The INS gives a booklet for people to study when they prepare the test taken to become a US citizen. There are one hundred questions whose answers must be memorized, of which about 30 pertain to history. On first look, the questions and answers seemed pretty well-written, simple but important.
Only upon reflection does one realize that what matters is not what is there but what is not there. It is those omissions that best reveal bias.
The choices are guided by the following considerations: "By learning our shared history, you will be able to understand our nation's traditions, milestones, and common civic values. Our country is independent because of the strength, unity, and determination of our forefathers. It is important for future Americans to know this story. We are people working towards great ideals and principles guided by equality and fairness. This is important to keep our country free."
There are exactly 3 Q&A about the history before the war of Independence. Here they are:
- Q: What is one reason colonists came to America?
- A: Freedom, political liberty, religious freedom, economic opportunity, to practice their religion, or to escape persecution.
- Q: Who lived in American before the Europeans arrived?
- A: American Indians, or Native Americans.
- Q: What group of people was taken to American and sold as slaves?
- A: Africans, or people from Africa.
Christopher Columbus has disappeared from the list of basic facts of American history, as though his legacy did not matter.
There are 57 questions about the US federal and state governments, but not a single mention of the United Nations.
There is a question about who the US fought during WWII, but no mention of who the Allies were.