General Question

seawulf575's avatar

Is there a better way to deal with race?

Asked by seawulf575 (12960points) 3 months ago
61 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

There are a lot of debates about the CRT ideals that are being pushed to be taught in schools. These ideals are basically saying one race has abused all others and used those others for their own gain. Yes, I know this is a gross generalization, but bear with me.

I’m wondering if this is the right thing to be teaching our kids about race. What if we started teaching them how all people are alike? How many similarities their are and that the only difference between many people is their outer covering. My thinking is that if you can get that as a basis, all the other aspects of racism fall apart. You could expand that thinking into critical evaluation of the actual racism that does occur, showing that those doing it are narrow minded and petty at the very best. And it doesn’t stoke hatred by bringing up all the ancient wrongs that have been done causing even more divide and racism.
Would this approach be a better way to start teaching K-12 kids?

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LostInParadise's avatar

Good news! We can do both. We can teach that all people are alike and accurately teach history, including portions that we may not be so proud of today.

rebbel's avatar

Even better news; children are born without racism in their little heads and hearts.
They are taught it by their parents, caregivers, teachers, television, Internet, and by example.
Change that et voila.

And it doesn’t stoke hatred by bringing up all the ancient wrongs that have been done causing even more divide and racism.

So teaching about things that went (horribly) wrong is stoking hate?
Better not teach them then, and let them find out later anyway (and have them realise that we didn’t deem them wise enough to deal with those facts…, that’ll surely make them feel fully appreciated and trusted…).
I learned about the Holocaust, in school, thirty years after the facts; it didn’t make me hate Germans.
It did however opened my eyes (wider) about the evil that can be perpetrated by humans if they blindly follow a certain ideology, for one.
And that realisation, and the facts of the cruelties, made me realise, at a young age, that I would try to not let it get so far, ever, but instead ask myself, always, if the side that I support is a good one, and keep evaluating that constantly.

flutherother's avatar

I think we owe it to our children to teach them the truth and not to ignore uncomfortable historical facts. I’m not sure we should teach them all children are alike either when it is obvious there are differences. If we can teach children to respect one another despite their differences we might start to make progress.

KNOWITALL's avatar

We tried that in the 70’s with GenX but now race is crammed down our throats. Some want us to acknowledge the wrongs more than they want us all to be truly equal.
Truly I wish it was taught in school rather than be bludgeoned perpetually in news or socially. For me it’s truly painful to watch the social regression.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Well, there’s a lot of bitterness behind African-American history and African-American contributions to building America being ignored and/or co-opted. I don’t know what’s being taught in school now but 40 years ago MY history was little more than a footnote. People are just now learning about many of the atrocities committed upon African-Americans in the past that continue today.

So no, it’s not enough to say “we all must get along”. Past injustices must be addressed. American history must be corrected to acknowledge African-Americans contributed as much (if not more) as everyone else, and have our history books document the truth.

SABOTEUR's avatar


How do you think WE (African – Americans) feel?

seawulf575's avatar

@LostInParadise I’m certainly not saying we don’t talk about our dark past or things that we aren’t proud of. The exact opposite in fact. But the difference I think I am suggesting is how we approach those things. Start with unity and then show our past and how things work when we don’t have unity.

seawulf575's avatar

@rebbel Teaching about dark things in our past is not necessarily stoking hatred. HOW you teach it could be. That is the point. If you continue the cycle we are in now where we blame every wrong in our lives on someone else, or automatically assume racism is the driving force behind everything, you will do nothing but continue to stoke racial hatred.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I can’t comment on race because race isn’t an issue in my country, but I can share a personal story about my own education that may be similar to your situation:

I was taught as early as grade 1st that my country suffered from a lot of wars since ancient time, first in the hand of China, then in the hand of the French and Americans. I was taught that they were all greedy and cruel demons who liked our land for unknown reason. I was taught about people who sacrificed their life for our country, some of who were as young as 9 or 10 yeah, an 9-year-old shooting up enemies like it was a game.

I grew up hating all Chinese, French and Americans. I thought of them as evil species that didn’t deserve to inhabit this planet. I dreamed that I could have been one of the kids who shot all the evil species to oblivion. I even reenacted a scenario that resembled the wars with French and Americans with my stuffed toys.

It didn’t help either when I learned how “loose” the French and American people are. I just for the life of me couldn’t comprehend how someone could be so casual with each other without any commitment of marriage, how a woman could be so aggressive toward men without any consequences, how someone would go to bars as if it was a good thing, how teachers and students could be so friendly with each other, how everyone could call each other “you” and “I” without any hierarchy. Oh, and marijuana is legal too? Only demons use marijuana! Why aren’t the people using and selling marijuana got executed? WHAT A COUNTRY OF DEGENERATES!

