Two Hinduphobic Books Rejected – Hindu Americans Win Historic Victory in California Textbooks

Sacramento, CA (November 10, 2017) — After more than a decade of constructive civic engagement with the California Department of Education, the Hindu American community won a significant victory yesterday in its quest for an accurate, equitable, and culturally competent portrayal of Hinduism and India in California textbooks.

In its final public hearing, the Department’s State Board of Education (SBE) voted unanimously to reject two deeply problematic textbook programs from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Grades K-6 and Grades 6-8) for adversely reflecting on Hinduism and other diverse communities.

UPDATES

Review of Drafts Submitted for 2017 History Social Science Textbook Adoption

SOME GREAT MINDS ABOUT HINDUISM

In the great teaching of the Vedas, there is no touch of sectarianism. It is of all ages, climes and nationalities and is the royal road for the attainment of the Great Knowledge

Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau

The Indian teaching has a simple and grand religion… It teaches to speak truth, love others, and to dispose trifles.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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What has changed in the California textbooks?

The pictures showing cows eating trash in the section on ancient India are gone. One would wonder what a modern picture of cows eating trash has to do with ancient India and Hinduism! Conflating Indians with dirt and trash has been a constant theme in Orientalist discourse. Textbooks while using such pictures for Hinduism and India have depicted other cultures using aesthetic pictures of festivals, teachings and positive aspects. California rejected one of the books with such stereotypical picture and the picture from another was removed.
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What has changed in the California textbooks?

The picture which showed Indian laborers working alongside monkeys is out. The book was rejected by State Board of Education (SBE) on November 9th after intense pressure from Indian Americans. Comparing 'people of color' with monkeys has been a recurring theme in racist discourse. Kudos to all parents, students and community members for fighting against racist stereotypes.
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