lies my teacher told me

"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 ;)


  1. Hmmm you totally have me intrigued by this book. I think I'll go check it out this weekend.
    And I agree... we should know the depth and breadth of our national "heroes." It can help us all realize the capacity of greatness in ourselves and even others not so perfect in this society

  2. its a shame... we're taught lies from the start, so that way we grown up accepting lies from others w more power than us... example? our government

  3. Why I was just watching the History Channel today when I learned that former President Andrew Jackson slaughtered countless numbers of Native Americans. Not to mention the fact that he even killed a man after speaking negatively towards his wife. That fact was never mentioned in any of my classrooms when I was going to school.

    I believe that just as our dicussions in one of the earlier blogs mentioned; The government tries to control the way we view this country. The government does not want any of this countries negative history to askew our view of America. I'm surprised they did not try to remove the fact slavery ever took place here. I can say though that they have done a pretty good job of sweeping the fact that many of our former Presidents were actually slave owners themselves under the rug. Try your best to remember what class you were in when you leanred that.

    Now as far as Hellen Keller goes; I had no knowledge of her at all outside of the fact that she was deaf and blind yet was somehow still able to receive some sort of education. I never knew the extent of it, let alone did i know she was ever able to compose any sort of letters to anyone.

    I can understand why though the country did not try to glamourize her any further from those few facts I learned. Doing so would encourage people to try to learn more about her. That would lead to people discovering what her political beliefs were and we all know the good ol U.S. of A. couldn't allow that to happen. I'm certain though that if she was a supporter of this nations practices at that time she would have her own holiday by now.

    It's these sort of things that has led me to go back and re-educate myself. Hopefully this blog will help to do the same for many more

  4. I would also like to go on record as saying it is quite refreshing to see someone who is not afraid to say "this is what I think, and this is who U am". I am not a big fan of the anonymous responder.

  5. i know... the whole anonymous thing can be annoying... i know who one anonymous person is, but the others i dunno... but still id rather someone be anonymous and voice their opinion, then to not say anything at all... i welcome all opinions

    that being said... jakka u are 100% correct about helen keller... to talk of her accomplishments would be to bring up that the country has always had "3 great taboos... sex, religion and social class"...

    i love that i've had a chance to learn about the real helen keller... i'm a forever fan now... there's actually gonna be a movie about her starring the little girl from "little miss sunshine and zombieland"... i really hope it does keller justice

  6. Oh really... sex is one of the countries 3 great taboos? Do tell.

    The Hellen Keller movie sounds like an interesting view now that I have a lil insight on her. Mentioned that movie to me 3 hours ago and I would have said that movie sounds like a snooze fest.

    Off subject comment: I just saw "Zombieland" it was better than I was expecting. Very enjoyable movie

  7. As far as the anonymous thing goes I wish they would have a more identifiable feature to their comments. Even if were anonymous M or a number.

  8. yeah i loved zombieland... and by sex i meant gender, lol

  9. Ohhhh... that sort of sex. Where my mind at? Lol

    And yes, women have been held back for years. In fact and in reference to 1 of your earlier blogs I'm sure that a lot of the women acused of being witches during the Salem Witch Trials were nothing more than free thinking strong minded women. Maybe they wanted to do something crazy like vote or something and that made them a witch.

  10. I just. Noticed your comment where you said we are told lies as kids so we learn to believe them as adults. I couldn't have said thast better myself. We are constantly being conditioned to believe the government without question. In fact I have my suspicions about the origin of the swine flu if not the validity of it. To this day I do not even know what the symptoms are. Nor have I personally known anyone to have suffered from that illness. If anything they are just telling people with the regular flu they have the swine variety. Yet all of America went running to stand in 3 hour long lines so we could be injected with who knows what.

  11. from just reading what you wrote, this book has already caught my intrest. thanks for sending me the shout out.