And then I went to high school, and I learned bits and pieces of histories of other countries, like the American Revolutionary War. My first thought when I first heard about the Revolutionary War was “wow, those degenerates had an independent war too? Who cares anyway? There was no way their war could be as glorious as mine! What did they know about suffering anyway?”

And even when I first joined Fluther, I still held on to the belief that my culture was somehow better than all the “degenerate” America. It was only when I started to grow up and learn more about American people and culture that I dropped my old belief about Americans and Westerners in general being scums of the Earth.

I think what my education did wrong, although it did a great job highlighting the atrocities of the wars we fought, was forgetting to teach me how the world has changed after the war, and the fact that not everyone who are Chinese, American or French, especially today, have the same mindset as the people who invaded us before. My education also forgot to teach me that although I can be proud of my culture and history, other countries’ culture and history are also worth appreciating and learning from, since we are all, in the end, fighting the same battle but with a different demon.

Today, I treat everyone equally, regarded of where they come from. I evaluate people solely on their personality. If I can get on well with you, then we are friends, no matter where you come from and ironically, that was exactly what I learned from researching into the “meaningless degenerate” war that is the American Revolutionary War.

Well, hope my story adds something to the discussion :)

seawulf575's avatar

@flutherother “I think we owe it to our children to teach them the truth and not to ignore uncomfortable historical facts.” Yes…we must. Because otherwise we could easily repeat our mistakes.
” I’m not sure we should teach them all children are alike either when it is obvious there are differences.” Are children not really alike? What makes them different? Why is a black child different from an Asian child is different from a white child? That is what I’m talking about. The only difference is external. A child is a child. Appearance is a minor difference where it really counts.
“If we can teach children to respect one another despite their differences we might start to make progress.” Close. How about if we teach them to not only respect one another despite difference, but to celebrate the differences? All people are different from every other person in the world. To continue to focus on the differences and act like they are something to overcome is to continue to teach (inadvertently, perhaps) them that external difference make a difference…that somehow they are different from one another in a way that matters.

kritiper's avatar

Remember that you are dealing with children. What might seem right for adults may only be trouble for the younger folks. I feel that teaching CRT will only make race a bigger problem since more people will be aware of it.

seawulf575's avatar

@SABOTEUR I know that when I was in school 50 years ago, I was taught a semi-watered down version of our past. But even with that I recognized that what we did in our past was not always good and was, in fact, often evil. How we treated one another was quite horrific.

But look at what you are suggesting. Keep stressing race as the basis for teaching our children. So what does that look like if we continue to teach it as we have been and how it is being proposed currently? We continue to stress that one race was horrible, that one race was abused, that every thing that happened in our past was horrible and racist. If you teach those things in that way, you are pushing racism, plain and simply. You are teaching African-American children to hate white kids. You are teaching white kids to hate themselves and to defend themselves from African-American children.
What I’m suggesting is a break from that cycle. Teach unity. Stress similarities instead of differences. Then, once you lay that ground work, use our past as a way of showing how it works if you don’t see each other as similar. You show all the evil that was and can even show how unity is beneficial. Despite the idea that all good in our past was the result of black people, you have to negate the hundreds of thousands of white lives that were lost and/or destroyed fighting to stop the inequality…to look at unity instead of racism or hatred.

seawulf575's avatar

@Mimishu1995 Thank you. That is a perfect example. GA to you!

mazingerz88's avatar

Maybe it’s time for some videos on how exactly teachers are doing the teaching on this issue appear in YouTube. Might help people from jumping into conclusions.

@Mimishu1995 Too bad your teachers aside from informing you about the atrocities of your country’s enemies did not tell you at the same time and emphasized that not everybody in that enemy country are evil.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@seawulf575 The only reason race is such a hot topic is because pleas for equality have been ignored while the established practice of subjucating black people is still very much live and well. The major difference today is black people are openly denouncing this treatment and a lot of white people don’t like it. They want the greatness of the America that demanded black people to “stay in their place”.

So as uncomfortable as it may be for everyone else black people will continue to speak out until we’re afforded the same liberties as white people.

It’s really that simple.

seawulf575's avatar

@SABOTEUR I think what I am suggesting is a way to break the cycle of hatred. Blacks and whites, Asians and Latinos, Jews and Christians….we are all equal. There really is no difference. Not really where it matters. You and I each bring something to the party, don’t we?
What I am suggesting is pushing THAT idea instead of focusing on the differences. And I believe that if we can push the idea that people are more similar than society would have us believe, then we can reach the equality you are looking for a lot more quickly and fully than our current methods.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@seawulf575 I agree with you. I wish it were as easy as you describe. It’s hard to apply such solutions when black people experience discrimination on a daily basis. You probably have no fear of being pulled over by police or being denied the privilege of buying a home in a particular neighborhood. You probably have no fear of family members being shot or lynched. How difficult is it for you to cast a vote? The list is endless. You can’t sit on the sidelines and ask me to play nice when I have someone kneeling on my neck.

