Neo-Hippie Ramblings - I'm a Non-Conformist Just Like All My Friends: America, Know Thyself

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

America, Know Thyself

The teacher stands in front of the class
But the lesson plan he can't recall
The student's eyes don't perceive the lies
Bouncing off every fucking wall
His composure is well kept
I guess he fears playing the fool
The complacent students sit and listen to some of that
Bullshit that he learned in school

Take the Power Back
Rage Against the Machine

I'm in the middle of reading Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen (see the Amazon link in the sidebar). Very interesting stuff.

What it is: A brief, heavily footnoted history of the United States that focuses on significant omissions, oversights and outright falsehoods in the curriculum taught by high schools, as defined by the twelve most commonly used American history textbooks.

What it isn't: An America-bashing guilt trip. Rather, it simply makes the argument that by white-washing negative events, disputed facts, complicated situations and the character flaws of important leaders, we lose the important perspective that an unbiased view of the past could give us on the present.

A few things my history teacher never told me:

  • Helen Keller was an outspoken and prolific advocate of socialism for most of her adult life.

  • 80% of the federal budget in George Washington's day was spent on Indian wars that are all but absent from the history texts.

  • Woodrow Wilson was openly racist and instituted policies that removed blacks from federal posts and set back civil rights by decades.

Anyway, it's worth checking out if you're the sort who doesn't take everything at face value.

3 Old Comments:

Hmm, good to know. I have a similar book called "Who Built America" which is about the kinds of folks who don't make history books, I'll have to check that one out.

By Blogger landismom, at 6:22 PM  

That was a great book. If that information was common knowledge we'd be a much more informed and proactive society.

By Anonymous Tom Harper, at 9:05 PM  

Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States is also supposed to be excellent. I haven't read it yet, though.

By Blogger Rambler Joe Snitty, at 10:23 PM