain Christianity all over school campus buildings is just wholesome content.

Then, of course, there’s the whole slavery thing—or what Republicans call, “What slavery?”

“1836 marked independence for some, but for others marks a period of slavery and pain and expectoration for many, many people who live there,” Maggie Stern, “a youth civic education and engagement coordinator at the Children’s Defense Fund in Texas,” told the Tribune.

Hannah-Jones also weighed in Tuesday with a full Twitter thread blasting the law.

According to History.com, after Texas gained independence from Mexico, “Texans also adopted a constitution that protected the free practice of slavery, which had been prohibited by Mexican law.”

Yeah, I’m not holding my breath in hopes that that little tidbit will make it onto the Jehovah whiteness pamphlets. 

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