That’s a glimpse of what it’s like to be black in America.

What’s YOUR experience?

kruger_d's avatar

Let’s start with the fact that critics are putting all kinds of curriculum and teaching methods under the CRT umbrella that don’t really belong there. CRT is a lens through which to view cultural and political shifts originally intended for college students studying race relations. It focuses on policy and practices that disadvantage minority populations over generations, a perspective often left out of history texts. It is not far left indoctrination as some critics would have you believe.

Demosthenes's avatar

So how should we teach history? Should we teach about slavery, the Civil War, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights movement? We shouldn’t avoid teaching history just because it might be unpleasant (or “divisive”). You can teach the reality of historic racism without sorting students into “oppressors” and “oppressed” or whatever ridiculous nonsense is being done in the name of CRT.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@SABOTEUR I can’t even imagine being afraid of the cops, just being honest. Half of the stuff I hear and we’ve discussed here, like lethal force for minor issues, is unbelievable, but I know it’s true.

I’m hearing history brought up on tiktok and other social media as if we’ve regressed to pre-Emancipation times. It’s very sad to me, and I thank God I didn’t have children who I’d have to guide through this mess.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Of course we all agree that our children should be taught that all people are equal in value and should be treated as such. The problem is that this professed goal differs considerably from observable reality. And the primary reason racial issues persist in this country is because we have been taught to believe our enforced racial injustices eliminated and matters of “ancient history”. It’s a mistake to hammer the doctrine of liberty and justice for all into our kids and neglect to tell them why it is they are unlikely to ever see an actual “native” American outside some desolate reservation. It isn’t the teaching of our ACTUAL history which is responsible for our intractable racial discords. Those discords persist because we hide behind the deception that the way it should be is the way it is.

seawulf575's avatar

@SABOTEUR I am probably a minority in this world, but my view of being black is not far off of yours. I am white, just to set the record straight. But I was in the US Navy on a submarine that had blacks, whites, Asians and Latinos on it. I saw shipmates. I work at a job that is about 50% black and 50% white with some latinos thrown in as well. I see co-workers. I live in a neighborhood that pretty much matches the racial demographics of this area. I see neighbors. In fact, I have organized several block parties just so everyone can get to know everyone else. I have dealt with asshole cops, and almost got shot by one. But I have dealt with good cops as well. I have never been accosted but my brother was jumped by several black guys for the crime of being white. I think they were assholes, but as they were taunting my brother he was stupid enough to smart off to them. I have just as much problem casting a ballot as everyone one else in this area. The lines are mixed race, there is no favoritism. Does that mean it is like that every where? No, but I don’t see the discrimination against blacks in this area. And I live in NC.
Nothing I have suggested as a fix is easy or an overnight fix. It will take efforts by not only the schools, but the parents and the neighborhoods to reinforce it. We need to deal with assholes of any color as assholes. But I don’t see continuing down the same path we have been traveling will get us anywhere different if we just run faster.

seawulf575's avatar

@Demosthenes I absolutely believe we need to teach all of those things and many, many more. But don’t do it from a we/they perspective. As I have said, start by pushing unity…how we are alike instead of all how we are different. And then when those things are taught you can show living proof of how non-unity views lead to hatred, discrimination, and dozens of other horrible things.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There is a particular mistake on the part of the right in what appears on the surface to be a constant droning on racism. And that mistake is in the assumption that such efforts are little more than an excuse to gang up on white folks—the guilt trip hypothesis. But that only holds water with the premise that racism in America is merely a solution arrived at by a few otherwise decent folks and now perpetuated by a few deviant “assholes”. This is in no way the case, though there are those who insist that we should continue in the propagation of this myth in the interest of harmony and reconciliation. This hasn’t worked and is unlikely to ever work, for it ignores the fundamental fact that racism was about more than bigotry. It was in fact bigotry sanctioned and ENFORCED BY LAW. Indeed, the role of racism in the founding, settling and building of this country exceeds by far the significance of such factors as our vast resources, the railroads, great rivers, rich farmlands, you name it. It IS BUILT INTO OUR SOCIETY as surely as our habit of driving on the right side of the road it. Racism is as American as apple pie, and will not disappear merely because it might be declared unfashionable.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@stanleybmanly Sad but true.

flutherother's avatar

@stanleybmanly Racism is a nasty ugly trait that humanity would be better off without. I don’t declare it unfashionable but immoral and while it exists it would do us credit to try and remove it.

