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McGraw-Hill Issues Public Apology for Referring to ‘Slaves’ as ‘Workers’ in Textbook

6 OCT 2015
Career Path : Education News
Open Books

When a Texas mother spoke out against a particular caption featured in a McGraw-Hill Geography textbook regarding slavery, her concerns went viral—flooding Facebook and Twitter news feeds across North America. What was the offensive caption that received so much attention and caused such controversy?

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The caption—found in the “Patterns of Immigration” section of McGraw-Hill’s “World Georgraphy” textbook—reads: “The Atlantic Slave Trade between the 1500s and 1800s brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations.” It was brought to the attention of Texas mother Roni Dean-Burren—a doctoral candidate at the University of Houston—by her 15-year-old son Cody Burren who noticed the caption, which read “workers” where it should have read “slaves.”

Dean-Burren expressed her disbelief and disappointment of the caption, stating: “There is no mention of Africans working as slaves or being slaves.” “It just says we were ‘workers.’”

As a result, publisher McGraw-Hill took to Facebook to issue a public apology, saying that the textbook does in fact need to be edited.

“We believe we can do better. To communicate these facts more clearly, we will update this caption to describe the arrival of African slaves in the U.S. as a forced migration and emphasize that their work was done as slave labor.”

See the full apology on McGraw-Hill’s Facebook page.

 

Source: Salon