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PrincessPurrsALot

S07:E20: Teaching the History of Race in America

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Talk from the egg . . . 

Main topic:  Teaching the history of race in America

Other Topics:  Coronavirus update, people attending large gatherings, people pushing hydroxychloroquine. and Rep. Louis Gohmert; Steve Guttenberg suggests dog names

Original air date 2020.08.0

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Okay, first things first, John's frustration over people continuing to flaunt the guidelines about this virus is mine. Screw coddling these people any further, at this point we should just go full out with other fines and other punishments, because they're actively getting people sick and killing them. And they're the reason it's going to take us significantly longer to get past this.

(Also, people went to a concert where a guy from Goldman Sachs moonlighted as a DJ? You party animals, you.) 

As for the main topic, I'm just gonna highlight my main thoughts regarding it:

-Those school "assignments" and "games"? Holy. Shit. What the actual fuck? There are truly no words.  Same can be said about the idea of becoming a slave owner at the age of eleven

-The teacher reading that Know Alabama book. OOF. 

-Calling Jefferson "the R. Kelly of his time" is pretty spot on. 

-I wonder how that guy going on about "American exceptionalism" feels about the country now? 'Cause judging from the worst days our country is currently seeing with this virus and the racial unrest and our country basically being seen as a laughingstock on the world stage, I dunno, I'd much prefer to be experiencing another country's "best day" right about now. 

-As always, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingrham are just....sigh

-That Lee Atwater clip reminded me of a guy who was interviewed for a "Daily Show" segment a number of years back on the topic of voter suppression. He had some pretty...open, shall we say...opinions on the subject of voter ID laws and black people and so forth, too. At least he got fired for his comments.

-Judging from what I've heard about my grandma's attitudes about black people and mixed marriages, she'd probably get on well with that lady in that 1950s clip :/. 

I'm definitely among the many who didn't know about Juneteenth or the Tulsa massacre until those topics were in the news in recent months (I haven't seen "Watchmen"). And indeed, this episode was the first I'd heard of that coup as well. It really is mindblowing and insane how so much of that stuff isn't being taught in schools. I liked him highlighting some of Martin Luther King's other causes as well. Indeed, he's definitely been packaged in a way that makes him comfortable and "non-threatening" to white people-so many love to quote that "not be judged by the color of their skin" bit, but they fail to take its context into account. John's absolutely right about how we greatly need to overhaul our study of U.S. history. I remember when I worked at our local bookstore, we set up our history section by era, and one of my co-workers, who was older than me-I'd say she was born at least in the 1960s, if not earlier, could never remember what era went in what order. So if people can't even figure out basics like that, and then you add all this stuff that's being purposefully omitted in most people's educations on top of that...yeah, it's no wonder we've got a lot of problems understanding our history in this country. 

On a much lighter note, I continue to love the variety of celebrities he manages to get for this show :D. Those bits with Guttenberg were fun. 

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Is Steve Guttenberg a star anymore? Looks like the Stonecutters are slipping.

Seriously, though, John shines a bright light on the darker/dimmer corners of history. And yeah, I didn't know about Tulsa until that first episode of Watchmen. It does seem like something people should be taught in school. Of course, systemic racism gets in the way, which is always a bitch.

If John is planning on verbally taking Tucker Carlson behind the woodshed for a tanning, he's taking his time. His clip was cringe as usual, as was Laura Ingram.

Great episode, and John got to use Cameo as a weapon for the forces of good.

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2 minutes ago, Lantern7 said:

.as was Laura Ingram.

Her complaining about how people would say the Constitution was racist....I just...

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It's not just the schools. The US itself is build on a giant mythos which is affirmed again and again in the media. From the motivation to colonize the country to the reasons for the independence war to what lead up to the civil war to America's role in WWI and WWII to Vietnam to the reasons for the ongoing conflict with Iran, everything has been mythologized into something which has little to do with reality. The Watchman episode which actually put some real history on the forefront is the exception, not the rule.

The story about the apple tree is btw completely made-up too.

I mean, it is not unusual to have some things glossed over in history class. Not even Germany gets this completely right. But what the US is doing is just ridiculous.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSpOjj4YD8c

5 hours ago, Lantern7 said:

Is Steve Guttenberg a star anymore? Looks like the Stonecutters are slipping.

If Homer was in charge, Guttenberg would have a house full of Oscars...

Teaching kids "Drunk History" would be better than the fake history available...
 

Edited by paigow · Reason: Simpsons link
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Btw, the guy who wanted his child to be taught that any day in the US is better than in any other country...if he really believes that, I am feeling sorry for him. What a limited idea of how "good" a country can be.

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2 hours ago, swanpride said:

Btw, the guy who wanted his child to be taught that any day in the US is better than in any other country...if he really believes that, I am feeling sorry for him. What a limited idea of how "good" a country can be.