ragingloli's avatar

You do not attempt to solve antisemitism by first denying that the Holocaust happened.

seawulf575's avatar

@ragingloli No, you don’t. And if you look at pretty much every answer I have given, I have not once suggested denying anything happened. But what would happen if you, instead of putting Jews out as a separate group, taught kids from a very young age that they are people, just like everyone else? Celebrate the similarities instead of treating them as some sort of separate group that can get compartmentalized and disparaged as a whole. And once you establish that idea…that we are more similar than different…then when you talk about the holocaust, you can show how the thinking that goes against the new idea results in such evil. It actually makes the views of the holocaust even more pointed.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@seawulf575 The only objection I have with your solution is while you’re teaching children they’re just like everybody else (which is strongly emphasized in black households) the country they live in teaches them they’re not. Do you think the parents that stormed the Capital on January 6th look upon other races as themselves? What about the black kid that was chased down and shot to death for jogging in the “wrong neighborhood at the wrong time? Not to mention the cop who knelt on a man’s neck for allegedly passing a fake $20,00 bill? Or the black woman shot to death in her bed by the police looking for her boyfriend?How do you explain to children these type of atrocities happen largely to minorities? How does that teach them we’re all the same?

What you’re doing is “preaching to the choir”. I suspect many members here agree that what you suggest is a fine solution but the people who need to put your suggestion into practice are not interested in what you have to say. These are people from families where racism has been a generational long practice. They’d prefer to go back to the good old days where “others” were made to stay in their place ie. “Make America Great Again”.

There’s an old saying where a person says:

“I didn’t know I was poor until you told me I was.”

Well, a large part of the population in the United States feel like:

“I didn’t feel oppressed until you started oppressing me.”

This problem has been allowed to fester too long for the solution to be “let’s all get along.” For this nation to heal some wounds have to be addressed. Unfortunately large wounds take a hellava long time to heal, and is often very painful.

JLeslie's avatar

@SABOTEUR So, in Black households children don’t grow up hearing adults talk about having to work harder to achieve the same. They aren’t told people will judge them based on their skin color. Some households even favoring lighter skin colors themselves. Or, being aware of hate crimes against Black people, church shootings, because parents and other relatives are discussing it. Or, a more recent one I hear is not knowing their genealogy and because of slavery their traditions were robbed from them. I’m not saying they are told these things every day, but as an undercurrent in the background.

That’s how it was for me as a young Jewish girl growing up. I knew my people were targets of hate. I knew we had been experimented on, tortured and killed. I knew my family wouldn’t buy German cars. I knew synagogues had threats of mass shootings and bombs. I knew the confederate flag and swastika were people who hated me.

Feeling safe and equal in school and with friends at a young age was part of what made my life normal and the majority of the time all that background information was more like history and not present day.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@JLeslie Absolutely…everything you say is true. Yet whatever progress that’s been made over the years has seemingly done little to circumvent the effects of racism in this country. Racism is so deeply entrenched that many of us hate ourselves. I don’t know what the answer is and I seriously doubt I’ll see resolution in my lifetime. It is encouraging, though, to see people who openly display their contempt for people not like themselves starting to be called out for their destructive attitudes and behavior.

JLeslie's avatar

@SABOTEUR One difference I feel but I might be wrong in my perception is I was raised to be happy and grateful I live in the United States of America and I feel some Black children are robbed of that.

I was watching the testimony of the four policemen who were present and attacked on Jan 6, and the Black officer spoke about being called Nigger and that another Black officer was called the same and the other officer said never in his entire life of 40 years had he been called that. He looked mystified when he answered a question about racism in America and he basically said he guesses it is part of what America is. I felt like his America had not been that up until recently. I don’t mean he was unaware of racism in the country.

I grew up in the suburbs of DC and I have wondered if my Black friends felt racism growing up where I lived. We all socialized together, there is more than one mixed marriage among my friends from high school, I would be shocked to find out they were harassed more by police, but I don’t know for sure how it was for them.

I also don’t know how they felt about the Black history education in my school system, nor if they felt the education did anything to ward of racism.

By contrast many of the Black people I knew when I lived in the Tennessee seemed more affected and passing it down to their children. I primarily blame it on the white people though, and the history of the South and what continues present day there.

Where do you live?

SABOTEUR's avatar

@JLeslie People…black AND white…tend to disbelieve or disregard anything they haven’t actually experienced themselves. And just because racism is prevalent doesn’t mean all blacks or minorities experience racism to the same degree. Some black people, by virtue of the environment they were raised in or the relationships they’ve had, may have experienced little racism, if any at all. Racism, quite literally doesn’t exist for them…

…until an incident occurs that slaps them in the face. They get a “driving while black” vehicle violation ticket, or they’re denied good service in a restaurant…or someone calls them a nigger.

