Historical Ignorance at its Finest

This weeks readings really touched a nerve with me. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s blatant ignorance and these articles were filled with examples of it. Staring with the articles concerning the celebration of the South’s secession, I knew the ignorance groups such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans had towards the Civil War. However, the public history and the education system in some of the southern states was appalling to me. The textbook situation in Virginia reaffirmed my viewpoint that Americans are not getting the truth, and this is not only in southern states, it’s happening nationwide. Textbooks come under fire in many states, either for their controversial passages such as the blacks fighting for the South, or because of a complete absence of important information such as slavery and the Native Americans. While Charles Pyle, the spokesperson of the Department of Education said because the book was approved didn’t mean they agreed with every sentence, shouldn’t they be more careful as to what books they allow? Although that is one part of the book, it’s an ┬áinaccurate representation of a very important period in American history. Even if the teachers refused to teach that passage of the book, students are able to read it for themselves. There’s a reason many young people don’t see a problem with believing in conspiracy theories such as the 9/11 inside job, or the fake moon landings, and it’s because they’re being flooded with controversial and inaccurate information from textbooks, from television, and from the internet. While it’s impossible to eliminate inaccurate and controversial history, as historians we should do everything in our power to try and eliminate as much of it as we can.

 

Regarding the desire to reenact the South’s rise to power, I always find that troubling. Yes, it is their right to reenact it, but there are a lot of things I have the right to do, but that does not mean I do it, or should. As the article “They Have Blood on Their Hands” showed, they are celebrating slavery, bloodshed, rape, oppression, and racism by celebrating the rise of the Confederacy. What if the Nazis were allowed to recreate the Holocaust? Or what if, as a comment said on that article, if Muslims were allowed to reenact the events of 9/11? Is it not the same thing?

 

The article that really got me was the one on the class about the Founding Fathers. Lots of Americans love to use the Founding Fathers when it suits them in politics, however most of them who do that don’t understand the Founding Fathers at all. They have a warped view of them because of their political ideologies. Earl Taylor may mention that they wanted a separation of church and state, or that they wanted Americans to bear arms, but does he mention that Thomas Jefferson was a deist, not a Christian? Does he mention Washington’s warnings towards getting involved in foreign affairs, or his warning about the two party system? Does he mention how much Benjamin Franklin loved and admired France? Probably not because it wouldn’t fit with his political agenda, which I find happens a lot in this country when trying to debate someone who has already made up their minds about the Founding Fathers. I think it’s time we got our history right, instead of what we want it to be. As historians, it’s our job to put aside our political bias and teach history truthfully, which has been a problem for many years in this country.

 

 

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