15. “If textbooks recognized Lincoln’s racism, students would learn that racism not only affects Ku Klux Klan extremists but has been “normal” throughout our history. And as they watched Lincoln struggle with himself to apply America’s democratic principles across the color line, students would see how ideas can develop and a person can grow.”
17. “Most textbook authors protect us from a racist Lincoln. By doing so, they diminish students’ capacity to recognize racism as a force in American life. For if Lincoln could be racist, then so might the rest of us be. And if Lincoln could transcend racism, as he did on occasion, then so might the rest of us.”
30. “Whether one deems our present society wondrous or awful or both, history reveals how we arrived at this point. Understanding our past is central to our ability to understand ourselves and the world around us. We need to know our history, and according to sociologist C. Wright Mills, we know we do.8.”
35. “Textbooks in American history stand in sharp contrast to other teaching materials. Why are history textbooks so bad? Nationalism is one of the culprits. Textbooks are often muddled by the conflicting desires to promote inquiry and to indoctrinate blind patriotism. “Take a look in your history book, and you’ll see why we should be proud” goes an anthem often sung by high school glee clubs. But we need not even look inside.”
41. “Other lakes get similar treatment. According to Michigan markers, whites discovered Lake Michigan, Lake St. Clair, and Lake Superior. Lake Erie gets a more complex marker: “Named for the Erie Indians, this was the last of the Great Lakes discovered by white men... ” Actually, none of them was discovered by white men, but this marker at least admits that Native Americans existed and implies they knew of Lake Erie.”
43. “The opposite of racism is antiracism, of course, or what we might call racial idealism or equalitarianism, and it is still not clear whether it will prevail. In this struggle, our history textbooks offer little help. Just as they underplay white racism, they also neglect racial idealism. In doing so, they deprive students of potential role models to call upon as they try to bridge the new fault lines that will spread out in the future from the great rift in our past.”
44. “When you see a roadside marker, take in what it tells but also ask, how might this be wrong? One giveaway is the use of qualifying phrases introducing statements of fact, as in: “According to tradition... ” or “According to the legislature... ” Visitors can count on the rest of such sentences to be unsubstantiated.”
45. “It is always useful to think badly about people one has exploited or plans to exploit... No one likes to think of him or herself as a bad person. To treat badly another person whom we consider a reasonable human being creates a tension between act and attitude that demands resolution. We cannot erase what we have done, and to alter our future behavior may not be in our interest. To change our attitude is easier.”
47. “Indian history is the antidote to the pious ethnocentrism of American exceptionalism, the notion that European Americans are God’s chosen people. Indian history reveals that the United States and its predecessor British colonies have wrought great harm in the world. We must not forget this – not to wallow in our wrongdoing, but to understand and to learn, that we might not wreak harm again.”
48. “By downplaying covert and illegal acts by the government, textbook authors narcotize students from thinking about such issues as the increasing dominance and secrecy of the executive branch. By taking the government’s side, textbooks encourage students to conclude that criticism is incompatible with citizenship.”
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