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Lies My Teacher Told Me

Lies My Teacher Told Me - AP U.S History Sept 3 2008 Lies...

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AP U.S. History Sept. 3, 2008 Lies My Teacher Told Me Assignment Chapter 1 1.) Loewen defines heroification as a whitewashing process that turns historic figures into perfect people. He says textbooks create a “Disney version of history” by omitting facts that would make leaders seem un-perfect. The goal of heroification, according to Loewen, is to inspire readers with respect and to avoid conflict. I agree with Loewen’s definition of heroification as a process that overlooks the flaws every person has. However, Loewen should also recognize that people have always glorified their heroes and their achievements more than their flaws, because it is human nature. I agree that textbooks should present both the good and bad sides of historic figures, but I doubt the books could avoid all heroification. 2.) Loewen chooses Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller in order to illustrate how heroification affects major historic figures (Wilson) as well as the “little person” (Keller), both men and women, and both sides of the political spectrum. Wilson and Keller also illustrate the different results of heroification on each person’s legacy. Keller is heroified by focusing on her early struggle to overcome her handicaps and by leaving out the controversial socialism of her adult life. Heroification ignores her achievements because they were at odds with the dominant culture, so she gets less respect than she deserves because of heroification. Wilson, on the other hand, is heroified by underplaying his racism and colonialism, which had harmful long-term consequences. Wilson was an important president, so textbooks
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treat him with sympathy and skip his “bad side”. Heroification gives him more respect than he deserves. Chapter 2 1.) Chapter 2 is titled “1493” to emphasize how what came after 1492, the famous date of Columbus’s landing in the New World, is more important than the so-called discovery itself. Other explorers had reached the Americas before 1492, though Europe was less ready to respond to the earlier expeditions. The year 1493 marks Columbus’s second voyage to Haiti and the first extended encounter between Europeans and the Indians. That encounter would transform both the New and the Old World, causing centuries of conflict. 2.) American History textbooks trace the most important events in world history to Europe because the books are written for the descendants of Europeans, reflecting a Eurocentric point of view. Giving credit to other cultures, such as the possibility of Africans discovering the Americas, conflicts with our social archetype of Europeans as superior. The books assume Europe’s rise to world domination was inevitable, rather than a cultural factor. Columbus, for instance, justified his exploitation of Haiti with religion. The books encourage readers to identify with European domination rather than to question it.
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