James Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything your American Text Book Got Wrong, wrote about the grim nature of the American educational system. Loewen spent a couple of years gathering intimate details about twelve American history textbooks. In his search, he found convoluted truths of what it means to be a patriot, and worst of all, the misrepresentation of the truth in the educational system. We must think about why a government would want to mislead its people, like in the case of the 1954 Iranian Coup orchestrated by the CIA. Perhaps it is comfort in knowing that all of the conflicts we’ve been involved in are reasonably sound, to remove our abilities to think critically, or to rightfully be proud of a bloody heritage. Loewen suggests that blind optimism is representative of a burden carried by the lemons of the world (389). The actions carried out by our government are burdens carried by its people. The American public is being lied to and any claims of proof are easily dismissed as a conspiracy by those too comfortable to admit that they have been had.
No mystery surrounds the rationale behind keeping truths from the people, any people. Loewen’s piece touches on the colonization of United States in its infanthood. For instance, Loewen discusses that “Spanish settlers were our first pilgrims” (391). Furthermore, most Americans are not aware that about one-third of the United States was initially Spanish controlled and subsequently left Spanish influence on the language and the people that inhabited the southern region (391). It is rather odd that there is still a strong anti-Spanish language sentiment in the south, the original stomping grounds of the first (Spanish) pilgrims. Let’s explore w...
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...books, patriotism was built on false pretenses, “after all, look at what the United States has accomplished” (Loewen 387). Look at what the United States has accomplished.
Most of the public does not understand why things are, just that they are. They do not see the causes, only the effects and are not shy with the finger they point. It is easier to blame a group of people than to blame a government that from a young age we have been taught to exalt. But the people are not entirely at fault. A gross interpretation of misinformation is the culprit. We must inform ourselves and not take everything we are told at face value. At all times, we are a people and as such adapt to crowd thinking. Through thought and critical thinking, Loewen implores us to find the truth out for ourselves and that “surely in history, ‘truth should be held sacred, at whatever cost’” (403).
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