On the flip side, many white people have no contact with black people. What knowledge they have is obtained from tv, the printed page or what they hear from other people. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of what they hear is negative. It’s reasonable to assume seeing black people shouting about who-knows-what scares them. After all, doesn’t everybody have the opportunity to “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps”?

Racism is a complex subject. There is no common experience everyone can draw from, and not everyone wants to share common ground. I just feel for anyone being made aware of racism for the first time. It must be frightening to learn America isn’t quite as beautiful as they’ve always been led to believe.

JLeslie's avatar

@SABOTEUR Your last paragraph really hit me. I don’t think racism hit the Black officer for the first time, but I think the extreme of the incident and that it was thousands of people AND that some congressmen are not standing by him is what is shocking. I think as minorities we cling to that the laws are supposed to protect us. The law makers should protect us, although, we know historically that is not always the case.

I wonder for the white officers if they were shocked. I wondered if they were Republicans actually. I wondered if anything profoundly changed for them in their view of America.

As far as the Q my first reaction was a sort of sarcastic send all the WS to an Island or put them in jail.

As far as white people having no contact with Black people, my perception is the most racist people tend to live where there are Black people, a lot of Black people. The concentration of Blacks is across the Bible Belt. The white people there have created a situation to set up the dynamic. In these places Democrat is synonymous with Black, Black people are more likely to be poor, more likely to be less educated. It’s a set up. A generational set up That in reality of course has nothing to do with race but rather environment and opportunity.

Having said all of that I think most people are not racist. I don’t think what we are doing now in America regarding racism is helping young Black children feel safe and free and able to pursue their interests and joy. Right now it feels like we are being not one Black person has a chance in America.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@JLeslie You make several excellent points. I’d like to believe that most people aren’t racist. Be that as it may, institutionalized racism is pervasive. Far easier to attack racism on that front than trying to change people’s minds. That alone would be a huge step forward toward improving race relations.

As far as children are concerned I would not teach them they are safe. They aren’t. There are reasons other than crime that explain why there are more black youth in our prison systems, serving longer sentences than white youth for the same offenses. If anything I would teach them to always be mindful of where they are and the company they keep to prevent finding themselves in unfortunate situations.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I believe this question from @seawulf575 precisely illustrates our problem. He is saying that this emphasis on race can only divide us. But that line of thought is what retards progress toward the eradication of racism as foundational reality. The pro forma illegitimacy of the tradition by no means remedies the infrastructure constructed toward its maintenance and previous enforcement. The effects remain in place as assuredly as the ghettos and graduation rates in testimony to our traditions. And when you actually think about it, how sensible can it possibly be to NOT emphasize the enormous stupidity in the absurdity of the idea that your complexion determines your acceptability. It isn’t the fact that you or I personally don’t give a shit whether an eskimo or a hottentot sits next to us on the bus. What matters is that the bus is both designed and for most of its existence operated with their deliberate and enforced restriction in mind.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@stanleybmanly ABSOLUTELY!
(Uh…could you translate that into English…?)

seawulf575's avatar

@stanleybmanly And we have focused on how race is a division in this nation for 200 years. Has it gotten better or worse? The issue is that when you talk about division, you create more division. When you talk about racism, you create more racism. It hasn’t worked and shows no signs of changing now. To continue to push that same old tired cart is the definition of insanity….do the same thing over and over and expect a different result.

If we stop focusing on blaming people and start teaching more of how we are alike, we stop that cycle.

stanleybmanly's avatar

You have it backwards. It is because we have followed the very path you propose—laws are in place, let’s now concentrate on how we are now all alike rather than what divides us—THAT is the same old tired cart that has been pushed all these years and allows decent people like yourself to be actually shocked and confused when another black man is a victim of police misconduct. It is the myth that things have been ALREADY set right that allows you and others to genuinely puzzle over “what are all these black folks complaining about”. It is the DELIBERATE failure of the system itself to acknowledge and disseminate the TRUTH which leads you to assume that BLM is simply a subversive movement with made up grievances. YOU simply do not know any better, and as long as you don’t, there will be no improvement. You make the mistake in thinking because you strive to treat people decently, you are absolved of all responsibility to recognize or acknowledge the injustices surrounding you. The supposition that because you yourself aren’t burning crosses or sanctioning police brutality does not justify any pretense that the playing field is leveled, and no kid should be permitted to believe that since all of us are equal by law that this is the case. It is decidedly not, and MOST of us should not need to be taught this, for it is a FACT that “colors” every aspect of our existence in this country. And it is essential that our children be apprised of and prepared to confront this fact if for no other reason, they grow up to reflect the very attitudes you exhibit here.

