"people do not like to think. if one thinks, one must reach conclusions... conclusions are not always pleasant" - Helen Keller
Lies My Teacher Told Me is a national bestseller by author James w. Loewen... a book that i'm not quite done w, but has already got the wheels in my head clicking... this blog is just gonna touch on his first chapter entitled: "Handicapped by history"
to sum it up, this chapter is about the herofication in american history txt books... among the 12 most commonly used txt books there is a common thread... the idea that our history is meant to be one of 2-dimensional heroes and not imperfect beings. for whatever reason, the authors of american history txt books do not want us to have complicated icons... instead they provide squeaky clean versions of our past, and to be perfectly honest, i have no idea y?
y wouldn't we wanna know about the depth of those who came before us... okay, maybe i can understand that they don't want us to know about how incredibly racist Woodrow Wilson was. but regardless to what he may have contributed to our country, don't u think its important to know that he made so many mistakes that the American people loathed him? he intervened into Latin America numerous times (more than any other time in history)... he sent secret money into the Russian war... "he effectively closed the democratic party to african americans for 2 decades"... he was president of the only university at the time that refused to admit blacks (princeton)... "he was an outspoken white supremacist".... he also didn't like "hyphenated americans" like irish-americans and german-americans... he stated "any man who carries a hyphen about with him, carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into the vitals of this Republic whenever he gets ready"... and so much more... in fact, he was so horrible that his successor lost the nxt election in the biggest landslide in American history. James Cox ran against Warren g. Harding, and despite the fact that Harding didn't even campaign, Cox still lost by almost 64% of the majority party votes.
and where did this Betsy Ross bit come from? Betsy Ross did not make the first American flag... that was a story created by her family after she passed so that tourism would come to her small town... she actually has contributed nothing to our history
and what about Helen Keller? we most commonly know her as the woman from Alabama who learned to communicate even though she was unable to see or hear... the American history txt books would like us to think that that was all there was to this extraordinary woman.... they all conveniently leave out the fact that she was a radical socialist... that she realized that the less money u have the more likely u are to suffer from handicaps like blindness. not many kno she was college educated. Keller said: "i have visited sweatshops, factories, crowded slums. if i could not see it, i could smell it." at one point she was revered for learning despite her handicaps, but once she became a socialist, she began to receive a different kind of publicity... the editor of the Brooklyn Eagle, wrote that Keller's "mistakes spring out of the manifest limitations of her development." Keller responded by saying:
"at that time the compliments he paid me were so generous that i blush to remember them. but now that i have come out for socialism he reminds me and the public that i am blind and deaf and especially liable to error. i must have shrunk in intelligence during the years since i met him. oh, ridiculous Brooklyn Eagle! socially blind and deaf. it defends an intolerable system that is the cause of much of the physical blindness and deafness which we are trying to prevent."
needless to say Keller is the opposite of the boring person our txt books make her out to be... and funny enough, she said that Wilson was "the greatest individual disappointment the world has ever known!" makes me wonder what else the books got wrong... i'm reading the nxt chapter now... so so interesting ;)