reply to post by FPB214
As I've mentioned earlier in the thread, this system is pretty much the only way that even fragments
of the whole picture get told. There
a very anglo-white leaning bias in history books. It's somewhat less of a problem these days, but that is very probably attributable
to the observance of things like Black History Month.
Think about it, though. People like learning things they've never heard of before. And for this huge part of America's history, that history
whites-only. So you take this little bit of something, a few days out of the year and teach about some of the black people in history, some
of the things important to the experience of African-Americans, and it's like opening a whole new world, a side of history that a lot of people -
even black people - had never known about before. And they want to know more. So they go to the library, or the bookstore, and they find that there's
a paucity of books on the subject. So maybe some of the more enterprising historians dig up information, write their own books. Build up the
In a lot of cases, things like black history month were a measure to literally halt the destruction of portions of our nation's history. Whether
through malicious intent or simple neglect, entire movements that shaped the country, thinkers and statesmen who had moved whole populations, had
vanished into thin air and had to be rediscovered. The narrative of history had to be repaired. The black migration from the south to the north and
west, between 1914 and 1955, was a nation-changing movement
. And it's only just now
getting serious historical study and recognition;
nearly sixty years after it settled.
Some of the posters on this thread have conjured the image of the poor little white kid who feels "left out" during black history month. ignoring
for a moment that black history is completely relevant to whites in America, think of the little black kid in the same history class. Know what the
history book looks like to him?
White people, white people, slavery, white people, white people, civil war, white people, white people, white people, white people, civil rights
movement, white people, white people.
'Cause that's pretty much the narrative in a school textbook. So you take this kid, and you break up this narrative and show him, even for a short
time, some of the magnificent things people like him have accomplished. Show him a portion of the history he's inheriting, that it's not
about Lincoln and Johnson. How do you think he'll react to that? Again, he wants to know more
. He feels a little more empowered, a little more
confident. Even the bad parts of the history are good for him, as it can help him understand the current state of things more ably.
Same thing with the Indian kid who learns only that his ancestors were mammoth-killing dinks who blundered into a continent, never used it, and then
sat around for ten thousand years waiting for white people to come kill them and put the land to "better use" - again, the general narrative in a
textbook. Teach him about the Tecumseh League. Teach him about Cahokia. Tell him the truth about Columbus, and the pilgrims. Show him that he comes
from people who had stories, who had power and history and cultures and achievements. Do you think he'd perk up a bit?
These observances are as much about history being recovered and repaired as they are about empowering the people who's ancestry lies in that history.
There is a massive
amount of history that has been lost or fragmented, and there's always more being made that never makes it to the books
because of, again, that same bias.A more complete and thorough picture of history is of benefit to everyone, and if the way to achieve that is to
designate certain months or days as a time to look at that history, then I'm 100% for it.