Wednesday, April 9, 2014

#AtoZChallenge: H is for His story, Her story, #History

H is for His story, Her story, History

History can be a fascinating subject to study. Many times when someone thinks of history they think it's a dull subject filled with too many dates and facts. But if you look beyond those dates and facts you would find fascinating stories and interesting people.

The history we learn in school is a great foundation but not everything you learn in your history books is true. One thing you have to consider when reading a history book is who the author is. Was the author male or female? What race were they? What cultural group did they belong to?

Take for instance the Civil War.

I grew up in Ohio which is a Northern State. When I was a child I learned all about why the North went to war and why we won the war. I didn't learn that much about the South except that they were slave holding states that wanted to keep slavery. Ohio has always been a free state and a progressive state as well. So because my education was in Ohio I learned Ohio's side of the story. It wasn't until my mom and I moved to Texas that I was exposed to the Southerner's side of the Civil War. I learned in Texas that the Southern states fought to maintain slavery because slaves were an economical commodity that the south needed in order to maintain their agricultural businesses. But slavery wasn't the only reason they went to war. They went to war because they didn't want the Federal government to dictate how their states should operate. When you look at it from their point of view it makes sense. What works for the North wouldn't, as still doesn't, work for the South because those two areas of the United States are very different.

History is written by the winners. What does that  mean? That means the history you learn is always

written by the dominant cultural group of that time. The problem is when you depend upon learning history through one group and not your own you run the risk of assimilating into the other culture. We see this all the time the United States. Take for example the Native Americans. Most of what we know about Native Americans has been passed down to use from the white side not the Native Americans. Tribal schools are federally operated although they lie on reservations. As the generations passed tribal elders have passed down their cultural heritage. Children have had struggle with their own cultural identity because Native Americans hold dual citizenship - their tribe and United States of America. The current generation has started to abandon their tribal ways and take up the American white culture. What was started by our ancestors may be finally become a reality - the destruction of the Native American culture - because the native languages and heritage is disappearing form our lands by the actions of the current Native American generation who have assimilated into the white American culture.

When we forget both sides of history we ultimately destroy our own past. We are fated to repeat the same mistakes as our ancestors. I, for one, would rather move forward than repeat the mistakes of my ancestors' past. Wouldn't you?

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