JOHN KNEFEL (MEDIA MATTERS SENIOR WRITER): The goal of PragerU Kids is to do things as radical as redefine the history of the Civil War. One of the videos where the kids travel back and talk to Booker T. Washington, a fictionalized Booker T. Washington, he refers to the Civil War in the passive voice, and he says that "hundreds of thousands of men gave their lives in a war that resulted in my freedom."
Now, if that's what you learn about the Civil War: that enslaved people were a sort of passive, non-factor in it, and that there's no distinction between the Union and the Confederacy -- which is what this lesson teaches -- you're getting a completely distorted version of U.S. history. And if you learn later on that, in fact, enslaved people were the primary drivers of their emancipation, and if you learn later on that the Union Army defeated the Confederacy -- whose goal was to maintain chattel slavery at all costs -- that's completely destabilizing.
And it's impossible to understand the inheritances of slavery, and Jim Crow, and redlining, and discrimination, and all the rest of it, without grappling with history. And grapple with how the past continues to determine how the present manifests.