  12. Great read! Its funny that you wrote about this topic because the 'heroification' of text books has always been the biggest problem ive had with the education system in this country.. Many times students get the Fairy tale version of history thats supposed to fit neatly inside the narrative box of the American Empire.. Its all about politics really.. All people need is the truth. but the truth makes people uneasy. Its up to us radical truth tellers to knock em' upside the head with a dose of veracity!

  13. I also find it strange that when you hear about the history of the leaders of the other countries of this world the lessons usually have a much darker story to them.

    They even try to deminish the whole slavery thing by making it seem that it was just a few states that were behind it the whole time. As if they never had slaves up north.

  14. well men were accused of witchcraft too... it was just the courts believing the lies of little girls who were trying to get out of trouble...

    ... slavery in the north was something that didn't work out too well, because there was no agriculture there... but if i'm not mistaken segregation was 10times worse in the north... so there was still an anti-black mentality, even if there was also an anti-slavery mentality

    and jakka i'm w u on the swine flu... the regular flu kills more ppl per year but nobody mentions that... the swine flu was all hype just like sars, and the bird flu... i've known ppl to get the swine flu, but they all ended up just fine, lol

    CharleyVulture! thanx so much for takin the time to read the blog =) i always find it so funny when the truth makes ppl uneasy... maybe its cause, as a whole, we just don't get enough of it... people are afraid of what they don't understand, and truth is at the top of that list, lol


    thanx jamiequinn73 for checking out my blog =)

  15. Slavery took place in the north until 1846. Usually they worked around the house or as crastsmen. 2/3 of all slaves up north lived in New Jersey. Even after slavery was abolished in the North they simply started calling the slaves aprentices. Anyone born before slavery was abolished were considered to be aprenticed for life. Anyone after until they reached a certain age, depending on sex.

    It wasn't until the 13th Amendment that those aprentices were released

  16. Hey Roxy Stardust thanks for emailing me about your blog. I will have to check out that book. I was one of those kids who question everything especially what was written in the history books versus what was told to me orally. Keep doing your thing by always keeping it real. I enjoyed this blog.

  17. The presentation of History is schools across America is a laughable farce of misinformation.
    The truths are half-truths and literally whitewashed. Colonialist influence still manifests its stronghold over our education system.
    Don't believe me? Just look at any high school history book. If one wants to know actual his-tory or even her-story, they have to seek it out themselves.

  18. this isnt the first time ive heard something to this effect and im a believer. i think theres alot in our history books that are overlooked or overexaggerated. it makes sense, but its sad at the same time. hopefully one day someone with the history-kno-how will wise up and literally rewrite history with all the truth included.

  19. Re-writing our history books I'm sure would be a very easy task. Its getting the American populus to accept it that would prove to be its undoing. The government has invested decades upon decades programming its citizens to accept their accounts as the true American history.

    As children we are fed lies about faries that collect our teeth in exchange for dollar bills, jolly fat men who leave gifts under trees, and rabbits who lay colored eggs. As outlandish as these things are we believe it. Why wouldn't we as children accept things that seem more reality based that are told to us as "facts".

    Tales of Santa Claus and the like are designed to train us to believe lies. What's worse is that when we reach the age of adults we pass on the same lies to our children. We as adults have the option to let our children know that things like the Easter Bunny are make believe. We have the option teach our kids what is favct vs. Fiction. The sad part is most of us don't. Parents are only helping to raise their children to be gullible.

    I guess it's understandable though. Who wants to be labeled as an outcast. How lonely it is to be the only wise man in a world of fools. We don't want such a fate for ourselves and we definately don't want that for our children. We want our kids to gather around each to talk about what gifts they all want from Santa. That way they fit in with the rest of the other tikes just fine.

    Don't worry though. Just as the children get old enough to realize the Tooth Fairy doesn't really exsist, the schools will begin filling their heads with fantasy stories of George Washington and other such leaders of this great nation.