JLoon's avatar

Wow. I think this may actually be an honest question, on an issue that lately tends to get buried under paranoia and falsehoods. So I’ll go along, and look at this as something other than just more partisan political theater.

I’ve asked myself before, is America racist? Our history is full of prejudice, greed, inequality, violence – and racism. But also tolerance, idealism, progress, and constant struggle for justice. The contrasts are stark, and almost by accident are built into nearly every law and custom that we live with as a society. There’s enough shame and hope for everyone. In other words, a lot of our flaws as a country have been systemic, but our best ideas are aimed at reforming the system.

Does thinking this way make me racist, or stupid? I don’t know, ask the neighbors. I believe one thing that saves me from total ignorance is that facts can still be found, and mistakes can be learned from. History is a good teacher if you ask the right questions. My understanding of critical race theory is that it tries to teach the value of asking hard questions about the story of race in America. I feel there’s something we can gain whenever we do this. But we have to be brave enough to ask. Hiding from the past never works.

So – serious stuff. But luckily there’s an answer from Professor Trevor Noah that settles everything :

Just remember – Whatever color you are on the outside, all your shit looks the same.

JLeslie's avatar

I had not read through the entire thread when I posted, but now I have.

@Mimishu1995 Wow! I had no idea that was the case in your country. I would not have guessed that the schools taught in such a way that it would evoke hate so many years later. I grew up with a lot of Vietnamese friends and they were awesome. Of course, they were born and raised in the US, but their parents had migrated here, and when I was younger I never thought about the war and the horrors when I was with my Vietnamese friends, but now I realize what some of their parents and grandparents probably went through and the stories my friends probably heard.

Regarding wars, I always think in most instances countrymen are just trying to fight for their country and in some ways are pawns, because some leader decided he wanted to kill other people. Although, some soldiers are savage and seem to enjoy carrying vicious sadist acts.

@SABOTEUR ALL children grow up with being told about dangers. Don’t go with a stranger, never get in someone else’s car. I wasn’t allowed to wear my name, I was taught to be wary of the police. I was told to never take my eyes off of my drink. Don’t walk alone, keep your head up when you walk. know what is around you. Lock all doors. I was told all of that at a very young age, and like I mentioned all of the holocaust rumblings to never forget and what happened to “my people.” But, there can be a balance. We need to tell children the dangers they might encounter, but young children usually should be able to feel safe with their parents, grandparents, in school, I think it is really important. Children who grow up feeling in danger all of the time, it changes who they are.

@seawulf575 We have 50 states and DC. Certainly, the US could try different methods in various states and see what works best. Where it doesn’t work as planned, well, hopefully most of the children are not too harmed, but overall we would learn best practices.

I always say I think very young children should be taught people come in all different shapes and sizes and colors, white, Black, red hair, blue eyes,...

When they are in middle and high school they should learn the history. History good and bad.

Learning the history of great Black inventors and scientists and our men and women who served in the armed forces and so many other great accomplishments I feel normalizes it. I think it is really important.

I’m so tired I have to go to sleep, I hope this answer is understandable.

Brian1946's avatar


I flunked one of Professor Noah’s classes, when I attended Comedy Central State! ;-D

Mimishu1995's avatar

@JLeslie regarding Vietnamese people in America, very recently I have kind of learned to be sympathetic with them through stories of various jellies here. But they are, by default, hated by most Vietnamese people. To us they are traitors, people who sold their soul to the devil and ran away with it when it lost the war. I have never considered them true Vietnamese. Maybe I will change my mind in the future, but right now I still have so much bias to get over and it’s not an overnight thing.

It doesn’t help either that some of them actually hold grudge against Vietnamese people in Vietnam and are very vocal about it.

I’m sorry if I sound hateful, but it’s hard to undo 20 years of education.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@JLoon so I just watched your video. So here’s my thought on it:

Unfortunately, although it’s about history education in America, the problem it raises is actually a problem in my own country too. When he asks “what’s the point of history”, my heart sinks. I was taught that I had to learn history so that I could be proud of my country, of our glorious past of fighting invaders. We were never told to look at history and learn from it, we were told to look at it and be proud of who we were. And this was how I became so hateful for such a long time.

You can look at your history critically without believing you are personally to blame for it is a quote from the video. And unfortunately this isn’t what my people are going to accept, simply because we have done nothing wrong in the past. Very recently I have come to realize some rather unpleasant part of my own history please PM me if you want to know what it is, but back then I either didn’t know about it, or knew about it but brush it off as part of my glorious history. And seeing that my history textbook has never changed since my day at school, I don’t think people are ready for that kind of thinking soon.

