National Archives warns of ‘harmful language’ in America’s founding documents

In a scathing op-ed Thursday, The Federalist’s Justin Haskins said new “trigger warnings” added to documents including the U.S. Constitution on the National Archives’ website show the Biden administration’s dedication to undermining “our country’s founders” and rewriting American history.

The National Archives has added what it calls a “Harmful Language Alert” to documents including the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence that warn readers that “some of the materials presented…may reflect outdated, biased, offensive, and possibly violent views and opinions.”

The National Archives says the documents may also depict “violent or graphic events” but said they’ve been preserved anyway due to their “historical significance.”

The agency also said the materials may “reflect racist, sexist, ableist, misogynistic/misogynoir, and xenophobic opinions and attitudes,” be “discriminatory” toward certain groups, include “graphic content,” or “demonstrate bias and exclusion,” among other things.

Warning labels on history

As if these warnings weren’t bad enough, this is far from the only change the National Archives is making to its records of U.S. history.

According to Haskins, “the warning label emerged from the National Archives’ radical Task Force on Racism, which has developed dozens of other plans meant to give the impression that America’s history is full of racism, hatred, and violence, rather than highlight the nation’s incredible achievements.”

The Federalist writer reported Thursday:

[A report from the task force] stated other examples of structural racism at the Archives are “legacy descriptions that use racial slurs and harmful language to describe BIPOC [Black, indigenous, people of color] communities.”

According to the task force, the Archives must revise these descriptions as part of a long-term program to transform its exhibits, archival information and descriptions, and policies.

Those “descriptions,” according to Haskins, include what he described as “harmless or historically accurate ‘slurs,'” like “crippled,” “elderly,” and “handicapped.”

“Demonizing our nation”

Of course, while the original documents won’t be altered, the moves are still raising eyebrows among Americans who are concerned about the Biden administration “undermining American ideals.” Haskins is among them.

“[I]f America’s founding, Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence become nothing more than additional examples of ‘structural racism’ and ‘white supremacy culture,’ then why should we protect them today? Why should we care about the ‘rights’ they allegedly aim to protect?” he wrote Thursday.

“This, not racial justice, seems to be the real reason for the Biden administration’s efforts,” Haskins added for The Federalist. “We can and should honor the legacies of [B]lack Americans, women, and all other groups of Americans, as well as recognize that in the past, some groups were horribly abused and mistreated — often by government,” he said.

“But rather than see the civil rights advancements of the last two centuries as an extension of the principles of the founding era, the Biden administration, including the National Archives, is obsessed with demonizing our nation,” Haskins charged. What a shame.

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