You recently published open forum letters deriding "critical race theory." I have lived in four countries, and the most important lesson I learned is that history is taught subjectively everywhere. History is one of the most important subjects and should be taught objectively, covering all sides, warts and all!
As a child in England, I was raised in the Church of England. We were taught that Great Britain, though part of Europe, was superior to the continent. Catholics were to be mistrusted as were most Continentals (think Spanish Armada, burning Protestants at the stake and Catholics trying to blow up King James and the Houses of Parliament! ). The Protestant British we were taught brought civilizing influence and Western culture to the world.
My parents immigrated to South Africa about the time I was to start high school. In Apartheid-era South Africa, I was not a resident alien as immigrants here are called, I was a "white alien." I went to an English-speaking school for whites. Of my closest friends, one was Jewish, his parents having escaped from Eastern Europe just before WW2. The other was a Catholic of Italian descent. My old preconceived notions about Continentals and religion went out the window!
During history, we learned about the Boer war of 1899 to 1902. This war was in part sparked by the British desire to expand their empire and grab the gold in the old South African Republic. Americans learn Turkey was responsible for the first genocide of the 20th century against the Armenians. In actual fact, the first was perpetrated by the British Empire. Lord Kitchener, leader of the British forces, realized the only way to win was to starve the Boers into submission. He instituted a scorched earth policy and put the Boer noncombatants in concentration camps where they died by the tens of thousands. Not murdered like in Nazi gas chambers, but they died of starvation, exposure, disease etc.; the results were similar. History was taught very differently in the British Empire. The camps were characterized as a way to care for the Boers, almost like holiday camps!
As a white in South Africa, we weren't taught how blacks, also interred in the camps by Kitchener, died in equal numbers. History was only revised to include this fact when Apartheid ended. Similarly as a white in South Africa, we were never taught about the "Native Lands Act" of 1913 where the blacks who accounted for 75% of the population were dispossesed of their homes and farms and were limited to ownership of less than 10% of South Africa.
As a British immigrant to South Africa, I did not feel guilt that my former countrymen had been responsible for the first genocide of the 20th century. The difference in the way history was taught did awaken a realization too much history is swept under the carpet. "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it" in the words of Edmund Burke, an Irish statesman.
Richard Good is a resident of Frederick County.