We Need to Take a Deeper Look at US History
Politics and Activism

We Need to Take a Deeper Look at US History

Things Weren't As Pretty As They Seem


In the United States we tend to take a lot of pride in being “the greatest nation on earth” or the “best country in the world”. While the U.S. has accomplished a lot of incredible things, sending a man to the moon, inventing great things like the lightbulb and the airplane, one area America shouldn’t always be prideful of is its history. Most Americans continue to insist that our nation is, and always was the “land of the free”, founded on the ideas of liberty and equality. But a quick dive into the truth of American history proves otherwise.

Now while most Americans know that slavery existed in the early years of the United States, few learn of its pervasive nature or the extent of its brutality. Few learn of the devastating failure of Reconstruction. How despite ostensibly being free, the pardoning of Confederates and lack of reparations left many blacks entrenched in poverty and stuck tenant farming the same farms they worked as slaves, while whites used violence and threats to suppress their ability to vote. Even fewer Americans know that our Constitution enshrined the slave trade for 20 years and only counted slaves in the South as 3/5ths of a person.

Some people try to excuse this as being "a product of the times” or saying that “that’s how the world worked back then” but that simply isn’t true. Dozens of countries outlawed slavery decades before the United States, through ways more humane than fighting a Civil War, or never allowed slavery at all. Even beyond slavery, America’s history is covered in dark spots we tend to glaze over. Consider World War II and the internment of Japanese Americans against their will and in violation of their rights. The Declaration of Independence labeling Native and Indigenous Americans as “savages”. The continual abuse of Native American Indians whether through unjust land acquisition, forced cultural assimilation through mission schools, or even slaughter in conflicts like the Dakota War. These events affect us today, whether we admit it or not, through events like the Dakota Access Pipeline and the perpetual racial violence criticized by Black Lives Matter. These events are manifestations of our past mistakes. Perhaps the reason we have been so unsuccessful in improving is because we have yet to reconcile with our past.

I recognize as a white male I’m in one of the most privileged places in society and will never understand the suffering oppressed groups have gone through. But I believe we all need to begin to look at American history not as something to blindly boast about. We need to begin to see America's true story, full of heartbreak, evil, and destruction, as well as moments of good and glorious victory. Until we understand our nations faults as much as its merits we will never be able to address the former or capitalize on the latter. All of our schools, universities, and even family dinner tables, need to become places not only of teaching about America's victories, but also of realistic and mature discussions over the flaws in America’s past.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

This Survey Shows How Quarantine And Drinking Relate, And I Can't Say I'm Surprised

"5 o'clock somewhere" is more of a guideline now than ever.

As it stands, and my friends and I are finally 21. We're extremely excited to be able to go out to bars and "get lit" as the kids say, but due to the pandemic, all of our plans have been put on hold. We'd rather wait and go when it's safe than risk spreading the infection and hurting our loved ones. So, we've all been quarantining apart, getting on the occasional wine zoom call. This made me wonder if anyone else our age were doing the same thing.

Then, I discovered this survey: We Surveyed Millennials And Gen Z About Their Quarantine Drinking Habits — Cheers. Here are 3 things that I discovered through the survey results.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Easy Summer Mocktail Recipes You Can Make With Items You Probably Already Have On-Hand

Keep these drinks in mind next time you're visiting your local farmer's market — you might want to grab some extra mint and limes.

With Summer 2020 in full swing comes the addition of many fresh fruits and vegetables to brighten up your dinner plate, but also your glass! Farmers markets are my personal favorite place to look for produce that is in season to make fun mocktails with.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Ways To Celebrate The 4th of July — Without Fireworks Or Social Gatherings

We created a list of things to do since social distancing may create a dent in our typical, planned traditions.

With the Fourth of July on Saturday, the usual tradition of popping fireworks, grilling out, and being surrounded by family has been modified due to the pandemic. Whether you're a loner or surrounded by family, there will most likely be some changes to your celebrations.

For weeks on social media, people across the country have been complaining that they have been subjected to fireworks going off at all times of the night into the early morning. This has sparked concern and questions about why this is happening and how are people even obtaining the fireworks.

Keep Reading... Show less

Carb And Cheese Lovers, Unite — These Are The Best Mac And Cheese Recipes On The Internet

Whether you need to get through the current pandemic or want to spice up your Fourth of July celebrations, these mac and cheese recipes will do just that.


My favorite food is mac and cheese, and it always has been. All it requires is noodles and cheese — it's so simple to make. Although it's my favorite, it can also get kind of mundane because it's such a simple recipe. This, of course, has led to many people all over the world experimenting with the American staple.

With our lives currently being turned upside down due to the pandemic, a lot of people are seeking comfort. These are scary times, and in order to make it day-to-day, we need to have our favorite foods as a standby. These recipes can also be used during your celebration of the Fourth of July.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

17 Things To Make You Feel GOOD This Week

Because some purchases are just necessary.

Y'all, we're struggling. You don't even have to tell me, I know. What a mess we're all in, right? This year is not going how we planned and the world has turned into one giant struggle bus. I guess you could be super philosophical about everything happening for a reason, but sometimes life is just hard.

There are plenty of ways to bring yourself out of whatever rut you're in. You could go for a run, have a snack, or read a book. Or, if you're really looking for an adrenaline rush, go shopping. This is obviously not going to solve the world's problems with one swift click of the "checkout" button, but hey, it may just give you the little boost you need today.

Keep Reading... Show less

- Blissfully unaware that butt-care beyond squats was even something I should be considering in my self-care routine, I tried one of Bawdy Beauty's butt masks for the first time a month ago.

- I've never really given my butt a second though till I took a look at improvements that could be made with the mask — if one of the hydrating, firming, detoxifying, or brightening masks in the kit I received could either smooth out cellulite or tone my skin a bit more, I wasn't going to complain.

- Each Bawdy Beauty sheet mask comes in an individually-packaged sheet, soaked with a serum I massaged into my skin after removing said sheet. The clay butt mask comes in a convenient stick format I simply draw on to my skin and leave to set for about 10 minutes before hopping into the shower.

- I set a goal of committing myself to butt-care every day for one month. Between the regular use of sheet masks, clay masks, and their CBD Butt Balm in between, I didn't have many expectations.

- I thought the whole concept may just be a gimmick, but my butt has never looked so toned in my life, and the cellulite I had is almost completely gone. I wear one every single day when I get the chance.

I'm incredibly skeptical when it comes to marketing ploys and gimmicks in the beauty world. I'll be the first cynic to try out the latest serum on the market every influencer is raving about just to negate every grandiose claim it makes.

Keep Reading... Show less

Friends, you don't have to be quarantined to use a personal massager, you know? Because, sure, quarantine made for a lot of extra quality time with yourself, but no matter what phase of the reopening process you're in, it's normal and actually healthy to take care of your sexual needs on your own.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Books I Didn't Realize Are About Gay Women

If you read primarily LGBTQ fiction, then this list might help to expand your TBR list.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Frequent readers of LGBTQ fiction might feel like they're reading the same book over and over again, with few exceptions.

Most of these books were on my TBR list for months and I didn't realize they were about gay women until I was reading them, hopefully, this list of books can interest you in expanding your reading material and seeking out different stories.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments