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ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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27 Jan 2014, 6:41 pm

I have been reading a book about history and the way it's taught is often sanitized and not accurate. Minority students in particular do not like the required history courses in school and tend to do worse on them than white kids (in the US.)
My question is, how do we approach this subject? Eventually, minorities will increase in their numbers and might not even be minorities any longer so how do you teach about concepts like slavery, genocide and racism without alienating people of color? Right now textbooks are distorted and written to allow people of European ancestry the highest comfort level at the expense of everyone else (I am of European ancestry in case anyone is wondering.)

Do you think, eventually, classes will elevate people of non European ancestry (Africans, Native Americans and Hispanics) and claim they are the true heirs and far better than the colonizing Europeans?

It's already been noted the way history is taught now is rife with untruths, errors, and inaccuracies.

What should be done?



androbot2084
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27 Jan 2014, 9:02 pm

What is ignored was that after the civil war people were awarded 40 acres and a mule in honor of the jubilee but all the land was given back to the big plantation owners



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27 Jan 2014, 9:26 pm

Step 1 would probably be to stop allowing Texas to dictate the content of the textbooks for the entire country.



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27 Jan 2014, 10:06 pm

School vouchers to let parents send their kids to school that they think are best. That is good for autistic kids too as there are autistic-only schools.



zer0netgain
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27 Jan 2014, 10:09 pm

In college, I had a "history" professor who taught "history" and not "chronology."

"History" is past events as seen from today's perspective. "Chronology" is the memorization of events, people and dates.

"History" helps us understand the past. "Chronology" simply makes us memorize it.

A problem with many "history" classes is that if there is an agenda behind the textbooks, then you aren't even presenting a factual view of past events.

If minorities don't want to learn history because it does not appeal to them, that's their loss. A lot of people don't care for history class (they find it boring), but dumbing down or changing the material in order to appeal to the student ultimately is a disservice to the student.



ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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27 Jan 2014, 11:50 pm

TheGoggles wrote:
Step 1 would probably be to stop allowing Texas to dictate the content of the textbooks for the entire country.


:lol: :thumright:



ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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28 Jan 2014, 12:05 am

LoveNotHate wrote:
School vouchers to let parents send their kids to school that they think are best. That is good for autistic kids too as there are autistic-only schools.

The problem is danger of segregation. Some schools could be better funded and staffed. We see it some now in the inner cities.



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28 Jan 2014, 4:37 am

ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo wrote:
I have been reading a book about history and the way it's taught is often sanitized and not accurate. Minority students in particular do not like the required history courses in school and tend to do worse on them than white kids (in the US.)
My question is, how do we approach this subject? Eventually, minorities will increase in their numbers and might not even be minorities any longer so how do you teach about concepts like slavery, genocide and racism without alienating people of color? Right now textbooks are distorted and written to allow people of European ancestry the highest comfort level at the expense of everyone else (I am of European ancestry in case anyone is wondering.)

Do you think, eventually, classes will elevate people of non European ancestry (Africans, Native Americans and Hispanics) and claim they are the true heirs and far better than the colonizing Europeans?

It's already been noted the way history is taught now is rife with untruths, errors, and inaccuracies.

What should be done?

Well, do American school books still glorify George Washington and Thomas Jefferson?

I can fully understand why minority students would have a hard time dealing with two hypocritical rich slave owners who advocated and/or carried out widespread persecution and extermination of native Americans if these individuals are being presented as national icons of freedom and American Exceptionalism.

But hey, history is written by the winners (which - in Thomas Jefferson's case - is to be taken quite literally). :shrug:


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Last edited by GGPViper on 28 Jan 2014, 5:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

mds_02
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28 Jan 2014, 5:04 am

zer0netgain wrote:
If minorities don't want to learn history because it does not appeal to them, that's their loss. A lot of people don't care for history class (they find it boring), but dumbing down or changing the material in order to appeal to the student ultimately is a disservice to the student.


The whole problem is that the material already is dumbed down and changed to appeal to a specific group; white kids.


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28 Jan 2014, 5:22 am

I really would not know, how exactly normal history shall be different according to different minorities? In my country you started with the basic development of societies and the early moving of humanity among the globus, which will be for all people the same. If I am african, asian or caucasian, really does not matter for "When did the different kind of humans develop in africa and move on to orient, europe, asia, australia, american continent..." As well that there wont be much differency about objects found, according to certain tribes, and what those objects tell us about he development of human societies. (Development of tool use, hunter weapon = hunter society, field tools = start of agrar society). Then we had the mentioning of the first developed societies, as egyptians and nubia, greek and romans, china, persia, and how their cultures and inventions were spreaded among others...

