Reader: There's No Way to Put a Positive Spin on Slavery and Segregation
Our assorted posts about a teacher sickout and student protests against the Jefferson County School Board have gotten our readers talking in a big way. Some have spoken in favor of a merit-based pay system that the teachers' union dislikes, but most ripped any attempt to make history instruction more patriotism-friendly by downplaying negative events from America's past. Here's an example of the latter.
Selena Thiele writes:
What can be more patriotic than standing up against something they think is (and in my opinion, absolutely is) wrong? Some of the most memorable and relate-able moments in our history are because people saw something wrong and started standing up. That's a big part of how the Revolutionary War began (though ignoring economic and other factors is also wrong), so in many ways, civil disobedience is one of the founding principals of our country. Let's face it, there's not a way to make slavery or segregation into a 'positive' thing, but it teaches us an important lesson -- that governments are made up of people and sometimes people are wrong. That things can change for the better though if enough people make a stand (which maybe what the Jeffco school board is really scared of). There's questionable actions in everyone's history. Trying to whitewash Hiroshima does everyone a disservice when it could instead encourage some serious critical thinking -- obviously ending World War II was a good thing, but at what point do the ends justify the means? If The Bomb hadn't been dropped, what would likely have happened? It gives students a chance to really think through some hard decisions, decisions that inevitably our nation will face again. Our government isn't perfect, the Founding Fathers knew it wouldn't be, hence giving us ways to change. Trying to convince students that the government has never made mistakes is probably the least patriotic thing they could do.
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