Columbus Bloodwork

Topics: History, Historian, World War II Pages: 2 (778 words) Published: September 8, 2014
The Ideological Choice

History. Simply explained, history can be resumed as “the study of past events”. Crammed into every education system, history is required in every single school (ranging from elementary, middle, or high schools; even including universities). Unfortunately, what they teach in history might not always be exactly what happened. Sometimes inaccurate accounts of past history are due to bias in historiography. Most often this can be due to a historian’s bias of favoring one side of the story because agrees with their personal, cultural, or just general interests. To give a specific example on the issue, Howard Zinn, an American historian, stated this about Columbus-era explorers and navigators: “To emphasize the heroism of Columbus and his successors as navigators and discovers, and to deemphasize their genocide, is not a technical necessity but an ideological choice. It serves -unwittingly- to justify what was done.” The essence of Zinn’s quote is definitely a fundamental truth; people accept what benefits them more and attempt to hide what doesn’t. Zinn was displeased in the way history was being told and took action into pointing out the whole truth. Historians should understand Zinn’s position on the topic and follow his example.

Zinn addresses the issue in an accurate matter by acknowledging that emphasizing on Columbus’ discoveries and positive contributions in order to over-shade his negative and somewhat cruel actions is not NECESSARY but to most people the ideal choice. Zinn himself does not agree on the way Columbus is portrayed in modern history books being taught to children today. Zinn states: “My point is not that we must, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn Columbus in absentia. It is too late for that; it would be useless scholarly exercise in morality. But the easy acceptance of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay for progress (Hiroshima and Vietnam, to save Western civilization; Kronstadt and...
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