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Your View | History by its nature should make us uncomfortable

Your View | History by its nature should make us uncomfortable

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“The past is not there to feel guilty about. The past is there to take responsibility for.” Those are words by Dr. Timothy Snyder, Levin Professor of History at Yale, from an interview about all the furor involving teachers. parents, school boards, critical race theory, etc. He’s deeply concerned.

He reminds us that history is not about feelings, but about what happened, and will always include some things that make us uncomfortable. If we waste our one chance, if we train students to “raise their hands and say ‘this makes me uncomfortable,’ we are not teaching them to be citizens. We are teaching them to be subjects of some future authoritarian regime.” (If you’d like to hear more from Dr. Snyder’s interview, use the first sentence of this letter to search for it.)

Just so you know, Critical Race Theory is not taught in public schools, only in upper-level law classes. A conservative political hack, Christopher Russo, came across the term and thought: Aha, that’s got a ring to it; let’s build a conspiracy around it. And it worked.

This really shouldn’t be a difficult issue to resolve. Just try asking students, middle through high school if they want to learn our complete history, the best and the worst, or just the parts that make them feel “comfortable.” I taught seventh graders for almost 30 years. The very question itself would, as it should have, insulted and offended the students in my classes.

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