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John Oliver Examines Why U.S. “History” Varies So Wildly From State to State – Slate


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John Oliver undertook the thrilling job of condensing centuries of American racism right into a 28-minute section onClosing Week Tonightthis week. “George Floyd’s execute has compelled a worrying nationwide dialog about this nation’s exhibit, which is extraordinarily now not going to complete efficiently with out re-analyzing its previous,” he acknowledged on the head of the section. Fortunately, Americans are taught an glowing and nuanced accounting of our nation’s historic previous, devour that slaves had “an enormous frolic” after their masters threw them a picnic or that some slaves had been “factual workers” whereas others had been “idle and disobedient.” Wait, what?!

For the reason that U.S. has no nationwide necessities for social evaluation, the model of historic previous that school college students are taught is essentially left as lots as specific particular person categorical mandates. And primarily based on a CBS article cited by Oliver, “seven states give up no longer instantly point out slavery of their categorical necessities, handiest two point out white supremacy, whereas 16 guidelines states’ rights as a motive of the Civil Struggle.” Fortunately, now we get grasp of a British dreary-evening host to mannequin up for the embarrassing gaps in most Americans’ recordsdata of our bear nation’s previous.

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To complete that, Oliver highlights three regular errors in instructing American historic previous. First is our refusal to completely acknowledge the historic previous of white supremacy in The US. 2nd is the power and unsuitable framing of American progress “as if it end up to be as soon as constantly and inevitably upward,” which permits most folk to deem they might get grasp of supported the Underground Railroad whereas concurrently disapproving of standard civil disobedience. Finally, Oliver components out our lack of functionality to join the dots from the previous to our exhibit on chronicle of it supposedly politicizes historic previous. TheClosing Week Tonighthost absolutely acknowledges that historic previous ought to be taught in an age-acceptable system, which functionality that third-graders doubtlessly shouldn’t hear Lee Atwater’s 1981 speech on the Southern Strategy. Nonetheless that doesn’t imply glossing over the grotesque bits, each. As Oliver says, “Ignoring the historic previous you don’t devour isn’t a victimless act.”

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