We Need To Teach The Truth About America's History

We Need To Teach The Truth About America's History

While there are so many great aspects to our nation, it's unrealistic to deny the dark history that has taken place in our country.
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I'm 21 years old and I've spent 18 of those years in school. I've spent far more time receiving an education than not, as have many of my peers, and those teachings have been critical in making me the individual I am today. However, the older I grow and more life experiences I have, the more I am recognizing that not everything I have learned is true. I'm surrounded by individuals who have gone to different schools, had different educators and learned things that vary from the information that was taught to me.

Who decides what we learn and how we learn it? If two students learn different material, whose knowledge is "right?" It's important to recognize the bias that permeates our education system and to continue to question the material we learn in order to validate it.

Take, for example, the subject of history. It's so important to communicate history in order to prepare for a better future. It's also important to recognize that history is not always positive. Who decides and writes the history that we are taught and our children will be taught? My personal education was informative in teaching about the errors of other nations, but it portrayed the actions of the United States in a positive light. Though there are so many great aspects to our nation, it's unrealistic to deny the dark history that has taken place in our country.

“The Atlantic Slave Trade between the 1500s and 1800s brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations.”

McGraw Hill printed this caption in their copy of a World Geography textbook that over 150,000 Texas students received that year. Many of those students even mistook the caption for the truth. In a society so diverse, where each family teaches different truths, it is the role of the education system to provide an honest, realistic portrayal of the history of our nation, so that each individual can learn consistently. Although McGraw Hill, upon complaint, instantly apologized regarding their mischaracterization of slavery, the damage was already set in place.

I had my own eye-opening experience regarding history education. I went to a well-off high school in Cary, North Carolina where I took various history classes. I then attended NC State University, where I took a life-changing course entitled Interdependence and Race. In the course, I read the book "Blood Done Sign My Name." Written by Timothy Tyson, the book was a recollection of growing up in North Carolina during Jim Crow laws and intense racial turmoil. The book opened my eyes to the real history of the state that I grew up in. It changed my life.

I took various history courses, but I never learned about the Wilmington race riots. I thought I learned about segregation, but I wasn't informed that it extended so much further than merely having separate water fountains and bus seats. Hidden from my knowledge was the gory truth of violence, of discrimination, of brutal police and societal injustice.

Hidden from me was the true history of my hometown, of my state, and of my nation.

I wasn't the only one having this reaction. My fellow students, upon learning this information, were appalled. Many cried. Anger, frustration, disappointment, and confusion took over as we attempted to make sense of the discrepancies between the knowledge imparted to us and the actual truth.

America is a great nation. It is a melting pot of different cultures whose melange serves to diversify our strengths and form an even stronger society for generations to come. America also has its faults.

By withholding the true accounts of history and censoring the knowledge imparted to students, our educators and schools systems are doing this country and its people a great disservice. Each state fears imparting knowledge upon its citizens that illustrates negative aspects of that region. As a whole, the United States education systems seek to overlook the dark history that outlines our past as a nation, while focusing on the negative aspects of other countries.

During my time in high school, I couldn't tell you many specifics regarding North Carolina's history. All I really knew about slavery was that there were good people that tried to stop it and that Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. were instrumental in the movement towards equality. I was taught that Japanese internment camps were once a thing, but they really weren't that brutal, a detail that I have come to realize is far from the truth.

I was also taught the gory, upsetting details of the Holocaust. I knew all about both World Wars, and the negative aspects of each of our non-ally nations. I was taught so much regarding the mistakes made by other countries, all while wearing a blindfold toward my own.

It's time to tell the truth. In order to move forward and fortify our diverse, multiracial nation, we need to practice what we preach in regards to justice and the truth and humbly recognize the dark parts of American history. Slavery, racism, Native American genocide, Japanese oppression, gender inequality--these are all topics that need to be recognized, taught and analyzed so that future generations are educated enough to refrain from making such mistakes. Attempting to erase our history is not going to be an effective way of moving forward as a nation. Education is what will help to eradicate bigotry and prejudice from our society, but it is only effective when the information relayed is entirely truthful, displaying the good and the bad for students to learn from.

Knowledge is power. There are some hard times ahead, but with proper understanding, we can find the strength to overcome and progress. We have eradicated racial discrimination from our laws, but the after-effects of inequality plague us still today.

Only the truth can set us free.

Cover Image Credit: static.memrise.com

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Our Leaders Need A 'Time-Out'

We all learned a few essential rules as children.

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As I look watch the news, I can't help but wonder if the lessons we learned as children might not serve our leaders well. They seem to have forgotten these basic lessons. I am reminded of the book by Robert Fulghum "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten."

Watch out, hold hands, and stick together.

I think this could be useful in a couple of different contexts. First, the current divisiveness in the country doesn't serve us well. We are first and foremost, a part of the family of humankind. Differences in politics, religion, and so on come in far behind that one important attribute. What happened to the notion of agreeing to disagree?

Second, when leaders get off a plane in another country, they should remember who they came with and who they represent - "watch out, hold hands, and stick together."

Clean up your own mess.

Trump seems to take great pleasure in blaming everyone else for their "mess." The government shutdown was someone else's fault – any Democrat. When the stock market went up, he happily took credit, but when it went down, he quickly shifted gears and placed the blame on the Federal Reserve Chairman. Daily and hourly tweets out of the White House place blame on someone else for his "mess." Sadly, he still likes to blame Obama and Hillary for his mess.

Don't lie.

Politicians have always had a bad reputation when it comes to honesty. Still, the number of lies that we hear from Trump (and members of his staff) is unprecedented even for a politician.

We all learned these lessons when we were little more than five years old. Now more than any time in history I think our leaders need a " time out" to re-learn these lessons.

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