The Right Coast

May 07, 2005
Remember the Alamo: It was all about slavery
By Tom Smith

Well, this is annoying. The kid's channel Nickelodeon is running this little "educational" spot about the Battle of the Alamo. You know, the one where a few hundred Texans fought Santa Ana's army, and ended up dying to the last man. I get the feeling it means something to Texans. Personally, I enjoyed the movie.

Well, now I know different! According to the cartoon channel Nickelodeon, in fact, it was all about Texans fighting to preserve slavery, against those "Mexican authorities" who wanted to end it! The Mexicans were liberators, not conquerors. Not the "shrine of Texas liberty" as the Alamo website says, but just the holdout of a bunch of slavers fighting off Mexican liberators! What a relief Nickelodeon is there to put all those little Texans straight.

There must be some Texans who read this blog, or people who read this blog who know Texans. I would link to the little spot if I could, but I can't find any links to it. Tivo Nickelodeon for a few hours on a Saturday morning, or maybe weekday too, and it will show up. Nickelodeon really deserves to get some grief for this one. There are some pretty influential Texans around, I believe.

I'm sure slavery was part of the story. But so was not wanting to be under the thumb of a none too benign Mexican regime, I would be willing to bet. I'd say the last 150 years or so has borne out the judgment of those who figured they'd rather have their kids grow up in the USA.

On a slightly related subject, California is no better. At the Catholic Academy where we send our kids to school, they use what I believe is the standard curriculum used in the public schools for California history. I asked my son what he had learned about the missions of California and he replied without hesitating that "they were concentration camps for Indians." This is not what Catholic schools should be teaching kids about the missions of California. I'm sure it was not all sweetness and light; but it certainly wasn't genocide either. We have a hall and a statue named after Father Serra here at USD. I think we here at USD take some pride in the Spanish Mission heritage of this region. We're across the street, or freeway more precisely, from the Alcala mission, which makes a pretty darn picturesque view. Every building on campus is built in the Spanish Mission style. I really don't want my kids to look at them and think, oh, there's the concentration camp. I'm sure whatever the California state authorities have come up with doesn't say precisely that. But kids are geniuses at cutting to the essential message. They know what they are being taught. The Alamo: Texans fighting for slavery. California Missions: concentration camps.