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James W. Loewen Quotes

James W. Loewen Quote: “History is important. More than any other topic, it is about us. Whether one deems our present society wondrous or awful or both, history reveals how we got to this point.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “People have a right to their own opinions, but not to their own facts. Evidence must be located, not created, and opinions not backed by evidence cannot be given much weight.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “Students will start finding history interesting when their teachers and textbooks stop lying to them.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “The antidote to feel-good history is not feel-bad history but honest and inclusive history.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “Those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat the eleventh grade.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “It is always useful to think badly about people one has exploited or plans to exploit.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “When textbooks make racism invisible in American history, they obstruct our already poor ability to see it in the present.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “If you truly want students to take an interest in American history, then stop lying to them.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “There is a reciprocal relationship between truth about the past and justice in the present. When we achieve justice in the present, remedying some past event or practice, then we can face it and talk about it more openly, precisely because we have made it right. It has become a success story.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “He is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. – FREDERICK DOUGLASS.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “History is furious debate informed by evidence and reason.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “Textbooks should show that neither morality nor immorality can simply be conferred upon us by history. Merely being part of the United States, without regard to our own acts and ideas, does not make us moral or immoral beings. History is more complicated than that.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “We preach democracy while supporting dictatorships.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “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.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “Very few adults today realize that our society has been slave much longer than it has been free.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “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.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “The duty of the historian,” Gordon Craig has reminded us, “is to restore to the past the options it once had.” Craig also pointed out that this is an appropriate way to teach history and to make it memorable.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “Merely being part of the United States, without regard to our own acts and ideas, does not make us moral or immoral beings. History is more complicated than that.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “At this point the judge took over the questioning. “Didn’t lynchings happen in Mississippi?” he asked. Yes, admitted the rating committee member, but it was all so long ago, why dwell on it now? “It is a history book, isn’t it?” asked the judge.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “Not only do textbooks fail to blame the federal government for its opposition to the civil rights movement, many actually credit the government, almost single-handedly, for the advances made during the period.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “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.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “Cherishing Columbus is a characteristic of white history, not American history.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “As Benjamin Franklin put it, “No European who has tasted Savage Life can afterwards bear to live in our societies.”48.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “Unfortunately, marketing textbooks is like marketing fishing lures: the point is to catch fishermen, not fish. Thus many adopted textbooks are flashy to catch the eye of adoption committees but dull when read by students.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “Patriotism can flourish only where racism and nationalism are given no quarter. We should never mistake patriotism for nationalism. A patriot is one who loves his homeland. A nationalist is one who scorns the homelands of others. – JOHANNES RAU.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “Old myths never die – they just become embedded in the textbooks. – THOMAS BAILEY.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “History through red eyes offers our children a deeper understanding than comes from encountering the past as a story of inevitable triumph by the good guys.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “It would be better not to know so many things than to know so many things that are not so. -Josh Billings.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “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.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions,” Helen Keller pointed out. “Conclusions are not always pleasant.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “After the Fact, a book for college history majors in which they emphasize that history is not a set of facts but a series of arguments, issues, and controversies.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “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.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “On Ho Chi Minh’s desk in Hanoi on the day he died lay a biography of John Brown.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “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.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “When students are not asked to assess, but only to remember, they do not learn how to assess or how to think for themselves.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “History, despite its wrenching pain, Cannot be unlived, and if faced With courage, need not be lived again. – MAYA ANGELOU1.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “Americans need to learn from the Wilson era, that there is a connection between racist presidential leadership and like-minded public response.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “Conclusions are not always pleasant.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “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.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “Could it be that we don’t want to think badly of Woodrow Wilson? We seem to feel that a person like Helen Keller can be an inspiration only so long as she remains uncontroversial, one-dimensional. We don’t want complicated icons. “People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions,” Helen Keller pointed out. “Conclusions are not always pleasant.”41 Most of us automatically shy away from conflict, and understandably so. We particularly seek to avoid conflict in the classroom.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “Columbus not only sent the first slaves acroiss the Atlantic, he sent more slaves than any other individual.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “Critical thinking requires assembling data to back up one’s opinion. Otherwise students may falsely conclude that all opinions are somehow equal.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “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.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “Rethinking Our Past: Recognizing Facts, Fiction, and Lies in American History Social Science in the Courtroom.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “Ironically, societies characterized by a complex division of labor are often marked by inequality and support large specialized armies. Precisely these “civilized” societies are likely to resort to savage violence in their attempts to conquer “primitive” societies.22.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “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.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “By 1970, exclusion was so complete that fewer than 500 black families lived in white suburban neighborhoods in the entire Chicago metropolitan area, and most of those were in just five or six suburbs.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “K-12 teachers. Many work in classrooms for as many as thirty-five hours a week; on top of that they must assign, read, and comment on homework, prepare and grade exams, and develop next week’s lesson plans.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “We jettisoned our medical practices of the 1780s while retaining the Constitution. But Native American medicinal practitioners who abandon their traditional ways to embrace pasteurization from France and antibiotics from England are seen as compromising their Indian-ness. We can alter our modes of transportation or housing while remaining “American”. Indians cannot and stay “Indian” in our eyes.”
James W. Loewen Quote: “The Truth can set us free.”
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