School of Thought

The Divided States of America

By Brian Schroeder
Posted 9/30/21

As a history teacher, I am ultra-sensitive to the fact that history is not so much about what happened as it is about who told you what happened.

If the “storyteller” is not honorable …

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School of Thought

The Divided States of America

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As a history teacher, I am ultra-sensitive to the fact that history is not so much about what happened as it is about who told you what happened.

If the “storyteller” is not honorable and honest, if the historian/educator has an agenda, history can be systematically gutted and irreparably profaned. The power of history lies in the naked, untamed, unmanipulated truth of the past.

Back in the 1980s, Ed Koch, the former Jewish mayor of New York City, said the following: “There is currently a firestorm raging in this country regarding the way we teach our kids history. The result: a call for a new multiculturalism that seeks to rewrite history.”

Then, to the complete chagrin of his fellow liberals, he continued: “I regret to say there were no Jews on the Mayflower. But a fact is a fact … the reality is the early settlers were Europeans and Americans who shared a common heritage of cultural values, language and tradition that is based on our English and European roots. Should we be rewriting history just to make people feel good? That’s not history, that’s psychiatry.” 

Since then, multiculturalism has become one of social engineering’s most prolific vehicles. With its unmitigated revision of American history and its unabashed “cancel culture,” it seeks to indict the roots of this nation while simultaneously promoting its political agenda in the classroom; indeed, multiculturalism drools at the chance of telling my children how to think.

Multiculturalists wrest history the way cults wrest the scriptures and they manipulate history the way not a few Supreme Court justices have manipulated the Constitution. If it were not being taken so seriously by so many intelligent people, it would be laughable.

Moreover, its insidious attempts to assassinate intellectual freedom in this country are upstaged only by its unblushing efforts to keep the racist pot stirred up.

Multiculturalism only serves to resist our national struggle to become color-blind. With its insistence on everyone being so “color” sensitive, we lose all objectivity; judging people “by the content of their character,” consequently, becomes impossible.

Lance Morrow, once Time magazine’s leading progressive columnist, pulled no punches when he uncharacteristically broke ranks and stated unequivocally that the “ideological corruption” of race-consciousness “flourishes” in places of government and higher learning. Incredibly, he admitted the cause was “busing, affirmative action, quotas and punitive political correctness.”

Then, completely out of step with the multiculturalists, he declared that “there is racism almost everywhere in the world” and “America stacks up better than most societies on this subject.” 

Richard Weaver reminded us that ideas have consequences; good ideas have positive consequences and bad ideas have negative consequences. Multiculturalism is a bad idea with some very negative consequences. 

As one of the original social seeds planted in decades past and (now) one of the most entrenched roots of a cultural weed that has proliferated in what was once an otherwise fairly healthy (and leading) garden of democracy, we are no longer the “United” States of America. We have become the Divided States of America and, in large part, we have multiculturalism to thank for that, as well as its latest offspring, critical race theory.

But there is an antidote to this malady, and it begins in our schools with how we tell our nation’s story. History is about context and perspective, not ax-grinding or pushing ideological agendas. As teachers, we must be committed to the former and resist the temptation to indulge ourselves in the latter.

Because it should not be about who told you what happened, but about what actually happened. 

(Brian Schroeder became head of school at Veritas Academy in Cody in June 2020. His career has followed three tracks: seven years in pastoral ministry, 14 years as a family/youth counselor and 15 years in education.)

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