In the realm of politics, education is always up for debate. Some say there are benefits to critical thinking, social skills and a wealth of knowledge while others say these things aren’t important to a free and just society.
In February, the Oklahoma House of Representatives Education Committee voted to ban Advanced Placement U.S. History courses.
It’s not the first or last attack on education from the Capitol.
Consider why leaders want a populace to be ignorant of its history or want to repress exploration of history. The results are pathetically demonstrated across our culture.
When protests occurred in Baltimore and Ferguson, armchair social critics fixated on people breaking windows and casually dismissed the systemic abuse of authority that has left citizens murdered at the hands of those sworn to protect them. They asserted destruction only hurts a cause and it can’t change anything.
This is what happens when you don’t consider American history. For those who say destruction of property is an unsuitable form of protest and changes nothing, I have three words for you — Boston Tea Party. Maybe you’ve heard of it.
When I hear media’s famous talking heads assert that America’s laws are absolutely sacred — and see those words regurgitated all over social media — I ask if there was a single point in our history in which law was not ridiculously lopsided toward persecuting the vulnerable and benefitting the powerful.
Our history is replete with faux pas such as land grabs, wholesale murder and people-ownership, all carried out under the protection of law.
We’ve been wise to admit these were mistakes and abandon these practices. So it worries me to hear sentiments like, “take our country back,” or “restore this nation to its former glory.” People saying such things either have no understanding of history or they aren’t concerned with the equal rights and equal protections our Constitution offers.
Do people feel the same about current events as they do about historical events or does rhetoric keep them from thinking about history at all?
Are there people who say that Crispus Attucks was a “thug,” who would have had no problem if he would just obey the law? Do people look back through time and shout at Paul Revere to cut his hair, get a job and stop antagonizing or disrupting the work of the authorities?
People who ask what the world is coming to or say “the world is falling apart” might want to consider what the world has been like before. If you want real freedom and justice, you’ve got to understand there will be profound social change from time to time. Sometimes, it’s going to make the comfortable pretty uncomfortable. This is how it’s always been; the evidence is all over our history.
You can’t celebrate historical events and shame social change in your own time — unless of course, you’ve got a vested interest in keeping constituents frightened of current social change and ignorant of their history.
Don’t trust anyone who seeks to control your history. Learn it and determine what side of it you want to be on.