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View Diary: "The Point isn’t That American Slavery is the Exact Moral or Material Equivalent of the Holocaust" (122 comments)

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  •  And that is partly done because people (8+ / 0-)

    don't know how else to teach history to five-year-olds.  

    I've heard that some alternative grade schools just don't teach history for that reason.  They don't want to lie -- "whitewash" -- but neither do they think small children can understand our real founding history of genocide and slavery.

    I don't have a problem with that.  My problem is that the answer to when people are ready to hear, "Our country was founded on racial extermination and human bondage, for the benefit of white, landed males.  (White women were the legal property of their male relatives)," seems to be "Never."

    •  Interesting (8+ / 0-)

      I agree that five years old is too young to examine genocide. I rather doubt that most five year olds could comprehend the concept.

      However it isn't too young to teach them that no one is a saint and that we all make mistakes. Creating an American "exceptionalist" mythology at that age, with a pantheon of American saints, is a mistake.

      Youngsters readily accept the imperfections of adults, even those they love and admire. There is nothing wrong with teaching very young students that although Jefferson had many admirable qualities, he was also a slave owner.

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 09:12:47 PM PST

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    •  Part of the problem (6+ / 0-)

      is that the 'standard' telling of history is from the perspective of white colonists. It is absolutely inappropriate to ask a five-year-old to identify with the perpetrators of genocide. U.S. history from the perspective of European colonists and their descendants is an ugly story with very few heroes.

      But if you look at the history from another angle - start with Native American and African history, and continue telling modern American history from the perspective of people of color. It's just as ugly, but it's told from the perspective of heroes and resistance fighters.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 11:18:00 PM PST

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