From Neil Armstrong and Christopher Columbus, to Benjamin Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt, the history taught in U.S. public (and I suspect in private) schools focuses overwhelmingly on the white people who have shaped our nations history. That history has been spun in such a way as to overlook the many horrific acts committed by white people since the founding of this country. In thinking back to what I learned in public school, the most barbaric event caused by white folks that I learned about was the Civil War. And that was a watered down, “the Civil War wasn’t fought completely over slavery” version (no amount of historical revisionism will change the fact that YES, it was fought over slavery). I recall learning about Christopher Columbus “discovering” this land, but not the rape and murder of Indigenous citizens at the hands of Columbus and his fellow colonists. I remember learning about various United States Presidents, but curiously, the fact that many of the early ones were slave owners was left out of teachings. I certainly never learned about the racialized history of policing in this country. In fact, in addition to the history of the United States being presented from an almost exclusively white perspective, it was also told in an overwhelmingly positive one.
When you look back at USAmerican history without the tinted glasses, however, you begin to realize that that history you were taught? It’s not so rosy after all. White people have indeed contributed to the shaping of this nation. They have performed many great deeds and been responsible for many important discoveries and inventions. They’ve also been responsible for some of the most heinous, vicious acts of brutality one can imagine (and some you don’t want to). Given that most people aren’t taught these unsavory aspects of USAmerican history AND given that so many people whine about a lack of a White History Month (bc public schools around the nation teaching a version of history that is biased in favor of white people and the positive contributions they’ve made isn’t enough), I figured what the heck. Let’s give ’em what they asked for. For a third (and probably not final) time:
Continue reading “Volume 3 of White History Month is here!”
Earlier this year, I found myself feeling bad for white people. It was February, and of course, that’s the one whole month that Black people get to celebrate our achievements, our history, and our accomplishments. Indigenous people get an entire month too: November. Hispanic people also get a full thirty days to celebrate their heritage, from Sept. 15-Oct. 15. But white people? Where is the month set aside for white folks to celebrate their heritage and history? I mean ok, sure, students in the public school system in the U.S. are taught about white explorers, white chemists, white mathematicians, white playwrights, white colonists, white artists, white politicians, white physicists, white cosmonauts, white inventors, and more (throughout the entire year), but where is the one month for honoring the history of white people in the United States? There is no month set aside for that! Not wanting white folks to feel like their history wasn’t being honored, I dug around and came up with a list of subjects that might be taught in a White History Month (since I knew that public schools already teach about the achievements, exploits, and inventions of white folks, I thought it would be a good idea to find lesser known historical examples that deserve recognition). As I completed it, I recognized that it still really wasn’t fair to white people. After all, Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and Native American Heritage Month have been recognized for 40 years, 28 years, and 26 years respectively. Thinking it might be a good idea to double up on White History Month to try and make up for the decades white folks have been deprived of a month set aside just for them, I decided to dig around for more examples of white history. And thus we have White History Month part 2 (I even gave white folks a specific month all their own):
Continue reading “White History Month, part 2”
It’s that time of year again-Black History Month. You know, that month of celebrations of the achievements, skills, accomplishments, and history of one of the largest ethnic groups in the United States. A group whose members do not typically learn of the historical accomplishments of their people in public schools or universities. A group comprised of people whose scientific and artistic achievements are not widely known by the general populace. A group that has traditionally experienced discrimination and marginalization in USAmerican culture. But I’m not here to talk about Black History Month. And why is that? Because it has come to my attention-again-that members of another racial group feel it is unfair that African-Americans get One Whole Month to discuss their history and accomplishments. Leave aside the fact that the history of this other racial group is taught in schools and colleges around the country as the default history. Never mind that the histories of African-Americans are considered ‘electives’, rather than part of the default discussion of U.S. history. None of that is important. What is important is that many members of this other group feel left out (marginalized, even) and believe they too, should get a month to honor their achievements. And who can tell them no? Not I. In fact, I feel kinda sad that white people don’t have an entire month to learn more about their history. It really isn’t fair. Therefore, in response to the calls for fairness that I’ve seen on Facebook and Twitter year, after year, after year, I give you White History Month. Enjoy! Continue reading “At last! White History Month is here!”