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Thursday, April 24, 2014

History repeats with no truth in textbooks

Individuals look to change the wrong aspects of public schools.
Posted on July 1, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on July 1, 2013 at 6:21 p.m.

Emily Duchon

Something to Ponder

I really enjoy the tea party.

While I do not share any of their views or opinions, I very much appreciate the humor they have brought into my life, and I respect their “can-do” attitude that is somehow still going strong.

One of the funnier episodes the tea party has provided us with is the idea that history textbooks should do away with talks of slavery — because, you know, there is no historical significance in slavery or anything.

Tea partiers believe that we need to look at how our founders brought liberty into a world where it did not exist rather than harp on their personal lives.

I couldn’t agree more; our founders made liberty a real priority — if you were a white man.

We now live in a new time period, a period during which our president is an African-American and people of all races and genders have equal rights.

America has gone through a great deal of loss and struggle for us to be where we are today, and this cannot be made apparent to our nation’s students if the grittier tales of our past are removed from their books.

Stating that slavery should be removed from textbooks to showcase the positive qualities of our founders is like stating that lessons on the Holocaust should be replaced with what a great leader Hitler was.

The reason history class even exists is for students to understand how the nations around us came to be. Blatantly overlooking certain aspects of history make it nearly impossible to teach.

Were it not for slavery, there would be no Civil War, and no push for change at a time when it was needed the most. While I would rather the case be that slavery never existed in the first place, it did, and it set into motion a massive change for the American people. We should be learning from our previous leaders’ mistakes and triumphs rather than solely focusing on the positive aspects of their careers.

It is an insult to those that suffered during that time period to pretend that the injustice they endured never happened. If anything, removing slavery from textbooks would promote racism, making it seem as if minorities are not worthy of mention when it comes to later time periods.

Removing slavery from history textbooks only teaches students that white men of power can apparently have their dirt swept under the rug even long after they are gone.

History texts already glorify the men who handed out smallpox-infested blankets and took land that was not theirs to take. Trying to promote them even further by making them appear to be the ultimate catalysts of change who did no wrong would be a grave mistake.

Schools already have an issue obtaining money for new texts. Should our tax dollars be spent on lies to pat the backs of people who idealize our Caucasian-dominated past?

If so, I think the tea party and others that support this movement can pay for the books themselves.

If our founders and their quest for liberty are so overshadowed by slavery, maybe they should not have engaged in the act of owning slaves to begin with.

You cannot rewrite history, and you cannot rewrite a history textbook unless your vision of the future is a nation educated with lies and omissions.

Emily Duchon just completed her freshman year at Ball State University. She is an intern in The Elkhart Truth newsroom.

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