There are Credentials, and Then There are Credentials.

Today I went to the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office (Michigan’s version of the DMV) to find out what I needed to do to get a Chauffeur’s License, so I could drive the YMCA’s mini-bus. It turns out I have to take an open-“book” test on a tri-fold pamphlet. That’s all. But then I will be “credentialed.” No driving test, no nothin’, and I’ll be able to hold the lives of up to 13 children in my hands.

Sometimes credentials don’t mean nothin’.

But here’s a story via Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub* about a history textbook approved for 4th graders in Virginia that claims “thousands of African Americans formed battalions in the Confederate Army and fought to save the South, during the Civil War — entire battalions under Gen. Stonewall Jackson.” Yes, not only did those slaves love the noble cause of their own subjugation so much that they eagerly fought to defend it, but white southerners had no qualms at all about arming and training thousands of black men. Yeah, sure.

Who could have written such patently obvious nonsense? How about someone who’s not trained as a historian?

Sometimes credentials do mean something.

* Why can’t any of us here think of a great blog name like that?


About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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5 Responses to There are Credentials, and Then There are Credentials.

  1. Mark Boggs says:

    Come on, man…you gotta teach the controversy, don’t you?

  2. D.A. Ridgely says:

    Apparently, she’s not much of a naturalist, either, having claimed that brown bears live in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Only black bears live there, none of whose ancestors fought for the Confederacy.

  3. Pinky says:

    Maybe you should check out the credentials of those three elementary school teachers that wrote that book on the Africans who fought on the side of the Confederacy.


  4. James Hanley says:

    DAR–To be fair, some of those black bears look pretty brown. They might just be passing. And you know, they all look the same to me.


  5. Scott Hanley says:

    Here’s an article from HuffPo by a historian whom Glenn Beck lambasted for not knowing anything about “the largest terrorist attack on US soil prior to 9/11” – an act of German sabotage during WWI which has no particular significance to anything today, but somehow figures into Beckian conspiracy theories. People with no training in history can also be prone to drawing poor conclusions, even when they haven’t bungled the facts.

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