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Demosthenes's avatar

Are you concerned about children "feeling guilty" from learning history?

Asked by Demosthenes (13020points) 1 week ago

The main conflict over “critical race theory” seems to be that teaching the history of slavery, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights, will lead to white people as a whole being blamed for America’s ills and thus white children will feel guilt when they learn such things. It’s led to books like Toni Morrison’s Beloved or even a non-fiction book on Rosa Parks being banned from schools.

How were you taught the history of slavery and racism in the United States? If you are white, were you made to feel guilty about it? Are you concerned about your kids feeling guilty as well?

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16 Answers

Kropotkin's avatar

This is a canard pushed by nationalists and “patriots” who have attached their identity and meaning to their country.

They love all the positive myths and illusions about how noble and virtuous their nation is. They love the feeling of pride and being part of some sort of heroic legacy, as if they were heroes themseves—when it’s usually nothing more than pathetic flag waving.

Anything that exposes a more sordid and unsavoury side to their country’s history is basically a personal attack, because it’s a literal attack on their ego, their worldview, and the very meaning for their existence which they’ve irrationally adopted.

The same sort of nonsensical hysterical reaction is found in nearly every country from the same sort of people.

British and English nationalists hate being reminded about the British history of the slave trade or colonial conquest, or any of the numerous awful shit Churchill did.

Polish nationalists hate being reminded of the antisemitism and that some Poles collaborated with Nazis to kill Jews.

The reactions are always denial or rationalisation. They also think everyone is being made to feel guilty as if everyone were responsible.

The reality is is that most normal people just recognise these things as things that happened in history, and they feel no shame for bad things that happened decades or centuries ago—just as no one should be feeling proud for things that happened decades or centuries ago for which they have absolutely nothing to do with.

snowberry's avatar

I wasn’t made to feel guilty. It was clear to me that this was about people who lived many many years ago, and their behavior didn’t have much to do with mine.

If they’re going to teach about slavery, they should include discussion about slavery in diverse cultures and countries on every continent from ancient times right up to today. Often a conqueror would enslave those who lost. Slavery wasn’t just about the blacks and the whites, as the narrative goes in the US.

You don’t have to be a conquered people to become a slave either. There are many predators who look at those less fortunate as potential sources of income by enslaving them. In that respect we have a lively slave trade going on all over the world as well as inside the borders of the US.

zenvelo's avatar

This premise is wrong: ”.... will lead to white people as a whole being blamed for America’s ills and thus white children will feel guilt”

Conservatives/right wingers don’t like CRT beause it means they have to admit they have had a structural advantage over people of color in eveyrthing from jobs to housing to education to police protection. And they can’t handle the truth.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Of course not. As Snowberry said it had nothing to do with me. It’s history.

kritiper's avatar

No one should feel guilty, or be forced to feel guilty, about situations that happened in the past.

flutherother's avatar

It’s a kind of inverted racism to think that if some white people did bad things, then all white people should feel guilty. Skin colour is an accident of birth and is nothing to be proud of and nothing to be ashamed of either but history is important and shouldn’t be forgotten.

RocketGuy's avatar

They shouldn’t because someone else was responsible. They need to recognize it and not repeat those mistakes. Hence the need to accurately teach it.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Anti “critical race theory” people tend to be card carrying members of the KKK and other WS groups.

Chestnut's avatar

No. I took my kid out of the title 1 failing public school and enrolled her into a remote only private school. Best move ever!

cookieman's avatar

When I was in school, we only learned the skewed/abridged, white-perspective history. As said above, “the positive myths and illusions about how noble and virtuous (our) nation is.”

It wasn’t until college I started to learn about the larger, more truthful story.

My daughter’s school, to their credit, taught that larger, truthful history from kindergarten on.

We never felt any guilt. I was more annoyed that we were lied to as children. My daughter was just flabbergasted that some humans are such evil bastards.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What do you expect them to learn in a private school on this subject that they won’t in a public school, @Chestnut?

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I would want my kids to learn the facts and only the facts. This is notoriously hard with history in school.

My experience in history courses was that whoever was teaching usually put a spin on it based on their ideology regardless of they realized they were doing it or not, even in college courses. This was not always a bad thing. I don’t ever remember feeling any guilt though.

seawulf575's avatar

The talking point is that CRT is NOT taught in schools. Yet I don’t see anyone here saying this doesn’t happen. So apparently it does.

As for what I learned of history, It was pretty cut and dried. It certainly didn’t glorify slavery or those that were slavers. The exact opposite in fact. It was a learning from our history so that we wouldn’t make the same mistakes going forward.

I am a conservative and despite what the leftists on these pages believe that conservatives believe, I can tell you the real reason I think CRT is wrong…at ANY age. It points blame. It keeps racism alive and well. It takes history lessons we should have learned, throws them out the window and says instead that racism is okay providing you point the finger in a specific direction. There is nothing good about that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

CRT has been around since the 60s. Here is an article describing what it is..

I think it’s an important part of our collective history. Teaching it does not keep racism alive. A child’s home life determines whether they are racist, not a history lesson.
It’s important for the kids to understand it.
It’s just another key to encourage the development of critical thinking skills, which many people are opposed to.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III From your own citation:
“CRT scholars argue that the idea of race advances the interests of white people[7] at the expense of people of color,[11][12] ”

It highlights exactly what I said. It is keeping racism alive and well. Until we can just recognize people as people and stop trying blame other races for every problem, we will continue to stoke the racial hatred. And CRT most definitely stokes it.

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