Fact Check

Disturbing: LOOK What We Found in This Liberal Textbook

Rumor: Image shows a children's textbook with a passage stating that only white people can be racist and only men can be sexist.

Published Mar 4, 2015


Claim:   Image shows a children's textbook with a passage stating that only white people can be racist and only men can be sexist.


Example:   [Collected via Internet, March 2015]

School textbook suggests that only white people can be racist.


This school textbook is proof that parents need to pay close attention to what their kids are learning brainwashed with in school:


Origins:   On 2 March 2015, several blogs published the above-displayed image and claimed that the pictured passage was discovered in children's textbook. One iteration of the claim was titled "Disturbing: LOOK What We Found in This Liberal Textbook" and appended with the message shown above, framing the image as political indoctrination aimed at young schoolchildren.

However, the photograph was neither taken by the bloggers posted it, nor was it discovered in March 2015. At that time the image was more than a year old,

having been posted on or around 17 February 2014 by a Tumblr user

who identified herself as an adult and described the passage as something found in "my education book."

The image that circulated in March 2015 was clearly lifted from this Tumblr user's February 2014 blog post (without source or attribution), as the highlighting in later-circulated versions was identical to the original. One iteration claimed that the photograph was taken from a textbook titled Is Everyone Equal, but the correct full title of the source book was Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education.

The source book is a textbook, but it is clearly one used for the adult study of issues related to class, race, and social justice and is not a third-grade social studies textbook. An overview of the work describes the book as pertaining to "social justice education:"

This practical handbook will introduce readers to social justice education, providing tools for developing "critical social justice literacy" and for taking action towards a more just society. Accessible to students from high school through graduate school, this book offers a collection of detailed and engaging explanations of key concepts in social justice education, including critical thinking, socialization, group identity, prejudice, discrimination, oppression, power, privilege, and White supremacy. Based on extensive experience in a range of settings in the United States and Canada, the authors address the most common stumbling blocks to understanding social justice. They provide recognizable examples, scenarios, and vignettes illustrating these concepts. This unique resource has many user-friendly features, including "definition boxes" for key terms, "stop boxes" to remind readers of previously explained ideas, "perspective check boxes" to draw attention to alternative standpoints, a glossary, and a chapter responding to the most common rebuttals encountered when leading discussions on concepts in critical social justice. There are discussion questions and extension activities at the end of each chapter, and an appendix designed to lend pedagogical support to those newer to teaching social justice education.

So although the photograph was real, the context was fabricated: The excerpted passage was not discovered in a "liberal textbook" used to "indoctrinate" young children; it was taken from a textbook is aimed at college students who'd chosen to study concepts of race, class, and gender equality.

Last updated:   4 March 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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