Lies My Teacher Told Me

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“Gone With the Wind”: The Invisibility of Racism in American History Textbooks

“More Americans have learned the story of the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind than from all of the learned volumes on this period” -Warren Beck and Myles Clowers

The book Lies My Teacher Told Me was written by James Loewen. I choose to read Chapter 5: “Gone with the Wind”: The Invisibility of Racism in American History Textbooks. The chapters that I read discussed how in many of the American History Textbooks, that many young students use and read throughout their education do not discuss slavery or racism. In this chapter the author stated how many books will discreetly mention slavery and the conditions of the slaves but there are no names to slave owners. He also discusses that many people get their ideals of slavery from stories such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beacher Stowe and Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. With Americans using these books as their knowledge of slavery they are contradicting to each other. Uncle Tom’s Cabin portrays the worst and most horrific conditions for slaves such as the whippings, lashings and disrespect that they would get from not only their owners but the head farm hand on the plantation. While the book portrays the horrible triumphs that slaves went through it is a fictional book and not a biography which is not helpful because it can be hard to decipher what is truthful and what was made fictional. Gone With the Wind on the other and was also a fictional but this story painted a prettier picture of slavery for its readers. In this book it showed that the owners cared for their slaves and treated them as if they were part of the family. These “two books tell very different stories: Uncle Tom’s Cabin presents slavery as an evil to be opposed, while Gone With the Wind suggest that slavery was an ideal social structure whose passing is to be lamented” [ (Loewen, 1995) ]. Our...
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