That’s another gap in education, the lack of understanding that any other country could do anything as good as, if not better, than the US.   Sadly, the US doesn’t top many “top 10” lists of best countries anymore.   

As for that 50s housewife...she was a product of her time, as was the Constitution, which is also sexist, but that’s another story for John to do another time.  

I don’t get FOX Where I live, but these clips never cease to amaze me at their deliberate, offensive, untenable bias. 

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Well, the US is still topping in military spending and number of citizens in prison. That is something to be proud of, right? Right?

That is only tangible related, but part of the problem is also how those kind of rankings are made. They criteria tend to favour the US in the ranking. That's why the US is often higher ranked than it should.

In any case, there is nothing as unpatriotic than thinking that your country is the best and denying its flaws. Because this way you are doing your country a great disservice. Someone truly patriotic wants their country to be the best version of itself.

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8 hours ago, Annber03 said:

-Those school "assignments" and "games"? Holy. Shit. What the actual fuck? There are truly no words.  Same can be said about the idea of becoming a slave owner at the age of eleven

I hope that for the "write a diary entry as a slave or slave owner" assignment, you could just turn in a blank page and say "I'm a slave. They never taught me to read or write."

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I have to wait for August 16th??!? Damn...

And in other news, a Chainsmokers concert....yeah, that's something to say. For $25,000 a ticket?!? In the middle of a pandemic...No! Stupid, stupid people.

Edited by Robert Lynch
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10 hours ago, Annber03 said:

Okay, first things first, John's frustration over people continuing to flaunt the guidelines about this virus is mine. Screw coddling these people any further, at this point we should just go full out with other fines and other punishments, because they're actively getting people sick and killing them. And they're the reason it's going to take us significantly longer to get past this.

I'm still continually shocked by some people's anger toward masks. I guess I live in a bubble community, because everyone I see wears a mask except during walks, and then we all keep our distance, moving into the street or stepping 6 ft back until the other person passes. And people are polite and happy and greet each other! We're all in this together, folks. 

Quote

I'm definitely among the many who didn't know about Juneteenth or the Tulsa massacre until those topics were in the news in recent months (I haven't seen "Watchmen"). And indeed, this episode was the first I'd heard of that coup as well.

I too learned about the Tulsa massacre from Watchmen, and the coup was news to me. However, I first heard of Juneteenth many years back (1990s, I suppose) when I was volunteering at my son's school library and had to ask the librarian what it was.

Just yesterday I learned about another racist event in our local history. In Manhattan Beach, CA, now very affluent and white, there used to be a black community back in the early 1900s. Whites were not happy about it. Eventually in 1924 the city claimed the property under eminent domain. Here's the article in the LA Times. I think it's accessible without a subscription.

 

3 hours ago, DEL901 said:

I don’t get FOX Where I live, but these clips never cease to amaze me at their deliberate, offensive, untenable bias. 

I thought Fox was available everywhere. I live with my sister and BIL, but he passed away recently. He was a big Fox fan and had the TV tuned to that when he wasn't watching streaming shows. Yesterday when I turned on the TV I changed the channel because I don't need to hear that garbage.

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1 hour ago, peeayebee said:

I thought Fox was available everywhere. I live with my sister and BIL, but he passed away recently. He was a big Fox fan and had the TV tuned to that when he wasn't watching streaming shows. Yesterday when I turned on the TV I changed the channel because I don't need to hear that garbage.

I should have mentioned I’m in Canada.   We get all the US tv entertainment channels including FOX, but for US cable news, where I live, we get CNN and Bloomberg for business news.  We don’t even get MS NBC which I would be interested in checking out.  

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Teaching the real history in school would be a good place to start. The history books skip over so much of slavery and after Reconstruction. I can't say about reading about the Civil Rights era because my history books in school always ended with the end of WW2. But what you learn also very much depend on the teachers. One year in high school my best friend and I were in different history classes and both got different versions of Custer and Custer's last battle. My teacher told us the truth how terrible Custer was and stupid he was to go into that battle. My friend was told the "hero" Custer who was slaughtered along with his entire army by those savage Native Americans. When we told her the truth she was pissed at being taught the wrong thing. 

Those schools "assignments" and "games". What the Hell? What is wrong with people? How could anyone think that was okay?

I heard about Juneteenth watching Blackish. Didn't hear about the Tulsa massacre until recently. These and so many more things we all need to know.

It really doesn't seem that hard. John Oliver did a very good job talking about the Constitution how good and great it is and also its flaws. That would be a good way to teach it. 

I so wish there was something we could do to those refusing to wear masks and social distance. They are getting other people sick, they are the reason the virus is out of control and people are dying. How is it there's nothing we can do? 

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12 hours ago, DEL901 said:

I don’t get FOX Where I live, but these clips never cease to amaze me at their deliberate, offensive, untenable bias. 

