Leonard Pitts, Jr. wrote his usual “on target” essay this morning. Its title is “History courses lack the truths we learn to hide.” His subject is the sad truth that some people do not want to admit there is a thing called “Black History”. They want the comfortable history they remember about the conquest of a wild land by European settlers who were high minded people of faith creating the unique system of government we (some of us lucky ones) enjoy today.
It is absolutely wonderful that sugary stuff is universally swallowed and we get that rush when ingested. We ingest all the time because our history is a selective one and the service rendered by lips of those who want that history colored white and religious want us to swallow it without making any trouble. What is omitted from history today, at least here in America, is the contributions of all the ethnic input by the immigrants from the first to the present day in favor of a bland thing not called history (for that would be a lie) but “Americanism” which is a lie.
Mr. Pitts had published a record of 4,700 lynchings between the years of 1865 to 1960. A respondent was astounded by that number – but that is history. Giving lip service to the fact that there are a lot of Black people living here, many who are descendants of slaves brutally brought over to be sold over and over again to White masters is insufficient. There is a history of America we should be taught of the labor of the immigrants as well as the enslaved. In fact, the Righteous Religious Right would recast our history to one that tells of a Protestant Evangelical reliance on the true word of God in an expurgated (that means cleaned up or changed) version of the Ten Commandments with all else flowing from that – and that is not history.
History, as Mr. Pitts reminds us, is an accumulation of fact unadorned and uninterpreted. History is the record of those who came here from all over the world and made a unique nation that gets along quite well despite the ethnic and historic backgrounds that differentiate some of us from the others. Despite the differences our unique government makes it possible for us to live in peace with one another – IF – we are left alone. We are not left alone, however, by the Scripture quoters and the Bible thumpers who want to flush those tracts down our throats and mandate that we accept their version of what has happened over the course of years that our nation has been growing. Sugary stuff sells well. Lip service is easy for you don’t have to think. We should think of what is omitted from our history while a narrow version becomes our only text.