Our school librarian instituted a most interesting feature--on one shelf is a collection of books, each of which has been recommended by a teacher. Our pictures are included on a big bookmark that says "Mr. So-and-so recommends...." I'm one of the teachers who's recommended a book, and mine is Lies My Teacher Told Me
Yes, this book is written by a socialist. However, I can't help but agree with this review posted at the above link:
As a conservative white male who views revisionist history quite skeptically, I did not expect much from this book. As a student of American history, I understood what a woeful job our textbooks and (unfortunately) our teachers do in teaching the actual history of this country, but I never expected both the depth and the level of scholarship Mr. Loewen presents in this book. It is well researched, well written and much needed.
Students at my school encounter myths and share them with me. One of them is that somehow, at some nebulous point in the past, the Republican and Democrat parties "switched" ideologies. Yes, Republicans were the party of freedom and abolition of slavery, but they "became" the party of racists and now Democrats have taken on the mantle of equality.
And this is crap. Even James Loewen, the author of Lies My Teacher Told Me, goes into depth regarding the racist history of the Democrat Party and its adherents--and trust me, Loewen is no friend of the Republicans. Apparently, though, it makes some teachers feel good to feed this crap to students. I guess it's all part of that "higher order thinking skills" about which we hear so much.
I read the same slur in an article at OpinionJournal.com
, and fortunately the slur was countered.
In his new book, "The Conscience of a Liberal," New York Times columnist Paul Krugman makes a strong case for his belief that the political success of the Republican Party and the conservative movement over the past 40 years has resulted largely from their co-optation of Southern racists that were the base of the Democratic Party until its embrace of civil rights in the 1960s...
However, if a single mention of states' rights 27 years ago is sufficient to damn the Republican Party for racism ever afterwards, what about the 200-year record of prominent Democrats who didn't bother with code words? They were openly and explicitly for slavery before the Civil War, supported lynching and "Jim Crow" laws after the war, and regularly defended segregation and white supremacy throughout most of the 20th century.
Examples are given, and like those in Loewen's book, they're not pretty.
People are entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts. The Republicans drummed David Duke out of the party while the Democrats still cling to Robert Byrd (of KKK fame). I don't expect my fellow teachers to be unbiased--Lord knows I'm not--but I do
expect them to be honest. And some of them are not.Update, 1/8/08
: I've been reading up on the Little Rock situation in the Eisenhower Archives
. Read the communications from the Arkansas Senators and Congressmen to President Eisenhower, and the President's thoughtful responses to them. Read the telegram to the President from "the parents of nine Negro children enrolled at Little Rock Central High School".
Then remember what political parties these players belonged to.