I’ll admit, the headline of the article is click-bait. It’s meant to cause controversy, because controversy means more clicks, which means more money for the website.
Regardless of that fact, the article brings up an important issue. And one that bothers me a lot.
Why is it that confronting erroneous information in a school is considered disruptive? School, particularly high school, is meant to encourage critical thinking skills. It’s meant to teach a child not to just blindly accept the information they are given, but to actually think about it and research truth.
Oh, I forgot, our political system has gutted that intention and meaning, because our politicians want dumb sheep following their every piece of propaganda.
I’ve said it before, I’m proud to be a citizen of the U.S.A. HOWEVER, that does not mean that I don’t acknowledge the atrocities and intentional damage that we as a nation have committed. I don’t hide the poor choices of my ancestors, or the history of our nation – I don’t whitewash it.
Why should I whitewash it? America is NOT the only country in the world that has caused atrocities, that has done shameful things. Every nation, back to the dawn of the ability to write (and even before) has done horrible things – not only to other nations, but to citizens of their own country.
And why would a TEACHER who is supposed to encourage critical thinking in their students feel so attacked that they would punish a child who is exhibiting such critical thinking? It’s a teachable moment, to encourage other students to think for themselves.
Personally, instead of telling the child she is wrong, or punishing her – I would ask her to show me her references. Ask her to write a paper on the exact issue she is confronting, showing her research in a bibliography. And if she (or any other student) wishes to write such a paper, they should get extra credit for it.
Why is it so many teachers – particularly history teachers – seem to be unwilling to accept the fact that our knowledge of the past is sometimes only theory? That as time goes on, our understanding of key points in history changes. Sometimes it is because more information comes to light (such as the private papers of a key figure in history being found in someone’s attic). Sometimes it is because proof that shows some historical “fact” to be a lie pops up.
Anyone who is a student of history knows that history is written by the victors. It’s why most historians find the Roman (primarily Julius Caesar’s writings) history of the Celts to be suspect. Much of what the Romans wrote was to convince the “people at home” to send more money to keep the conquering going.
When information comes to light from the losing side, it does require that we – the descendants – need to revise our understanding of those periods.
Black history is one of those things. For much of the time since the Civil War, the writings of people of color were kept fairly private, shared among the community, but not with many of the “majority” of people. And some of that information stayed oral, because some of the individuals had never learned to write.
Same thing with Native Americans. There’s a whole rich history there that the supposed “majority of whites” have no clue about, because they don’t want to put in the time and energy to learn and understand.
One of the reasons I’m proud to be an American is because there ARE some of us who do take the time to learn about and understand the other cultures that we each come from. With America being that “melting pot” that it is supposed to be, acknowledging our differences is not supposed to put us at each others’ throats. Differences in ethnicity doesn’t stop just because someone’s ethnicity doesn’t come from a specific area in Europe. We are strengthened by our diversity, not destroyed by it.
There’s been bitching about “speak American” for centuries, damned near since the building of our nation. The Christian church I grew up in still had German services until around WWII (although, there were still some around rarely when I converted away from it). Italians, Irish, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Scottish – it doesn’t matter. The current complaints about the varied immigrants we’ve gotten in the last 50 years are just a repetition of the same.
I applaud this child’s mother. Her daughter is obviously not being taught critical thinking skills in school, so she is teaching her daughter those necessary skills at home. She and her daughter should be role models, not punished.