The Lies My Teacher Told Analysis

1114 Words5 Pages
n Lies My Teacher Told, James W. Loewen discusses how American students who enter college are less knowledgeable about their own history than any other subject. He claims that American history is the least liked and worst remembered subject in the American curriculum. High school students hate history and see it as “boring and irrelevant” (Loewen 2). Loewen argues that the uninteresting, Eurocentric treatment of history bores most elementary and high school students, who also find it irrelevant to their lives. To make learning more compelling, Loewen suggests that authors, publishers, and teachers should make history appealing and be engaging to the students. By presenting students with different viewpoints and stressing that history is…show more content…
For example, Loewen focused on Columbus, Thanksgiving, slavery, Lincoln, and the Vietnam War to name a few. Christopher Columbus, for example, still leaves Spain to prove to the world was round, though his generation knew the world was round. Loewen says Columbus’s real purpose for leaving Spain, other than discovery, was always left unclear. When I personally think of Columbus I think of how “In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue” and that he was looking for a short route to India to trade goods and species. However, no one tells students that Columbus was actually looking for gold, riches, and slaves, just as he found when “discovered” the new world. Loewen argues, “That people from other continents had reached the Americas many times before 1492. Europeans may already have been fishing off Newfoundland in the 1480s. In a sense, Columbus’s voyage was not the first but the last “discovery” of the Americas (Loewen 33). Christopher Columbus was not the only person portrayed inaccurately. Pilgrims were also portrayed as peaceful Europeans who came to the new world and got along nicely and “broke bread” with the natives without any violence. Pilgrims, who textbooks say “started from scratch” in a “wilderness”, really started with a fully functional American Indian village previously emptied by European plagues ( Loewen 85). Loewen then quotes primary sources that say after pilgrims settled, they then proceeded to dig graves to find whatever they needed. These lies about out beginning colonies are not small, Loewen states that lies and examples like these are the reason why African Americans and Native Americans score lower test scores in history. After all, it is hard enough for students to remember lists of facts; forcing facts into their minds that they know from their family history to be incorrect and racist is difficult as well as immoral.
Open Document