A group of educators in Texas are suggesting that the state’s Board of Education call slavery “involuntary relocation” in student curriculum, according to the Texas Tribune:

Aicha Davis, a Democrat representing Dallas and Fort Worth, said she is strongly opposed to such a change of terminology because it isn’t a “fair representation” of the brutality associated with slavery, noting during a June 15 meeting of the board:

“I can’t say what their intention was, but that’s not going to be acceptable.”

Stephanie Alvarez, a professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and member of the working group, echoed Davis’ remarks, calling such a change “extremely disturbing.”

But perhaps the most disturbing thing about such a change is that it assumes students aren’t able to deal with a topic such as slavery, even though it was a part of American life for nearly a hundred years after the U.S. declared its independence from Great Britain, according to Harvard University professor of history Annette Gordon-Reed:

“Young kids can grasp the concept of slavery and being kidnapped into it. The African slave trade is unlike anything that had or has happened, the numbers and distance. Tell children the truth. They can handle it.”

All of this suggested change is part of a larger political movement taking place in Texas and other Republican-controlled states: To remove language about slavery because it might make white students uncomfortable or “feel bad.” In other words, students should only be taught the “good” history of the United States, even though as a country we have engaged in racism, genocide against Native Americans, and the systematic oppression of women.

But to lie is to risk that future generations won’t learn from our mistakes. Shouldn’t we trust our children instead of trying to shield them from the truth?

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