Glenn Beck had right-wing pseudo-historian and Ted Cruz super PAC operative David Barton on his television program last night to honor Black History Month by uncovering the “real” history of race relations in America. Barton’s coverage of this issue was, as always, laughably one-sided and misleading, as he spent a good deal of the opening segment relating tales of white slave owners who supposedly had such friendly relationships with their slaves that they didn’t even consider them to be slaves, but rather members of the family.
The slaves, of course, were quite aware that they were slaves but “the whites just thought they were one of the family,” as Barton put it, apparently believing that that somehow proves that race relations were not nearly as bad during the founding era as is commonly believed.
Nothing better exemplifies Barton’s warped historical view than the fact that he credits white members of Congress and white voters for passing the 13th and 14th Amendments which ended slavery and granted citizenship to former slaves, respectively.
“I love the fact that in these early paintings you have, it’s black and white together,” Barton declared. “We didn’t have what we have today where we have to break you into groups somehow. Yeah, there was bad and ugly down in the South, but my gosh, why not teach the good?”
Barton then picked up a diary owned by a former slave named Richard Allen who he paraphrased as having declared that “so much of the credit that blacks owed was for whites having gone to bat and doing things for them.”
“Blacks were not able to free themselves, whites did,” Barton stated. “When you get the 13th Amendment, you know, it was nothing but two-thirds of the House, whites in the House were the only ones voting, two-thirds of the whites in the house, two-thirds of the whites in the Senate and three-fourths of the whites in the states that ratified the 13th Amendment to end slavery. And then you have the 14th Amendment, it was nothing but two-thirds of the whites in the House, two-thirds of the whites in the Senate, three-fourths of the whites [in the states.] And so the notion that it’s black against white is not borne out by history, but we have made it that way in the way we portray history.”
Of course, “blacks were not able to free themselves” because many were slaves who had no rights. Crediting whites for eventually ending that system while pretending that whites and blacks had a congenial and equitable relationship all along is utterly absurd.