In school students are required to take at least three years of history and usually in those classes it is being taught by someone who is just teaching the biased textbook that is assigned. By reading whatever the textbook is saying and adding no nuance to what you are teaching you are leaving out important information that will affect the way that students think and perceive situations. When students are being taught just a small portion of history it is left upon the students of color who actually know what happened to explain the truth to those who don’t know which can be uncomfortable and awkward.
When talking about things like the civil war and slavery, textbooks and teachers tend to use polite the words and petty excuses for the actions of the theses people and leave out important detail so it makes it hard for students to understand just who gruesome it was. In an article published by The Atlantic written by Alia Wong she says “Take the way we talk about the Civil War, for example. A lot of people will say that the war grew out of disputes about tariffs and taxes; many others say it had to do with states’ rights. Well, it’s quite the contrary—the southern states seceded so they could uphold slavery.” (Wong). This misconception is something that is being taught in schools all the time and plenty of students believe it and it is not true. This false truth that many people still believe to this day makes it harder for people to realize that at one point America was a villain and not the good guy.
In an article written by a student activist Lauryn Donanvan she talks about her experience when in classrooms students have to look at history from others perspectives that are dismissed. She often finds herself in an uncomfortable situation when this happens stating “As one of the only Black students in my classes, I usually find myself giving the Black perspective or having to advocate for people of color. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to explain my personal experience or call out flaws in our history curriculum when I’m faced with someone who’s playing the devil’s advocate”(Donovan). Due To her classmates’ ignorance on racial issues she has to step up and help everyone else understand what things are like from a person of color’s perspective because of how often it is completely ignored.
In schools when the history curriculum being given to teachers is extremely biased and sugar coated it gives students a very spotty recollection of history that makes it hard for them to acknowledge America’s wrongdoing. It also makes it harder to sympathize and understand just how bad slavery was because they don’t know everything that happened and it is left upon students who are aware of what happened to explain to the students who don’t.
Donovan, Lauryn. “When History Class Feels like Propaganda: A Student’s Perspective (Opinion).” Education Week, Education Week, 29 June 2021, https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/opinion-when-history-class-feels-like-propaganda-a-students-perspective/2021/01.
Wong, Alia. “How History Classes Helped Create a ‘Post-Truth’ America.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 23 Aug. 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/08/history-education-post-truth-america/566657/.