The problem with history education isn’t a unique problem of America. And I wish everyone could be like Germany when it comes to history, being able to accept the wrong things without dwelling on them.

And the fact that I have to tell you to PM me is saying something.

JLoon's avatar

@Mimishu1995 – I’m just a girl with attitude – but I think most of history is a record of things that sooner or later someone is ashamed of.

So don’t feel uncomfortable if you’ve found something in your country’s past you’re not proud of. It just shows you’ve been thinking. And expecting any American to point out what’s wrong with Vietnam is like asking a bad doctor where they buried their mistakes.

We’re all in this together. But some of us are in deeper than we think.

JLeslie's avatar

@Mimishu1995 Most Americans feel we did the wrong thing going to war in Vietnam. A lot of Americans feel shame or great sadness over what happened to so many civilians in Vietnam. I don’t know any American who is proud of the Vietnam war. Some are proud of having served in our military and feel they did their duty fighting when their country asked them too. We are not taught the Vietnamese people are our enemy, rather we are taught America is a melting pot of people from around the world. That’s what I was taught. So, Vietnamese kids in my class were just more kids to play with. Vietnamese, Korean, Panamanian, Chinese, Russian, German, Italian, we were all there together in one classroom when I was young. I was in a very diverse city.

It’s surprising to me you judge or hate Americans based on the war, but it is fairly recent in your history so I guess I should not be so surprised. I would say don’t hold the sins of the fathers against the sons. Americans who are your age did not fight in that war. We are saddened that so many Vietnamese and Americans were killed and went through great suffering.

My family talked about the Nazis being horrible people. Many relatives around me growing up believed many Germans in Germany did feel they were superior, and that they believed in the cause. We also realize some Germans did not agree with Hitler. The German-Americans in America we never thought twice about, they were American like me. We Americans all had family from somewhere. Germans who were Nazis, who believed Hitler was right, I would not hold that against their children and grandchildren. I would need to know how they think of the world and people.

America is very proud of winning against Hitler. There is no doubt we are taught that and believe it.

Americans are split on how they feel about dropping the atomic bomb on Japan, but most feel Japan started that war and we had to fight Japan. The bomb is controversial partly because some people believe Japan was getting ready to surrender before the first bomb was dropped.

I think overall I was educated as so many here have said, we can be taught both. To be taught the different colors we all come in is just an accident of birth that doesn’t mean anything regarding the person inside, and that everyone should have equal opportunity in the US. We also get taught the history good and bad. I guess some jellies weren’t taught both.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@JLeslie I’m sorry, I’m truly sorry that I’m so hateful. But this is just to so how much my education has distorted my view of the world and how much I have to unlearn things. Even when I know intellectually that the Vietnamese Americans are just normal people trying to live peacefully, hearing about them still stirs up some strong, hateful reaction in me. I have successfully got rid of my hatred for Americans, but I still have a long way to go regarding Vietnamese Americans.

I’m so shocked in a positive way that America didn’t teach children that Vietnam was the enemy. I used to think that there was at least some hate among Americans toward us. I really wish that I had been taught the same way as you.

Maybe it’s worth saying that my culture puts a high value on conformity and holding grudge. I still remember learning about a poem with a verse praising people of ancient time holding grudge for “the enemy”. It could be why we find it hard to be sympathetic of the Vietnamese Americans.

I’m sorry if it has become a rambling right now. If it was on FB, I would have been called mad and doxxed by now.

JLeslie's avatar

@Mimishu1995 You shouldn’t apologize. If anything I find it great that you have spent time getting to know Americans and listening to our point of view. I am terrible at history, and wars really did not hold my interest in history class. I think America was very worried about communism and that is why we went into the war. I don’t know much of anything about your government today, I should read up a little.

Maybe Vietnam is very homogeneous? I don’t know if you have a lot of immigration there. In America it’s ridiculous that some of our citizens want a “white” country. 40% of our country is not “white” in the way that group of people think about the word. Luckily, the majority of Americans don’t think that way.

flutherother's avatar

@Mimishu1995 The Vietnamese people were never really the enemy. The US was fighting world Communism, or so it thought, and had it understood history a little better it might have made better decisions back in the 50’s and 60’s. There was no malice on America’s part just stupidity which often leads to even worse outcomes.

Please don’t apologise. You have nothing to apologise for.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@JLeslie We have immigration from several different countries, and I know a lot of them are staying permanently. But none of them are really considered Vietnamese by Vietnamese. They are always “that quirky foreigner” to the locals. And that means they are subjected to the usual stereotypes of the locals. It doesn’t help either that very few of them can speak Vietnamese fluently I don’t blame them, Vietnamese is a very hard language to learn, and that puts them in a very bad position when people are able to use their lack of understanding of the language to their advantage, from teasing to deliberately misleading them.

