09 March 2011

Zinn on Slavery

During an argument on Facebook concerning observations of racism in the Tea Party movement, a putative historian opined:
Maybe you got your history from Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States--the most assigned history textbook in our schools. Howard Zinn, Communist Party Member, said that, "objective history was undesirable if it is to serve a social purpose." He also explained that if you ask 100 different people who lived through an event or time what happened you'll get 100 different answers. So he sought to teach history through the perspectives of the victims of history. That makes me wonder who decided who the victims were and how accurate can we expect his books (our history textbooks) to be? One example of how Howard Zinn was wrong: he claimed that European whites brought slavery to the Americas, when in fact there was already an abundant slave trade in place between the Indian tribes well before the white Europeans came. [spelling and punctuation errors in original corrected]
Zinn's discussion of slavery in the first two chapters of A People's History is not quite as represented by this Tea Party apologist. I urge my readers to read Zinn more carefully.

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