Oh, man, lucky you. 

I'm just glad that my mom can't stand that network, either. I hear a lot of people complain about their parents watching it and it makes me very grateful that mine doesn't. I know some of my relatives do, though :/.

11 hours ago, swanpride said:

In any case, there is nothing as unpatriotic than thinking that your country is the best and denying its flaws. Because this way you are doing your country a great disservice. Someone truly patriotic wants their country to be the best version of itself.

THIS. Which is why the "If you don't like it here you can leave!" argument bothers me so much. 

11 hours ago, Brandi Maxxxx said:

I hope that for the "write a diary entry as a slave or slave owner" assignment, you could just turn in a blank page and say "I'm a slave. They never taught me to read or write."

Perfect. 

8 hours ago, peeayebee said:

I'm still continually shocked by some people's anger toward masks. I guess I live in a bubble community, because everyone I see wears a mask except during walks, and then we all keep our distance, moving into the street or stepping 6 ft back until the other person passes. And people are polite and happy and greet each other! We're all in this together, folks. 

 

It just boggles my mind. I mean, yeah, I would love to go back to being able to go places without having to put on a mask, too (the other day my mom and I ran to the grocery store and I had a moment of, "Oh, crap, I forgot my mask!" and ran back to get it). It's not fun wearing them, no. 

But I do it because it's the right and responsible thing to do. I don't want to get sick, and more importantly, I don't want other people to get sick. I don't see it as some kind of "violation of my Constitutional rights' or whatever the anti-mask crowd claims, and the fact it's been turned into some kind of political thing is just...beyond insane. 

(Most of the people at the store we went to were wearing masks, though, which made me happy to see. It can be a crapshoot, though-sometimes we'll be out and there'll be lots of people in masks, others it's more hit and miss.)

Quote

Just yesterday I learned about another racist event in our local history. In Manhattan Beach, CA, now very affluent and white, there used to be a black community back in the early 1900s. Whites were not happy about it. Eventually in 1924 the city claimed the property under eminent domain. Here's the article in the LA Times. I think it's accessible without a subscription.

God, what a sad story. But that hits on one of the big issues, doesn't it? White people were already angry at black people for trying to gain equal rights. Seeing them having their own wealth and success despite all the efforts to keep them down would drive them nuts.

Quote

Kavon Ward, who moved to Manhattan Beach three years ago with her newborn daughter, said she knew she wasn’t welcome when a woman at Polliwog Park asked which family she was nannying for. At the local Ralph’s, she was called a terrorist for wearing a Black Panthers T-shirt. The local Facebook group for moms, she said, kept deleting her posts about Black Lives Matter.

Ugh. 

I love how people are worried about how "uncomfortable" it might be to bring attention to this awful part of the area's history. If they're uncomfortable, well, tough. These stories should make people uncomfortable. 

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12 hours ago, Brandi Maxxxx said:

I hope that for the "write a diary entry as a slave or slave owner" assignment, you could just turn in a blank page and say "I'm a slave. They never taught me to read or write."

Mercifully, I was never assigned this in school (and I lived in Alabama from ages 11-14), but man I wish I would have had the balls to do this if I had.

20 hours ago, Lantern7 said:

Is Steve Guttenberg a star anymore? Looks like the Stonecutters are slipping.

I absolutely started singing the song when he showed up. "I was in the Police Academy movies" had me rolling.

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Great show by John, necessary spotlight on how bad American history is taught in school.  I’m going to insist my kids take the African American history course in high school.  It’s a core class as far as I’m concerned.  I know my knowledge has been limited when I have to learn of such important events from a tv comedy (Blackish) and a fantasy miniseries (the watchmen).

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It's history in general which has been distorted, not just black history. How many Americans believe in the comfortable lie of the good white man who celebrated thanksgiving and the bad white man who killed natives, not realising how systemically their government stole their land? How many of them are not aware that the independence war was at least partly about the fact that the Brits wanted to respect the treaties they had with the natives and not pushing further into their land while the Americans wanted to take more land? How many of them believe the story about the US heroically sweeping in to "free" Europe from Hitler, happily ignoring that a lot of Americans were Hitler supporters, that the US was happy to let Jews die rather than give them shelter and that there was little intention to even get involved in the first place if not for Pearl Harbor? How many are aware how little fighting American soldiers actually did on European soil and how much they did in Asia? How many still believe the story about American soldiers which "vanished" in Vietnam and don't know that way, way more Vietnamese died in the conflict (during which the US supported a dictator) than Americans? How many have no idea that the Iranians have very good reasons to be p... off with the US?

