The digital versions of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence have gotten a bit of a makeover in the National Archives’ online catalog with a new trigger warning appearing above documents indicating there may be “potentially harmful language” contained within the founding documents.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has slapped a banner above the Constitution that reads: “Harmful Language Alert: see NARA’s Statement on Potentially Harmful Language.” Below the banner is the image of the first page of the well-aged document which has made a name for itself as the “world’s longest surviving written charter of government.”
The same banner can also be found on the Bill of Rights, which includes the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, as well as the Declaration of Independence. However, there is no indication as to what specific parts of any of the three documents prompted the warnings to be applied.
One social media user suggested that perhaps the Second Amendment was the triggering issue since it guarantees that the right to bear arms “shall not be infringed.”
I thought the word “trigger” was problematic since it conjures images of guns, which we all know are part of the white supremacist tool kit.
— Sjean Sjteele (@sjteele) September 11, 2021
Though the warning was applied quietly, apparently after the release of a 105-page “task force on racism” report that was commissioned after George Floyd’s death last year, the banners have received intense backlash.
— Pale Ryder (@RyderInk) September 11, 2021
— Lord (the real) MVS (@scoterphoto) September 11, 2021
Maybe these folks should have the inside is their eyelids tattooed with a warning “opening your eyes & engaging your brain may cause distress” 🙄🤡
— Plain ol’ T (@Plain_ol_T) September 11, 2021
The NARA statement explains that the labels are applied to “harmful or difficult” content which could:
*reflect racist, sexist, ableist, misogynistic/misogynoir, and xenophobic opinions and attitudes;
*be discriminatory towards or exclude diverse views on sexuality, gender, religion, and more;
*include graphic content of historical events such as violent death, medical procedures, crime, wars/terrorist acts, natural disasters and more;
*demonstrate bias and exclusion in institutional collecting and digitization policies.
The statement explains that while NARAs mission is to preserve documents, it “will seek to balance the preservation of this history with sensitivity to how these materials are presented to and perceived by users.”
They further explain that the warnings are part of an “institutional commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.”
Some people provided suggested solutions to counter the woke narrative being spewed by an organization that formerly focused solely on the preservation and archival of documents.
So in the Civil War our side is going to have to fight against the side that needs a trigger warning while reading the Constitution? Yeah … we got this, war won’t last any longer than 20 minutes.
— Alicia Vincler (@AVincIer) September 11, 2021
PEACEFUL DIVORCE NOW! I’m tired of sharing a country with pussified morons like this, and nobody wants to have to explore other options to peaceful divorce. But if we must, we must.
— Sedated Roof Seagull 🇺🇸🏴 (@SedatedSeagull) September 11, 2021
The task force has also deemed the Rotunda in Congress racists and claimed that it reeks of “structural racism.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 27, 2021
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