Sherri Gragg

Juggler of words and children…collector of pottery shards

The Bitter Pill of Sugarcoated History

On my flight yesterday to New Orleans, I sat next to an Indian immigrant who inquired about the book I was reading, “Lies My Teacher Told Me”‘, written by James W. Loewen.

I explained that it is a history book about all the information that is left out of American History texbooks. In short, the book covers the less heroic side of American history.

I asked my Indian neighbor if the texbooks in India rewrite history by failing to include the bad and the ugly alongside the good.

He said, “Of course!”

Yet, I feel this rewriting of history is especially grievious in the land of my birth. Everyone is supposed to get a fair shake here. No one’s accomplishments should be negated because of his race. No leader’s injustices should be sugar coated for the sake of heroification.

When the truth is tainted before it is told, the vulnerable always suffer.

Sometimes, I read comments from Americans who think the United States should refrain from “wasting” resources in Haiti. These writers usually base their reasoning on what they view as patterns of gross irresponsibility on the part of Haitians. What American’s don’t understand is that Haiti has a history shackled by the oppression of nations that were bigger, wealthier, stronger.

Americans don’t know that it was not just the French who victimized Haiti, we did it too. American’s have forgotten Woodrow Wilson.

I challenge you to do a little research on Wilson’s presidency. See what truth has been diluted or even ommitted completely. Feel free to submit your findings to the comment section. In a couple of days, I’ll post again with the truth, the whole truth….

Which is the only truth.

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3 comments on “The Bitter Pill of Sugarcoated History

  1. watchingthewaters
    February 20, 2010

    Thanks for sharing the book title, Sherri.. I placed my order on Amazon.. Have you read “The Uses of Haiti” by Paul Farmer? It’s a good one..

  2. Heather
    February 22, 2010

    thanks for challenging your readers to investigate!

    From what I quickly gathered in my online research…

    The US government under Wilson’s leadership 1) forced Haiti’s legislature to pick a president approved by the US. 2) forced Haiti’s legislature to adopt a less democratic constitution 3)established large plantations – breaking up the individual’s ownership of small tracts of land.

    I wish I could say that I’m shocked to read these things. Heartbroken, more like it.

    A link to some info, I haven’t read through it all yet: http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/43a/index-af.html

    • Sherri
      February 23, 2010

      Good job, Heather!

      Corey – I have not read the book, but am familiar with Mr. Farmer. I will place “The Uses of Haiti” on my reading list along with a book about Mr. Farmer’s life, “Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Kidder

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This entry was posted on February 20, 2010 by in American History, Haiti, human rights, justice.
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