Stephanie Hayes

Maybe you’ve heard the term “critical race theory” at 25-cent wing night. No? Well, you didn’t come here to read a lot of words, just like students don’t go to school to learn icky stuff. So, in a nutshell:

Lawmakers in 15 states want to ban teachings that imply the United States is racist, or make white people feel bad. In Florida, for example, the State Board of Education voted to keep certain lessons about racism and potty-mouth no-nos out of public schools.

“Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in March.

Woof, putting this into practice is going to be a challenge. There’s a lot to feel bad about in U.S. history, starting with “Nookie” by Limp Bizkit. If we’re heading in a patriotic, feel-good direction, textbooks will need a rewrite.

Let’s start with the McGraw Hill AP U.S. History 2020 study guide. Here are some suggested edits to get the ball rolling uphill.

While supporters of independence were in the ascendancy and controlled the state governments, not all Americans wanted to renounce their allegiance to the mother country.

EDIT: Actually, everyone was super into it. There is no such thing as a “mother country,” more like a “cool aunt.” Old Navy stores experienced a run on flag tank tops in 1776, because everyone was so supportive.

Native Americans saw nothing for themselves in the Declaration of Independence or a free United States. While some Native Americans fought with the Americans, most supported the British because they feared the land hunger of the new nation.

EDIT: Native Americans actually invited all the Founding Fathers to a party, and while it was awkward at first, everyone relaxed when they started a dialogue and said, “You know, I’m just not a political person.”

The triumphant Democratic-Republicans led a unified country in which they faced no significant political opposition. James Monroe was easily elected president in 1816 and served for two terms. The period from 1816 to 1823 became known as the Era of Good Feelings.


The most famous group of African-Americans to leave the South for the West were the Exodusters. These people modeled their journey on the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land. Unfortunately, the West did not prove to be a land of milk and honey for most of the Exodusters; fewer than 20% were able to establish themselves as farmers.

EDIT: Upon further review, 20% is an estimate, and when you compensate for inflation and, um, margin of error, you will find that African-Americans had a very fun time out West in the 1920s, due to the country not being racist.

The struggle against Nazi anti-Semitism during World War II stimulated African-American resistance to racism at home.

EDIT: The struggle against Nazi anti-Semitism during World War II, which was a German thing, stimulated an awareness of a FEW BAD ACTORS at home, and that all got handled so we’re aces now.

In the early 1950s, the schools for whites and African-Americans were separate but hardly equal. White schools often received 80% to 85% of the educational funding in Southern school districts.

EDIT: Uh. Um. Look, that cloud is shaped like a cat!

Teenagers of the 1950s have been called the “silent generation” because they were generally more interested in school and socializing than politics. Parents and school officials discouraged rebellious behavior. Education films shown in schools emphasized self-control and respect for authority.

EDIT: This part is fine.

— Stephanie Hayes is a columnist at the Tampa Bay Times in Florida. Follow her on Twitter: @StephHayes and Instagram: @StephHayes. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.