Back in the day, everything we all learned came mainly from some dusty book with ripped pages and rude commentary in the margins. Its all we had, unless we traveled outside our little worlds and went to museums or on field trips to far off places. We accepted that. When, as adults, we discovered that there was a wee bit of revision to the history we were taught, or important facts were left out, we were irritated, began researching the truth and bellowed loudly against the falsehoods sold to the children of America. Well, for people of color, this usually happened.
“History is written by the winners.” ~Winston Churchill
In this country, the “winners” were almost always white men with money and power and agendas that plainly stated that they made America the great place it is. Everyone else just showed up to help. This lie is creeping into our textbooks.
I can’t wait to see what is said of Asians in California…
This is NOT acceptable. The horrors of history for people of color turned into fairy tales where everyone lived happily ever after is NOT appropriate for elementary social studies books! How do we combat this? Other than climbing all the way up some publisher’s behind about it, we can use technology.
We live in the land of Google Search. There are thousands of ways to bring the truth of our national history to life in the classroom. There are hundreds of people out there more than happy to talk to your students about the history of their people as was passed down to them. What the hell do we need a book full of “winners” delusions for anyway?
In the current political climate in the United States, the notion that Africans took steamers to come be migrant workers and Canadian natives happily packed up and moved out so English speakers could move in is indicative of a need, I believe, to maintain the fantasy, even while knowing the story has ended and the children no longer believe in “the great white hope”.
It is MY hope that, as teachers, we remember our calling, to TEACH… not to delude. Use technology to bring history to the forefront, alive and breathing… in ANY subject! We can do this. WE… are the winners!