2007年9月14日星期五

[English] Lies My Teacher Told Me


Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen

I would have to say it was a shock for me after finishing reading the book. Although I’ve only studied U.S. history for one year in high school, I did noticed that US’s view of history is very different from Taiwan’s view of history or the rest of the world. For example, I remember when I was in Taiwan. When it comes about the WWII, In Taiwan, I think we give a fair amount of details of both events, Pearl Harbor and Nuclear Bomb in Japan. After all, it wasn’t our war so we don’t have any obligation to say the fact. However, my Japanese friend was so shocked when she learned about Pearl Harbor and its cruelness in history class in the US. She said that she could feel the entire classroom was filled with grief, anger and hate when learning that lesson. She said that she never knew so many details when she was studying in Japan because in Japanese textbook, they focus so much on nuclear bomb. And even more surprising to her was while Pearl Harbor is a good five pages with plenty of texts and images in the US textbook, the nuclear bomb was only a couple sentences.

Loewen suggested that US history textbook promotes patriotism in a deceiving way. The textbook always mentions how great the US became and how strong and brave the Americans are. He researched the history textbook names. Almost all the textbooks have title such as, “Triumph to the Great Nation” or “Rise the United States,” instead of just plain, “ U.S. History” like any other subjects. You don’t see “Triumph to the Molecules” as a title for Biology, right?

He also said the textbook focuses on the things that are truly important. Everyone knows Helen Keller. Most people knew her as the little girl who was deaf and bland. We knew that she worked hard and finally spelled the word, “water.” Everyone heard the story. However, our knowledge of Helen Keller stopped when she was 10 years old. Most people don’t know she led one of the greatest social movements for women, deaf and bland. Her work as feminist and socialist is way more important in history than her as a little girl. However, Loewen pointed out no one single textbook from his research mentioned that.

He then started to talk about racism issues in the textbook. NONE. There is no mentioning about racism in textbook whatsoever. Did you know Christopher Columbus was a bloody killer to the American Indians and he actually didn’t find America? Did you know Abraham Lincoln was actually a racist himself and the real reason he wanted to banish slavery? All those shocking truths weren’t learned by the American teens.

At the end, he proposed that the US history textbook is like a government propaganda. I think every country is like that, too. We don’t want to teach anything we don’t want our children to learn.

Loewen’s Official Website http://www.uvm.edu/~jloewen/

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tag: Lies My Teacher Told Me, James Loewen, American History, American high school, 美國歷史, Abraham Lincoln, 林肯

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