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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Historical Revisionism - US History As It Never Happened

The other week-end I conned my son and a buddy of his into driving up to Carmel with me to help my sister and her family move. On the Saturday night we were all hanging out together in the new house and I happened to pick up a textbook on US history that was lying around. My son's friend had brought it along to get some studying done - at least that was probably the idea.

As I started flipping through the pages, I noticed that I had never heard of many of the people who had been given prominent and significant real estate on the pages of each chapter. Not only that, but it appeared that American history had happened almost entirely without the involvement of the white male, and that any historical figure worthy of admiration had been a democrat. On the front cover, out of about 20 portraits of America's past, Ronald Reagan was the lone republican and his picture was down toward the lower left-hand corner of the page - probably squeezed in as an afterthought

I was particularly horrified by the chapter on World War II. Stalin, the guy who managed to kill around 24 million of his own citizens was practically glorified for 2 of the 3 paragraphs dedicated to him, discussing how he set about turning the Soviet Union into a model communist utopia, before it mentioned his brutal stranglehold over Russian society. Then there was an entire chapter on the Holocaust, which is a major event in history, to be sure - but it is not US history.

What I found most offensive, however, were the pictures chosen to represent the American GIs. There were two pictures of GIs in the book and in both pictures every single man was black. Even Rosie the Riveter was depicted as a black woman. Now there is nothing wrong with including pictures of black GIs per se - they were there too, they existed, fought and died right along with the rest of our boys - an accurate portrayal of our history would be incomplete without them. But I can imagine a reasonable person coming away with the impression that there were no whites in America at the time, or that America had sent black people to fight WWII for them.

Then there were the countless portrayals of insignificant women and minorities who were there simply because they were women and minorities and not because they had much to do with the shaping of events at the time. The book dedicates more material to Some Black Guy I've never heard of than to George Washington - you know, the "Father Of Our Country" and first president of the United States of America. In fact, Some Black Guy kicks off the chapter and it is not for 5 or 6 pages that we meet George - who shares a sidebar column with some other guy.

This book is not a history book, it is propaganda and it has no business being used around children. It is an insidious assault on the foundations of our society. Check your kids' history books - look at what they are teaching your children because what they are trying to do is to destroy love of country - thereby ultimately weakening the resolve to defend it.



Nicole & Pat said...

You must be a complete idiot if you think they are hiding any facts that "white" is a predominate color in our US are reading out of context and the age group of the class. Comments like your just perpetuate problems that need not be there.
a white 40 something housewife from the north...

Retro Housewife said...

Yes, I am a complete idiot, Thank you very much!

Or maybe I am just ignorant, and require an education! Much like the children and emerging young adults we send to school - who don't have the benefit of 40 something years of context that you do.

They are depending on what is written in textbooks for their knowledge of past events - and weren't even alive during the cold war - may not know there was a Soviet Union, a wall that divided Berlin, or more missiles than anyone could count aimed at their backyard.

Those are the things that you grew up with and have first-hand knowledge of. Today's kids do not - their perception of the world is drastically different from yours.

So, it helps to be somewhat of an idiot when looking at how a book is presenting the facts.

I trust you will now respect my authori-tay on the matter.


Nicole & Pat said...

OMG you really are a racist...and to think I felt bad about the idiot comment...all this because you feel black soldier's shouldn't represent in a history book...

Retro Housewife said...

If wanting history books to present an accurate portrayal of history is racist, then yes, I am indeed a racist.


Mandy said...

Retro Housewife... I read the comments. They were sadly typical. I feel compelled to come to your defense.

The racism in our country was indeed longer lived and more destructive and is a serious black eye on the ideals of equality upon which we were founded. Slavery was, of course, abhorrent.

The unfortunate thing is that left-wingers who are drowning in white-guilt are calling you racist because you are not sucking in the black tar and nobly going down with the white-liberal flagship into the pit where ignorance is mistaken for restitution.

We came across the same problem when our nine-year old was told that the US government is paying for Native American education to make up for what "we did to them." We personally didn't do anything. The powerful elite of the past did.

I do think history has always omitted truths. The only difference between the old history books and the new is the purpose of the omissions. Unwavering patriotic pride versus remorseful self-flagellation.

