To the editor:

Minnesota schools average 175 days per year. Admittedly, that is not enough; 195 days would be much better. Whether we have 175 days or 195 days, 50 historical events created the United States, define the United States, and give the United States a purpose for existing.

Nine of those events involve race: 1. The end of slave trade in the U.S.; 2. The trail of tears; 3. The Civil War; 4. The Emancipation Proclamation; 5. Reconstruction; 6. The Civil Rights Act of 1875; 7. Brown v. Board of Education; 8. The Civil Rights Act of 1960; and 9. Human Rights.

These events should be taught just like the other 42 events. The Minnesota Department of Education proposed social studies curriculum includes 65 benchmarks. A total of 34 of them involve race. I realize the United States grew as the melting pot, and thus we are citizens in the most diverse nation on Earth. That has caused some problems and we have made some great strides forward. Students should be taught about our great successes — all eight of them. They should also be taught about our great failures — all seven of them.

However, making more than half our social studies benchmarks about race — and only dwelling on our failures and not mentioning our successes, seems to over emphasize the subject, and pit the races against each other. In the United States we are not Black; we are not Brown; we are not White; we are not Red; and we are not Yellow. We are Red, White, and Blue.

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Richard Thompson

Alexandria, MN