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Lies My Teacher Told Me

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Lies My Teacher Told Me

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  • September 2007
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James W. Loewen wrote the book "Lies My Teacher Told Me" to help students understand the past of the United States, and how it is effecting the present. "Lies My Teacher Told Me" examines 12 various American history text books, and points out the various lies, flaws, and sugar coated stories the text books present. Loewen explains how textbooks practice heroification, and how race and race relations are a major issue when it comes to American history. Among these topics, Loewen also sheds light on the truth about social classes in America, and how textbooks lie about the past and try to avoid the recent past all together. Among the many flaws American history textbooks have, one that stands out above the rest is heroification. Heroification is, according to Loewen "A generative process that makes people over into heroes.(pg 19)". Through heroification national heroes (such as Christopher Columbus) are always portrayed as perfect individuals, with only the best intentions and absolutely no flaws. Textbooks use heroification to inspire, and instate a sense of national pride in students. Though it may instate a sense of national pride in students, it does not present the truth. Heroification leaves out important facets of these "heroes" lives, and only presents trivial melodramatic details. By doing this students will never really fully understand why our "heroes" did what they did, and will never know the truth. Race and race relations has always played a major role in the history of America, though it is vaguely misinterpreted. One example of this is Reconstruction. For decades, history textbooks have been presenting reconstruction as a failed attempt to resolve the issues of the civil war, due to white corruption and black ineptitude. When in reality, reconstruction failed due to white southern racist terrorism against blacks and white anti-racists. Another example is the Indian. American history textbooks portray Indians as savage people with no forms of...

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