When it came to "newer" history we focused on the history of the area we are living in, so if you are living in China it would be about history of asian continent, if your african it would be the history of the african continent and when you are american it would be the history of the american continent in my oppinion. And a continent has no colour or race, so from my oppinion, the history of the american continent is everyones history, living on that continent. (I want to focus on, that with history of the american continent, I do mean the time before the white settlers arrival as well. I think the american continent will have existed before Columbus as well. ^^)



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28 Jan 2014, 5:51 am

ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo wrote:
I have been reading a book about history and the way it's taught is often sanitized and not accurate. Minority students in particular do not like the required history courses in school and tend to do worse on them than white kids (in the US.)
My question is, how do we approach this subject? Eventually, minorities will increase in their numbers and might not even be minorities any longer so how do you teach about concepts like slavery, genocide and racism without alienating people of color? Right now textbooks are distorted and written to allow people of European ancestry the highest comfort level at the expense of everyone else (I am of European ancestry in case anyone is wondering.)

Do you think, eventually, classes will elevate people of non European ancestry (Africans, Native Americans and Hispanics) and claim they are the true heirs and far better than the colonizing Europeans?

It's already been noted the way history is taught now is rife with untruths, errors, and inaccuracies.

What should be done?

Are Hispanic people not of European ancestry? I thought "Hispanic" meant "of Spanish descent (via Latin America)", and Spain is in Europe.

The solution is to teach history as accurately as possible. Don't be ashamed of saying "we were very much the bad guys here" if it is true. Now obviously accurate teaching of history is very difficult, but that doesn't mean teachers should settle for sanitised history. If nothing else, teach the controversy.



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28 Jan 2014, 7:32 am

My idea for dealing with this is to get away from standardization. Put an emphasis on regional history in a national context. Give an overview that is standard in order to give context but then go into more detail with regional education. Regional emphasis is where the details give greater accuracy and making it regional makes it more relatable for children. Details are necessary for accuracy but you can't teach children everything in detail. Going into detail just for regional history allows for more detail and relevant field trips. This means that children in one part of the country will know more about the Civil War while others in another part know more about the Industrial Revolution while still others know more about migration the West Coast etc. That's non-standard but it allows for the sort of relatable detail that allows for a more nuanced view for children.



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28 Jan 2014, 7:48 am

Janissy wrote:
My idea for dealing with this is to get away from standardization. Put an emphasis on regional history in a national context. Give an overview that is standard in order to give context but then go into more detail with regional education. Regional emphasis is where the details give greater accuracy and making it regional makes it more relatable for children. Details are necessary for accuracy but you can't teach children everything in detail. Going into detail just for regional history allows for more detail and relevant field trips. This means that children in one part of the country will know more about the Civil War while others in another part know more about the Industrial Revolution while still others know more about migration the West Coast etc. That's non-standard but it allows for the sort of relatable detail that allows for a more nuanced view for children.

This would only be a solution if the problem was insufficient time/resources to go into detail.

If the problem - as suggested by the OP - is a whitewashing of history (pun intended), then a regional emphasis would likely not solve the problem. After all, the revisionist doctrines of "The Lost Cause of the Confederacy" and the "War of Northern Aggression" were based on a regional (Southern) emphasis. That doesn't make these doctrines any less distorted.


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28 Jan 2014, 8:53 am

I have a special interest in the notion of unbiased views of history.

The_Walrus wrote:
The solution is to teach history as accurately as possible.


I agree. What I find challenging is that accuracy is based on one's (or a prevailing) perception of reality. As comedian Lily Tomlin once said: "What is reality except a collective hunch?". In the present discussion it would seem that the pertinent collective of people whose hunch counts most is the victors. :)

The_Walrus wrote:
Don't be ashamed of saying "we were very much the bad guys here" if it is true.


When I was in high school we were encouraged to practice critical thinking rather than believing at face value everything in texts. That was a help.

Even today I continue to be amazed at how the world we live in and current events can be viewed as shaped by the age of western colonialism.


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28 Jan 2014, 8:56 am

I had a neighbor who moved to the USA from Mexico as a child. So, he got exposed to 2 different views of the Mexican-American war. In the Mexican version, the Americans are the bad guys. In the American version, the Americans are the heroes.

And, within the USA, you will be taught different versions of the Civil War, depending on the state in which you reside. "Slavery didn't have a damned thing to do with it! Lincoln never freed a single slave! It was all about STATES RIGHTS!! !! Those damned Yankees just wanted to destroy our superior way of life!"



zer0netgain
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28 Jan 2014, 9:17 am

mds_02 wrote:
The whole problem is that the material already is dumbed down and changed to appeal to a specific group; white kids.


I wholeheartedly disagree. Go see what white kids think of history class.

The problem is that people need CONTEXT when they learn about historical figures. The Founding Fathers had flaws, but what they did was incredible. That many owned slaves is a NON-ISSUE. It was a reality of their time. That's like someone 300 years from now thinking you are a savage for using paper currency when everything is electronic or that you refused to have a RFID implant or bar code stenciled into your forearm because of social/cultural/religious taboos you've accepted your whole life.

It's easy to look back from today and criticize how things were done in the past, but a lot of good people did things we'd disagree with because it was the accepted norm and they didn't really think much about it.

Hell, how long ago was it that most people started BATHING every day rather than once a week, or month, or year? Do we consider them savages because it was just how things were done back then?