Lies My Teacher Told Me Heroification

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Ashley Walker
Mr. Scott
INTD 101-18: The Art of Seduction
29 September 2011
A False History
James Loewen uses his piece Lies my Teacher Told Me to reveal the flaws in America’s mainstream textbooks. Loewen points out the fact that textbooks try to “indoctrinate blind patriotism” (Loewen 6) and “keep students in the dark about the nature of history” (Loewen 8). Almost every American textbook sells history using the “soft seduction” approach, as explained in Robert Greene’s book, The Art of Seduction. Textbooks try to seduce Americans into being proud of their country by making American historical figures look like heroes, like in the case of Helen Keller, Woodrow Wilson, and Christopher Columbus. “Heroification” (Loewen 11) has a negative effect on American textbooks because it gives students a false impression of their country’s history. A prime example of the “heroification” process is Helen Keller, is a famous historical figure that Loewen ironically claims “has been made mute by history” (Loewen 13). When college students were surveyed, very few students knew anything about Helen Keller beyond the fact that she was deaf and blind. Loewen reveals that Helen Keller was a radical socialist who was very involved with politics. Keller conducted research revealing that blindness was concentrated in the lower class because of poor working conditions and less medical care. She also worked to help the American Civil Liberties Union and fought for woman’s suffrage. American textbooks leave out the fact that Helen Keller was a radical because most people do not agree with her socialist views. Textbook writers are following a basic technique of soft seduction by stirring basic emotions (Greene 444). Loewen quotes an educational movie about Helen Keller’s life that states: The gift of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan to the world is to constantly remind us of the wonder of the world around us and how much we owe those who taught us what it mean, for there...
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