Thursday, September 29, 2022

Lies My Teacher Told Me

An excellent, eye-opener of a book. From the truth about Columbus and the first Thanksgiving: popular myths propagated by elementary school pageants--remember those constuction paper Pilgrim hats and Indian headdresses? -- to US interference in sovereign nations to the invisibility of racism and any discussion of social class in American textbooks, Loewen covers the ground left untouched by standard texts.

Why have we been lied to so consistently?  Because, as one publisher put it, there's always the risk of being labeled a Marxist, if you talk about social class or racism. So, despite evidence to the contrary, children in the US are taught that everyone can succeed if they try hard enough, that Native American welcomed settlers, that slavery wasn't all that bad and certainly wasn't the cause of the Civil War (states' rights!)

I read this in my 'reading room' (waiting to pick up Josie) over a period of several days. And remembered how in my time at school we were invited to feel sorry for the poor kids in Russia who were taught nothing but propaganda. 

Hmm. As it turns out, so were we.

And I'm afraid it's getting worse. Textbook publishers tend to want to please the largest number of people so they will leave out controversial bits that wouldn't make it past review boards in, say, Texas or Florida. 

The dumbing of America-- turning out unthinking, uncritical flag wavers who will enthusiastically vote against their own interests.

Really--READ THIS BOOK. You'll be enlightened and appalled.



Barbara Rogers said...

Sorry to say, I need not read it nor do I want to know details...though I do remember them and how I had to re-educate myself through hard knocks of learning about racism, disparity of classes, our horrible lack of welcoming new nationalities! and so on. But I'm glad that book was written (and of course banned!)

Sandra Parshall said...

I'm already appalled. I grew up in the deep south and never read or heard a word about slavery in school. Real education takes place in the real world, but only for those willing to seek and absorb it.

Anvilcloud said...

This is really true? People grow up not really knowing about slavery? OMG!

JJM said...

Reading the book would only depress me further. I knew the educational system in the U.S. was in a sorry state even while I was going through it -- indeed, when I first came to this country and experienced my first day in a USAmerican first grade, I honestly thought I'd been demoted to Kindergarten because I didn't know English yet, that's how great the difference was. I was used to a school room of kids sitting quietly and earnestly at their desks, not socializing or "learning through play" ... And so it continued from there, mutatis mutandis. Education simply wasn't taken seriously when I came through the system, and it's obvious through these curriculum battles that it's not taken any more seriously now.