  20. well, i wouldn't compare the easter bunny to history... i don't see anything wrong w things like santa claus or the boogyman... ghost stories, tooth fairy money... in my opinion is innocent fun

    teaching a false history can be fatal tho... nothing bad has ever happened by believing in fairies... things like that don't have long term effects on people's lives... but a misunderstanding about our history can cause bad moral... violence... hate... self loathing... there is so much bad that can come out of a mis-education

  21. Who controls the past controls the future...and who controls the present controls the past...gotta love it.

  22. George Orwell! great quote =)

    "Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear" - also George Orwell

    thank u blackmagickbarbie, Lunakiss, and the anonymous folks... i think u got my email on afropunk and i really appreciate u guys visiting my blog =)

  23. I just think the fairy tale stories are tools used to condition us to start believing lies from basically birth. I'm not talking the stories of the lil old lady who lived in a shoe. These are stories that we are made to believe are real. I don't think there is anything wrong with the stories of Santa. I just think the kids should know the guy doesn't. Really exsist.

    As kids we believe we can trust our parents and as we get older we are tought to believe we can trust our government just as well. I don't blame parents for setting up the foundation where we grow up believing everything we are told by certain entities in our lives. Parents are just doing what they are conditioned to do. Raise us on lies.

    At the center of the of the word "beLIEve" is the word lie.

    Off subject: I would like to give a friendly hello to Baribie and Luna.

  24. Well, to each his or her own… I don’t mind raising my kids to believe in fairy tales… its good to nurture imagination at a young age… but they will also know the truths of religion and politics and the woes of social conformity when the time is right…

    If a 3 yr old asks where babies come from… “the stork” is a response that is good enough, and age appropriate... when the child is older and can understand the birds and the bees then that's when they learn the truth

    all things in good time... i would want my kids to live like children and learn things as they get to ages where they can understand them... so that way they are well rounded adults

  25. Well my dearest Roxy i would like to quote one of your earlier comments...

    roxy stardust said...
    its a shame... we're taught lies from the start, so that way we grown up accepting lies from others w more power than us... example? our government

    February 12, 2010 3:02 PM

    To me the start is before we ever begin school. While lies involving Santa Claus are innocent in nature they are still lies and in my opinion it is where the whole process begins.

    It is believed that if you play classical music into a pregnant mothers belly it will aid in the mental development of the baby.
    I've also heard that if you decorate an infants room with a black and white checkered pattern it helps to increase intelligence. Just as ive heard clouds foster creativity.

    If those things really do play such a role in the childs growth, I can only wonder what factor the tiny lies play.

    I dont think that a kid knowing the Easter Bunny doesn't really exist is gonna stop them from wanting to play Freeze Tag or Red Rover. Nor will it deminish their love of cartoons or Big Bird. I just think it will give them a better understanding of this world.

    Now the question of where do babies come from is a lil bit of a stickier situation. I know I definately wouldn't say the answer is from sex'n I dont know if the stork is the right answer either.

    I can definately say though that I dont have any kids. So I have no way of truly knowing what sort of effect my methods would actually have on a kid. I don't even know a lot of kids so I suppose its easy for me to think of them as tiny adults and i am in fact being naive in thinking that complete honesty is the best way to raise a kid. I just know it seems like the best method to me right now.

    I do think though that the "Boogie Man" is the first outside entity that is created to control us though the use fear that we are introduced to.

    Why is it that the teachers who instruct our kids during the years where their brains are developing the fastest always the least qualified.

    I think we should at least somehow sneak in lessons of a second language or something.

  26. I think fear is needed at times...for children and adults...it is a control tatic but if overcome can make you or a community stronger...look at all the revolutionary movements in the past I guarantee you fear was involved...then came action and consequence. As far as the american educational system now a days it sucks point blank. That can be an all day topic. We've talked about prisons...we've talked about corrupted politcs...lets talk about the faulty educational system...lord save us...lol

  27. "war is peace...freedom is slavery...Ignorance is strength..." George Orwell there goes another one for ya :)

  28. Well Mr/Ms Anonymous I must disagree with you just a little. I don't think fear is usually the motivating factor when it comes to sparking a movement. I think it usually stems from social awareness and a stong desire for change. Fear typically keeps the masses in order and afraid to act.