One of the most humiliating stereotypes people have for foreigners mostly Americans and Europeans is that they are somehow very naive, like they are so pure they don’t have any understanding of how the world works. That stereotype leads people to play trick on foreigners like coercing them into buying things they don’t want with a high price. The younger generation is getting over this petty behavior as they learn more about the world outside of Vietnam, but not every young person are working for the better. Recently, I’ve seen people mostly young people teaching foreigners words that are inappropriate at best and offensive at worst and tricking them into thinking they are common Vietnamese words, and get off on seeing the foreigners saying those words out loud. It’s like I come to Fluther wanting to learn about your American culture, but instead of anything useful, you guys teach me about the most offensive memes possible and call them American culture.

The only people who are considered Vietnamese but aren’t of Vietnamese origin are the Chinese-Vietnamese, but it’s because they have been here for a long time, and they look almost like us. But they aren’t exactly safe either. During the conflict about the South China Sea in 2015, people flocked out on the street and attacked the Chinese-Vietnamese simply because they were Chinese.

So yeah… Vietnam is very homogeneous.

JLeslie's avatar

@Mimishu1995 I think your contribution to this thread was really enlightening and helpful. It shows how influential education is. What about schools today? So they still teach the same curriculum? Also, have you traveled at all to Western Europe, or Australia, or anywhere in The Americas?

@seawulf575 Did you say what you were taught in school about race? I don’t remember.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@JLeslie Textbooks today haven’t changed since I left school. They are trying to make new textbooks for primary students and I see new textbooks for little children being pushed into schools in recent years. I haven’t taken a look at them yet, but hopefully they are better than the textbooks I had back when I was a kid. But there have been no changes in the textbooks for older students, and that destroys whatever good thing young kids learn in primary school.

And no, I haven’t been to any foreign country apart from Thailand :)

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Mimishu1995 I find the hatred of Vietnamese-Americans incomprehensible.
The Vietnamese immigrants were fleeing communists who wanted to kill them. When Americans came to help defend Democracy, anyone who worked with them towards that goal were targeted to be killed on sight along with their entire families.
Most importantly, they long for Vietnam and they love their country. They still teach their children Vietnamese and most refuse intermarriage with Americans as mixed race are usually frowned upon, here anyway.
They celebrate with huge extravagant parades every year, serve only Vietnamese food and products, and many find marriages at these events.

It’s difficult to hear you think victims of the war are unwelcome and unloved, as I hear stories of how they can finally go home for a visit and are so very thankful. :(

Mimishu1995's avatar

@KNOWITALL That’s the result of an education that is hyper-focus on hatred. Like I said, I know intellectually that what I think is wrong, but it still takes me some times to get myself to recover emotionally. And that is after I have discovered Fluther. Imagine how things would become if I hadn’t come here.

I hope that your American education system won’t go on the same road as my education. I don’t want anyone to become what I have become.

JLeslie's avatar

@Mimishu1995 One day you will visit the United States.

I agree with most everything @KNOWITALL said. My Vietnamese friends all spoke Vietnamese, they mostly married to other Vietnamese, but I assume that’s changing now as time passes. Parties were amazing dance parties where all generations danced and lots of food. Most Vietnamese people live in diverse cities in America where they are just one of many Asian faces, actually one of all sorts of faces from around the world. Although, quite a few wound up in our Midwest near @KNOWITALL, which has less diversity than our coastal states.

I wouldn’t doubt there are some racist people who don’t like Vietnamese in my country, but that is not the overwhelming sentiment in my observation. There are people in America who hate everyone not like themselves.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@JLeslie @KNOWITALL this is the first time I have a heart-to-heart conversation about this topic. It hasn’t been easy for me. I’m sorry if I sound evil.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Mimishu1995 I’m sorry it’s not easy to talk about, but don’t feel bad for your honest feelings ever! All of us learn as we go through life.

What I have noticed is that many of the ‘progressive’ or New Wave Vietnamese live on the coasts, and more traditional Vietnamese live in the Midwest as it’s more religious. I have never seen more religious culture in my life. Some go to mass every single morning! Even Buddhists and other religions often go to the Catholic churches here.

raum's avatar

@Mimishu1995 I had family on both sides of the war. And I have to admit that reading your comments can sometimes be upsetting for me.

But I don’t think that you’re evil. I just think you are the end product of the winner of a war rewriting history and textbooks.

Though that is to be expected.
To the victor go the spoils.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@raum “I just think you are the end product of the winner of a war rewriting history and textbooks.”

So true and compassionate. GA!

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