From time to time I surprise myself when some profound statement emerges from my fingertips and such an occurrence took place last week.
A pal had posted about the annoyance she felt at the hypocrisy she sees online, that groups while complaining about history, use history as validation and evidence for their actions. I saw her point and responded
History is history, we should learn from it, all of it, the good, the bad, the ugly, the triumph and the disaster, the compassionate, the whole, it’s ripples and it’s consequences. After all the shouting, breast beating and hash tagging, what will have changed for the better – very little quite possibly and that’s the saddest footnote for history to teach.Me on Facebook
There is currently a tv advert for Persil which includes the phrase “hashtags can’t plant trees and tweets won’t clean oceans”, making reference to actions speak louder than words. Has social media turned the majority of users into outspoken criticisers, has it given the multitude a venting platform for vitriol, perhaps that’s a subject for another day.
As we move into black history month (it’s October in the UK) I agree with the thought that more perspective is needed regarding how history is taught and what history is taught. History is a subject that will keep growing, look at the past hundred years or so, what parts should be picked out to teach, the speeches of Martin Luther King Jnr alongside the riots and protests of Black Lives Matter; the horrors of the Holocaust and Russian pogroms and the teachings of Mahatma Ghandi; the nursing prowess of Mary Seagrove and the South African apartheid movement. The advances of industry and science and the violence of protests, riots and oppressive regimes. It’s sheer volume means we cannot cover it all.
The recent yelling and vandalism regarding the historical slave trade has highlighted a gaping hole in subjects covered, the actions taken have been destructive rather than constructive. I’m not sure if this programme is available worldwide but the tv series “The House History Built” is excellent, it traces the history of all who lived in one house across centuries.
Nothing is clear cut, everything exists in the grey area.