 

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13 minutes ago, swanpride said:

It's history in general which has been distorted, not just black history. How many Americans believe in the comfortable lie of the good white man who celebrated thanksgiving and the bad white man who killed natives, not realising how systemically their government stole their land? How many of them are not aware that the independence war was at least partly about the fact that the Brits wanted to respect the treaties they had with the natives and not pushing further into their land while the Americans wanted to take more land? How many of them believe the story about the US heroically sweeping in to "free" Europe from Hitler, happily ignoring that a lot of Americans were Hitler supporters, that the US was happy to let Jews die rather than give them shelter and that there was little intention to even get involved in the first place if not for Pearl Harbor? How many are aware how little fighting American soldiers actually did on European soil and how much they did in Asia? How many still believe the story about American soldiers which "vanished" in Vietnam and don't know that way, way more Vietnamese died in the conflict (during which the US supported a dictator) than Americans? How many have no idea that the Iranians have very good reasons to be p... off with the US?

 

Probably not many. I know most of those because my best friend and I were and still are history nerds. We've read tons of books and watched tons of documentaries on the Revolutionary War, WW2 and so many other eras. We were and still are just so fascinated by history. But your right my mom used to tease me about being a freak and weirdo for so much "boring" stuff.

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16 hours ago, peeayebee said:

Just yesterday I learned about another racist event in our local history. In Manhattan Beach, CA, now very affluent and white, there used to be a black community back in the early 1900s.

I used to work in Manhattan Beach for a billion dollar startup that built an office there. (Their headquarters were in VT) It is the whitest place I've experienced and that's considering that I never met a black person until I was 15. It is the 27th most expensive zip code in the country. I never knew nor heard any inkling of the black history there. 

I think this year alone I've learned more about our very dark past and present than ever before. Watchmen taught me the Tulsa massacre. Trumps shitty tweet actually introduced me to Juneteenth through all the uproar. 

I'm in my early 40s and grew up in tiny towns in Idaho and Montana.  My class size ranged from 9 to 22 total. We had the same teachers every year for each level. So same history teacher, same English, science etc. We barely covered anything about slavery, the south, Civil rights. I remember our geography teacher telling us not to memorize African countries because they keep changing. Seriously we didn't cover a single country in Africa. We did have to take a mandatory year of Montana history and memorize the 56 counties and county seats. Very important stuff. 

We were definitely part of the "USA is the best, nothing else compares. Feel sorry for anyone not born here." 

I will say that we didn't have any religion dictating the curriculum. Science teachers were great. We had proper sex ed. I just can't remember anything specifically about people of color being taught other than about Indians as one town was on a Reservation. That wasn't white washed either as we learned about the trail of tears, Custer's last stand and perhaps the proudest being about Lewis and Clark with Sacagawea as we lived on the trail. 

Long winded post but it is just scary how different the schools are around the country. Especially about something that should be pretty standardized as US history. It is also crazy how relatively recent a lot of these dark events or viewpoints happened(happening).

Oh and I can't tell you how many times I heard "Washington couldn't tell a lie." He was an infallible superhero that did no wrong and saved us from that evil King. 

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To be fair, the countries do keep changing. I had a hard enough time to keep track of the changing borders of Europe back in the day, I certainly had no interest to learn about the ones in Africa and Asia on top of it. Learning the history of the world during your school days is pretty unrealistic, it is just too much material to cover. But one should be aware of the history of your own country and in the case of the US, that includes a huge chunk of European history, too.

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Really good episode. As an Australian, I kept on thinking how a similar show could be made about the teaching of Australian history in schools here. Very few non-Indigenous Australians know much about the history of dispossession and massacres by white settlers, although it is slowly getting better than it was a few decades ago. Most people these days at least know about the Stolen Generations, where generations of Indigenous children were taken from their parents and brought up on missions or in children's 'homes', trained to be 'domestics' or, if they could 'pass', being adopted out to white families and often never told about their heritage. This alone has caused trauma that is still felt today and will be felt for decades to come. 😞

Edited by purist
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4 hours ago, purist said:

Really good episode. As an Australian, I kept on thinking how a similar show could be made about the teaching of Australian history in schools here. Very few non-Indigenous Australians know much about the history of dispossession and massacres by white settlers, although it is slowly getting better than it was a few decades ago. Most people these days at least know about the Stolen Generations, where generations of Indigenous children were taken from their parents and brought up on missions or in children's 'homes', trained to be 'domestics' or, if they could 'pass', being adopted out to white families and often never told about their heritage. This alone has caused trauma that is still felt today and will be felt for decades to come. 😞

Canada has its own shameful past with regard to indigenous people, particularly the residential schools.   There has been some movements to acknowledgement and thoughts on reparations from the Trudeau government, but too many people don’t understand the history and think of it as handouts.  

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It's not a handout to give back what was stolen. If anything, it will always be too little too late. Some things can't be corrected, no matter how much money you throw at them. But at least, you can do better than you did in the past.

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PrincessPurrsALot

Do not speculate as to what will be covered.  Please watch then discuss the show.  

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