Stop thinking. Yes you, stop, don’t think, not even a little bit. Because if you do, you might think for yourself, and then where will we all be? Not in Oklahoma if lawmakers have their way. Allegedly, their AP history course is under scrutiny for being “unpatriotic” as it refuses to gloss over some of our, well, less “all men are created equal” days. And we have a lot of them. There’s manifest destiny, slavery, WWII internment camps, the roundup of our Native Americans, Tuskegee, and so many more. We can either come to terms with that and learn from our mistakes, or ignore it, and continue to make them.
Context is everything, and the way an individual gains a sense of context is through history. Although history is not often a favorite among students, it is often because they are inundated with dates and lose the concept of how history has shaped everything around us. Real history is exciting, it’s forged by war, betrayal, assassinations, crazy individuals, inventions, and above all, learning. The thing is, it’s not always pretty to look at your own country’s history, because there are a lot of mistakes. Anyone who has ever thought back on things they’ve done, said, or written(oh my god the stupidity!) can understand this, but that goes for the country as well. There are many shameful pieces of history no matter where you’re from. Ignoring them will only be cause to repeat the same mistakes and hinder our ability to learn through context. As they say, de-Nile isn’t just a river in Egypt, and there’s a lot of great material there when you look at the downright insane things some of the pharaohs tried, or roman emperors, or kings, and yes, even presidents.
School, especially advanced placement or AP courses are geared to prepare students for the rigors of college classes. These students are expected to think critically, complete more work, and then take an AP test to gain college credit towards their future education. School is not a place for indoctrination, it is a place to learn, and furthermore, to learn to think. American society has been swinging to the wrong end of the education pendulum for quite some time. If you educate individuals, you have a nation of educated people, better formed to make coherent decisions. Otherwise you have worker ants, ready only to answer to their glorious leader…oh wait…wrong country.
By: Courtney Kidd, LMSW
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