Natural language processing reveals huge differences in how Texas history textbooks treat men, women, and people of color.
Hispanic students make up 52 percent of enrollments in Texas schools, for example, but Hispanic people received almost no mention at all in any of the textbooks — less than one-quarter of one percent of people who were mentioned by name.
By contrast, all but five of the 50 most-mentioned individuals were white men. Only one woman made that list — Eleanor Roosevelt — and only four people of color. Former president Barack Obama came in at 29th, Martin Luther King came in 30th, followed by Dred Scott and Frederick Douglass. Andrew Jackson, a slaveowner who contributed mightily to the genocide of Native Americans, got more mentions than anyone else.
White men were more likely to be associated with words denoting power, while women were more likely to be associated with marriage and families. African Americans were most likely to be associated to words of powerlessness and persecution, rather than with political action or government.
History Guild Members can access the paper describing this study in the library.