Harshbarger signs onto letter condemning National Archives’ use of content warnings

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WASHINGTON (WJHL) – Rep. Diana Harshbarger joined several House Republicans in calling out the National Archives for content warnings that they say “obscures the truth.”

The congresswoman and over 40 other representatives signed the letter sent to David Ferriero, the archivist of the United States on Tuesday.

The National Archives and Records Administration added a “harmful content warning” to its website. The warning is non-specific, appearing on each of the millions of pages in the permanent records of the U.S. government.

A statement from the National Archives said some materials in its catalog show violent and graphic events or use outdated and offensive language. None of the materials have been altered or censored from the archives.

Stewart Harris teaches constitutional law at Lincoln Memorial University. He said the content warnings contextualize American history.

“The National Archives is trying to say certain documents may be very offensive to some people,” Harris said. “They are recognizing that parts of our past are very troubling.”

Harris said numerous instances of oppression toward marginalized groups throughout American history justified the warnings.

“We started our American history as a slave republic. We oppressed Black people. We didn’t recognize the rights of Indigenous people,” Harris said.

Harris said the content warnings could lead to great accessibility to the contents of the National Archives, specifically for minority groups.

Harshbarger was unable to provide comment.

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