10,000 signatures reached
To: The College Board
End the College Board's Whitewashing of US History
Bring back the direct tone regarding racism utilized in the 2014 course standards and expand the content of the course to cover modern-day examples of Black and BIPOC oppression through government policies like the war on drugs and mass incarceration.
Why is this important?
In 2014, the College Board shifted from a five-page course outline for APUSH to an extensive outline containing over a hundred pages that went far more in-depth regarding the standards that the course should cover. The new coverage received heavy backlash from conservatives across the country, calling it “unpatriotic” and “biased”, despite being factual. Unfortunately, the College Board caved after only a single year with the new standards and lightened the document’s tone regarding slavery and racism, releasing a newly revised document that is still in use today. Examples of changes made include the removal of references to the European and colonial beliefs in white supremacy in Period 1, as well as the removal of lines referring to “anti-black sentiments” when describing the Antebellum era.
In light of the recent spike in anti-Black violence, the College Board ought to not only bring back the original tone utilized by the 2014 version of the outline when discussing racism but also expand the required course content to cover the modern-day ramifications and continuations of racist and anti-Black sentiment. Nowhere in the document are policies like redlining, the war on drugs, and mass incarceration mentioned, despite their huge role in oppressing BIPOC people.
On a broader level, most mentions of modern injustice to marginalized groups are covered only as a subsection of the civil rights movement - we’re only learning about the injustices as a subset of the calls for justice, rather than learning about the injustices themselves. For instance, the lesbian and gay communities are only brought up once in the entire text, and that’s when broadly referring to the various civil rights movements - not a single other LGBTQ+ group is mentioned throughout the text.
Furthermore, the language utilized by the AP curriculum ought to shift as well - for example, "slave" should be replaced by "enslaved person", as the former reduces the people who were enslaved to nothing more than their status, while the latter emphasizes their humanity and the fact that those enslaved were still people. The words used to refer to the Indigenous peoples of America are controversial, and there’s little agreement on what word to use - however, referring to groups of Indigenous peoples by their nations is almost universally agreed upon, yet not a SINGLE Indigenous tribe/nation is mentioned by name. One of the greatest examples of eurocentrism comes from this quote: “French, Dutch, British, and Spanish colonies allied with and armed American Indian groups”. Each of the European nations are all specified by name, but not a single one of the Indigenous nations were.
There’s also a significant lack of coverage regarding post-WWII immigration - for instance, deportation never once shows up throughout the text, despite being arguably one of the most significant policies affecting Hispanic workers and undocumented immigrants to this day. The course content more or less completely ignores the barriers that immigrants (especially Hispanic and Southeast Asian) faced.
As the organization responsible for the education of millions of history students, it is vital that the College Board acknowledges its role in shaping our nation’s future. A strong understanding of history requires a complete understanding of history - one that includes and embraces the analysis and comprehension of centuries of government policy dedicated to subjugating Black, BIPOC, and marginalized communities.
News Coverage: https://www.newsweek.com/newly-revised-ap-us-history-standards-take-softer-tone-racial-history-america-358537
2014 Course Standards: https://time.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/ap-us-history-course-and-exam-description.pdf
Current Course Standards: https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/digitalServices/pdf/ap/ap-us-history-course-and-exam-description.pdf