“Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses”
George Washington Carver
By Christopher C.L. Custer, MD
I realize all history is written by people, and people have individual viewpoint- some have axes to grind, vested interests, or good intentions. So when you read history, at best we are reading history told from a variety of viewpoint. To remedy this, historians at least have to consider at least two of these perspectives. A good historian tries to write by evaluating often contradictory evidence and hope the answer they get lies somewhere between the two views. The desire to know the truth, by having a honest unbiased evaluation, to me, should be the ultimate goal of any historian worth his salt
So, what are the motives authors have to have to tell these stories. One motive is situational motives, where people interpret evidence to support their situation. World War ll is a prime example of situational motives by using propaganda to present certain evidence favorable to one side or another. Situational motives often using propaganda are essential to establish unity and singleness of purpose against the enemy. Joseph Goebbel perhaps best said when he said to the german people, " We want Total War."To make the ultimate sacrifice for the Nazi cause. Another type of propaganda is to cover up the truth by not telling the part of the situation unfavorable to you. The Slapton Sands Debacle in 1944 was a allied landing practice for D-day that went badly for the Allies. The fate of over 700 dead G.I was not told to the American people for another 44 years. Another example was the Challenger Disaster of 1986. All baby boomers know exactly where they were during this event. What they probably don’t know that an O-ring failure in a solid rocket causing a catastrophe, was known 9 years earlier-1977, but never acted on.Americans are essentially being taught a sanitized White version of American, or for that matter World HistoryAnother propaganda- type of history which no American should not be proud of, is to deny a group of population their place in the sun or recognition of their deeds. Reading a story by Belinda Mallasasime , about of all things- a better sanitary pad belt, gave me pause to reflect(1). While this invention is not on the tip of the tongue of most people, it is a symptom or sign of a deep-seated flaw in American History. American history by in large, is not teaching the history of Black people. By not teaching Black History we are inferring that Black History is not as important as White History. Blacks don’t deserve recognition because they are not as good as white people. Americans are essentially being taught a sanitized white version of American or for that matter World History. The phrase, "History is written by the victors," in reality should read, " History is written by the white victors." I live by a credo, " Give credit where credit is due." In this case, Whites are certainly not doing that.
1) Mallasasime, B Mary Kenner: Inventor of the Sanitary Belt (July 8,2021), Medium.