How 'bout this instead: people, and therefore their history, are complex. That there have been moments in history when individuals have had to utilize remarkable insight to reject the norm of their day and then great courage to risk their lives to correct the moral wrongs they witnessed. These wrongs ranged from British rule to slavery, and were perpetrated by large powers, including the US government.

Then how 'bout this: these people came in every shape, color and gender.

Then, to really jar the white-guilters, how 'bout this: these people of varying colors are defined and chosen by their virtue of courage, a thing they could not have summoned if they felt ashamed to be black or guilty to be white, or weak to be woman.

Additionally, many of them cited the ideals of equality set forth in our Constitution, remarkable because at the time it was written monarchies ruled the world. Those ideals set us on the path, though our destination will not be reached until every individual is free of poverty and curable illness.

Rather than faulting those who couldn't do it all at once, or paying for sins we didn't commit, we should carry the torch into the future.

Sorry for the long post.

Retro Housewife said...

Thank you for thinking. It is rare to find people who do these days.

I have been called a racist more than a few times, and at first it really bothered me and stopped me from writing, but I no longer let it because if somebody doesn't start standing up to these bullies, we are going to wind up in very bad straits.

The "racist" label is used to silence opposition, most often these days when the issue has nothing to do with race. - It is either due to utter stupidity - as in the case of the textbooks or the real issue is money or power and playing the racist card allows whoever to continue taking what they want. (As is the case with the millions of illegal immigrants in the US - Any other country in the world would have put a stop to this long ago - it goes without saying that a country has the duty to protect its borders. Here we have been so clobbered with the PC Bull-oney, nobody has the guts to speak up.)

We have reached a point where our own existence as a nation is on the line - so I am no longer willing to keep quiet. Hitler used the same tactics, btw.

The point of no return comes unexpectedly - nobody believes it can really happen. I sure the 6 million jews didn't expect the holocaust - usually people don't realize what is going on until it is too late. So Nicole and Pat can call me whatever they please - I will say my piece while I still have the ability to do so.


Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean, Retro Housewife. I happen to agree with MLK that people should be judged by their character, not their skin color. The events and people represented in history books should be the important ones that had an impact on history, no matter what color their skin was.
It's something they do all the time, like when someone would say they didn't support Pres Obama, people would accuse them of racism. Make up your minds! Either skin color doesn't matter, and you can decide whether you agree with someone or not based on their policy/personality, or it makes a difference, and you're not allowed to disagree with someone because of their skin color. You can't have it both ways.

HollyBean said...

Oh my goodness. I was NOT expecting the kind of comments left about your post. Calling you a racist? I believe I read somewhere on your website (please correct me if I am wrong) that you are a even pointed out that this textbook was full of nothing BUT democrats except for one tiny picture of Ronald Reagan. Now, that right there tells me you are being nothing but FAIR to *everyone* involved (because I am a very conservative republican--oh and I'm white--and yes, I have been called "rascist" because I do not like Obama in the least little bit. Hmmm. It has nothing to do with what he looks like, I can assure you of that). You are so right saying that our history books need to represent ALL of history, and all of the people that contributed to it. I was raised in the north (Washington state) and we were taught a totally different story on the Civil War--it wasn't until I moved to the south ten years ago that I really started learning ALL the reasons the south wanted to leave the Union--slavery was a part of it but there were other reasons, one of those being taxed unfairly by the government (for an example). The Civil War was NOT just about slavery, but that was what I was taught because that was what was in our books. The point of that story is it's a shame we cannot rely on our history books to teach our children accurate accounts of what happened in our past as a country. And for these people that posted such hateful comments (I hardly doubt you are an idiot OR a racist!) need to
A) learn their history
B) stop rushing to judgment
C) stop the name calling and finally
D) maybe take a LOOK at the history book you are referring to--obviously they are NOT from the same state as you so how do they even know what the book has in it?

People: (referring to Nicole & Pat)! Why the hate? Why the nasty comments? You know RH, it's like I tell my kids "Just be happy you don't have to live with these types of people".

A white 40-something housewife from the South who is neither an idiot OR a racist (even though I don't like Obama) ; ) but I DO love your website and I am so happy I found it!