First on Fox: A Republicans The Senator is demanding National Archives Stop putting warning labels on the founding documents of the United States.
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., Sent a letter to National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) archivist David Ferriero, explaining his concerns about the “blanket application” of “harmful language warning” on the nation’s pole records.
“It is very disturbing to use the warning of our nation’s founding documents, including the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights,” Lankford wrote in an exclusive LBL exclusive. “It should be removed immediately.”
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NARA said in an emailed statement to LBL on Thursday that “harmful content warning is a general warning and is not linked to the US Constitution or any specific documents” and appears automatically at the top of every page of the “National Archives” online catalog.
“Our records span the history of the United States, and it is our responsibility to make these historical records available to the public,” Nara told LBL. “Some of the material presented in the catalog describes violent or graphic events or uses outdated, biased, offensive or violent language.”
“We don’t change or censor original documents,” he said. “Likewise, like many of our peer institutions, we have placed an alert in the catalog, so it wouldn’t be surprising if researchers encounter such a thing.”
In the letter, Lankford pointed out that “some of the material presented here may reflect old, biased, offensive and perhaps violent views and opinions” before NARA’s warning was torn down.
“Obviously, politically charged eligibility goes beyond the role of NARA, which is set to act as a responsible party providing public access to federal government records,” Lankford wrote.
“Although our nation undoubtedly has the arts in its history, we have created the most open and diverse society on earth since our founding,” the senator continued. “Nevertheless, the people of the United States continue their mission of forming a more perfect union.”
He told the Oklahoma Republican Archivist that the US should “be proud of our founding documents” and not “be ashamed” of the freedoms our country has guaranteed us.
Lankford said the NARA Task Force on Ethnicity Report should be “withdrawn” in addition to demanding the removal of the NARA alert from US important documents.
Lankford asked many questions, including whether the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and other founding documents “present old, biased, offensive and violent views and opinions” and whether the warning was physically added to the show.
“I look forward to your immediate response and reiterate my expectation that the alert should be removed immediately,” Lankford wrote.
The warning in question came after the National Archives’ own Rotunda Task Force report on racism, which is considered an example of “structural racism.”
“OurDocuments.gov has copies and historical scenarios of the ‘100 Milestones of American History’ but frequently uses haste and excessive language to document the historical contributions of white, wealthy men,” reads the report before targeting Thomas Jefferson.
Houston Keen is a reporter for LBL Digital. You can find him on Twitter at @HoustonKeene