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The National Archives Task Force on Racism claimed in a neglected report to the top US librarian that the Archives’ own rotunda – which houses the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the Bill of Rights – is an example of “structural racism “Is” and that the Founding Fathers and other white, historically influential Americans are portrayed too positively.
The report was finalized in April and released this month, but has so far flown under the media radar. The task force claims that structural racism “clearly affects” how staff in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) interact with one another, with customers, and the historical records themselves.
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Some examples of “structural racism” were given in the executive summary of the report, including “old descriptions using racist slurs and harmful language to describe BIPOC communities” alongside terms such as “elderly”, “disabled” and “illegal alien” . “
In addition, the report categorizes the national archives rotunda as another example of “structural racism” as it “praises rich white men in creating the nation while marginalizing BIPOC”. [Black, Indigenous and other People of Color], Women and other communities. “
The task force suggests ways to “rethink the rotunda”, including staging “dance or performance art in a space that invites dialogue about the way the United States mythologized the early days”.
The report also called for “trigger warnings” to be placed with historical content to “warn audiences about content that can cause intense physiological and psychological symptoms”.
“Providing a notice to users gives us the ability to mitigate damage and contextualize the records,” the report said. “It creates a space to share with the public our final goals for a reparative description, to demonstrate our commitment to the process, and to remove any obstacles we might encounter in achieving those goals (i.e. size and scope of the catalog and the constant evolving knowledge we gain about what is harmful). “
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The task force report also calls for a language change on OurDocuments.gov – a website dedicated to American “milestone documents” like the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence – to less celebrate historically influential Americans like former President Thomas Jefferson.
“OurDocuments.gov provides transcripts and historical context of ‘100 Milestone Documents in American History,’ but often uses laudatory and exaggerated language to document the historical contributions of white, wealthy men,” the report reads before targeting Jefferson .
“For example, a search for Thomas Jefferson in OurDocuments.gov returns 24 results. He is described in this sample curriculum as a ‘visionary’ who took ‘firm action’ to strengthen the ‘will of the nation to expand westward’. “The report goes on.
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“The plan does not mention that its westward expansion policy forced Native Americans off their ancestral lands, encouraged continued colonial violence, and laid the groundwork for other atrocities like the Trail of Tears,” he added.
In addition, the report calls for “the creation of safe spaces in every NARA facility” and says that NARA “has a responsibility to remove racist language in archive descriptions and to revise the policies and practices that have led to it”.
The task force said that “racist language” “includes not only expressly harmful terms such as racial slurs, but also information that implies and reinforces harmful stereotypes of BIPOC people and communities while enhancing and protecting white people,” it said the report. “Descriptive terminology cannot be separated from its context.”
Cassie Smedile, executive director of conservative group America Rising, said the report was “the latest attempt by the radical left to sow division and rewrite our history.”
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“With the Democrats in control of every lever in our government, these efforts have only become more blatant and ubiquitous. No institution, agency, or classroom is off-limits, “Smedile told Fox News in an email. “The American people deserve to be made aware of the plans of the radical left, and we will continue to expose them.”
National archivist David Ferriero commissioned the task force in response to the death of George Floyd last year, the report said. Ferriero has been in office since 2009 after being nominated by former President Obama and ratified by the Senate. The position has an unlimited term of office.
NARA did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Houston Keene is a reporter for Fox News Digital. You can find him on Twitter at @HoustonKeene