  29. Clearly, jakka, u took what I said outta context… if u understood it one way, then that on u, but I was referring to the schooling system and not santa claus… prolly 90% of Americans believe in that stuff as a child and where these 90% of people end up in their lives vary enormously… from politicians, to artists to CPAs, mobsters, revolutionaries, stay at home moms, CEOs, homeless people, athletes, models, scholars… I just can’t believe that those little fairy tales impact anyone’s life…

    But like I said… to each his or her own… when someone decides to have kids they get to decide how to raise them

    as far as fear... in my personal opinion i think you're both right... everyone's different and is motivated by different things... some people don't need fear to know that some change needs to be made... all of u guys, myself included, are prolly a part of that group...

    but fear and oppression, over long periods of time can also spark movement... like the civil rights movement, yeah?

  30. Well when I think of the civil rights movement I think of Rosa Parks and her refusal to give up her seat no matter what they were threatening her with.
    I also think of things like the Brown vs Board of Education where that girl decided to break the racial barrier and attend an all white school inspite of the fact that she received numerous death threats. In fact she had to be escorted by the national guard because of all the threats.

    I am having a difficult time recollecting anything from the civil movement that originated from fear.

    If you know or anyone else knows of any I would definately love the oppertunity to learn something new.

    Good luck though

  31. Wow. A small plane just crashed into a 7 story office building that in Austin. housed the IRS. The pilot Andrew Joseph Stack was said to be angry with the IRS. They found a suicide manifesto online.

    They said there was 13 injured office employees and 1 person unaccounted for.


  32. I'm sorry. The pilot's name was Joseph Andrew Stack. Not Andrew Joseph. He supposedly set his own house on fire just before the crash. He was also said to be behind on his taxes.

  33. I agree Jakka but Rosa Parks like many others controlled their fear...and was fed up....and decided to take a stand....and as far as the IRS I work for them....sad to see someone take the lives of innocent people...were just earning a living just like him...people hate us and we don't make the laws we enforcement them...can someone please relay the message...lol...and with Roxy...I understand you and I do feel certain things like the tooth fairy and Santa Claus are positive...kids in the early stages are innocent...and they should enjoy those things...my siblings...godkids...children that i volunteered to help I always told them stories about myths...legends...and of course Santa Claus...it made them happy it gave them hope that there is good things out there...kids deserve that...as they get older they'll grow out of it...but I feel it helps

  34. or should say "attempt to" take the lives of some people....

  35. Oh, I love this book. I read it back in high school and never looked at the world the same. I need to pick that up again.

  36. i know i way late in responding... but the when it comes to the civil rights movement, jakka, you're naming individual accounts... but think of the whole...

    u don't think think there was any fear? when black men were being hanged for no reason? blacks were being threatened for sitting in the wrong area or drinking from the wrong water fountain... was there fear among slaves who escaped? of course! cause if they were found out they would be send back to their owners and they would get the living shit beat out of them... what about those blacks who'd wake up in the middle of the night to burning crosses in their yards?

    black ppl weren't living safe and fear-free lives when the movement started... that's part of the reason they decided to fight... and even during the movement, the marches... the sit-ins... sitting @ the front of the bus (ps. rosa parks wasn't the first to do it)... boycotting... all of that was scary to these young men and women. i mean, john lewis was only 20 when he became a part of the civil rights movement.

    there was fear... of course there was fear, but they worked thru that to spark change

  37. My dearest Roxy I did not say that fear was not present during the period leading up civil rights movement or even during. I am quite certain that there was a lot of fear. Fear was one of the devices used to keep blacks in line. I was simply disagreeing with the comment Anonymous made earlier when he/she said that fear took part in its beginning. I feel that fear keeps movements from taking off. It is the overcoming of that fear which sparks them.

  38. As far as you being way late. It is better to be way late than to not show up at all.

    In reguards to the comment I made that you responded to if I did happen to come off as saying there was no fear at all during that time period I most humbly apologize.


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