25 May 2006

Lies My Teacher Told Me

Lately, I've been listening to the book "Lies My Teacher Told Me". In this excellent book, James Loewen surveys twelve leading high school textbooks of American history only to find a blend bland of optimism, blind nationalism, and outright propaganda. After listening to over half the book, I'd have to conclude that students are probably better off not learning history in school if these textbooks are the only option. While the book expresses the point in different terms, the one element that is missing from all the books is the idea of oppression, the fact that throughout history, man has exploited his fellow man--not because of the way she/he looked--but for material gain and comfort. A systematic treatment of exploitation is avoided at all cost because . . . it's relevant. It's occurring now. In short, history isn't being presented accurately because it would create a citizenry that could think about and question the status quo. Anyway, I suggest the book to everyone as a good read. It should also be on the required reading list at every high school, along with Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.

2 comments:

Pisces Iscariot said...

This is not specific to the U.S.
The thing is that if the real history were taught there would be no cause for national pride and/or patriotism; and how can war be declared without basic brainwashing?
Some people call for a borderless world, personally I believe we should start by removing the borders from our minds.

Karlo said...

I share your sentiments completely. Nationalism is always based on a false sense of the group, a false continuity between present nations/tribes and the past.