The Hypocrisy of Teaching American History
Reading, writing and arithmetic, these three subjects are the basic outline for American schools. In those subjects, where does history fit in? Some believe that teachers avoid history because of how corrupt America has been. James W. Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me, says, "Parents may feel undermined when children get tools of information not available to adults and use them in ways that seem to threaten adult-held values." (Loewen 296.) The adults had to learn the same false history children are being taught today. By teaching children the truth about history, are adults risking the authority they hold along with adult-held values?
"Learning social studies is to no small extent, learning to be stupid." (LMTTM 298.) What happens when history teachers and textbooks lie? Not only will the children grow up to be uneducated, but they'll continue to teach the same lies to their own children. The excuse most teachers use, according to Loewen, is they "feel they are supposed to defend and endorse America." (LMTTM 289.) If teachers told students about Woodrow Wilson being racist, Columbus forcing Indians into slavery, or how the FBI worked against the civil rights movement then children would be too aware of how the world works. Is this necessarily a bad thing? No, because the truth is always better than a lie, regardless of how ugly it may be. In order to be a truly good American, children must learn this country's true history.
"History despite it's wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage, need not be lived again." (LMTTM 137.) If students are educated with our past, then they'll learn from the mistakes that were made. A great deal of my eighth grade year was spent on the Holocaust. Not only was it taught in history class, but also in my...