I was simply astonished by all of the things mentioned in this book that I had been “taught” and didn’t really know. For example, the very first chapter was about the blatant racism of the Wilson administration and how it was covered up. I absolutely agree with Loewen that the majority of political or social leaders of the past have been heroized due the fact that I have always been taught that these leaders represent the kind of person that I should strive to be. The main reason I was so upset about this wasn’t because I don’t think prominent people in American history should have beliefs and opinions, it’s that Wilson made his beliefs so shamelessly obvious in his administration and I was never taught about them. His racist beliefs are an issue that would definitely affect the way I viewed his time as president and would help me better understand why he did certain things, but textbook writers decided to omit this information from my education because they didn’t want to stir up conflict just as Loewen points out in chapter 12.
Another thing that shocked me was the mistreatment of the Indians and how we view the “first thanksgiving”. The picture I have in my head of the Indians and first thanksgiving is very happy and Disney-themed. I know that relations haven’t always been ideal between the European settlers/Americans and the American Indians...
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...ioned. I feel in no way qualified to even have a discussion on what would be best for the future of America let alone be able to vote on it.
I started off this book not really understanding the point of it. I understood that heroification was bad and Columbus wasn’t nearly as cool as we think he is, but I didn’t comprehend how these things affected me. I think what Loewen wanted to demonstrate to me through his writing is that they don’t. The things we’re being taught in our American history courses typically aren’t things that will help us be future leaders of our country or even just informed voters. The way American history textbooks are being written is in no way beneficial for any party involved, and, if there is going to be any solution to the damage that these Eurocentric, pride-instilling books have caused, this fact needs to be acknowledged and dealt with.
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