The antidote to feel-good history is not feel-bad history but honest and inclusive history.

— James W. Loewen

The most satisfaction James W. Loewen quotes that will activate your inner potential

Those who don't remember the past are condemned to repeat the eleventh grade.

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Christopher Columbus introduced two phenomena that revolutionized race relations and transformed the modern world: the taking of land, wealth, and labor from indigenous people in the Western Hemisphere, leading to their near extermination, and the transatlantic slave trade, which created a racial underclass.

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Students will start finding history interesting when their teachers and textbooks stop lying to them.

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History is important. More than any other topic, it is about us. Whether one deems our present society wondrous or awful or both, history reveals how we got to this point.

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Unfortunately, marketing textbooks is like marketing fishing lures: the point is to catch fishermen, not fish. Thus many adopted textbooks are flashy to catch the eye of adoption committees but dull when read by students.

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Native Americans are not and must not be props in a sort of theme park of the past, where we go to have a good time and see exotic cultures. “What we have done to the peoples who were living in North America” is, according to anthropologist Sol Tax, “our Original Sin.

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Conclusions are not always pleasant.

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There's no excuse therefore, for a 1,152 page book.

I think we should all be using 300-page paperbacks. These exist.

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Many Americans have never owned a book, and I'm not talking about because of the recent digital revolution. I'm talking about before there even was a digital revolution.

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Textbooks are written in an oracular monotone, so that they claim to be true and important.

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I'm looking forward to the future, which is a good thing, because it's coming.

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Textbooks should show that neither morality nor immorality can simply be conferred upon us by history. Merely being part of the United States, without regard to our own acts and ideas, does not make us moral or immoral beings. History is more complicated than that.

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About James W. Loewen

Quotes 36 sayings
Profession Sociologist
Birthday February 6, 1942

We preach democracy while supporting dictatorships.

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All of the common core standards stuff about critical reading and critical thinking and so on can only be positive.

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Cherishing Columbus is a characteristic of white history, not American history.

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History can be a weapon, and it can be used against you.

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We still have to realize that if you are say a historian of the Civil War, you don’t know anything special about say Columbus or for that matter the 20th century. You are a consumer of that information, especially if it’s stuff like Columbus and the American Indians. That information isn’t even in history, much of it. Much of it is in anthropology or archeology.

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Many Americans have never owned a book.

And others have never owned a non-fiction book. Providing them with a 300-page paperback would get them started, maybe. And even if it didn't, at least they'd own that one. So that's a serious problem.

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People have a right to their own opinions, but not to their own facts.

Evidence must be located, not created, and opinions not backed by evidence cannot be given much weight.

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The layout of textbooks, I think, has been done with an assumption that students don't read.

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There is no excuse for these 1,152 page textbooks.

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The world, of course, doesn't come divided into disciplines. The world just is.

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In sum, U.S. history is no more violent and oppressive than the history of England, Russia, Indonesia, or Burundi - but neither is it exceptionally less violent.

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Columbus not only sent the first slaves acroiss the Atlantic, he sent more slaves than any other individual

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Teachers need to teach the subject rather than to teach the textbook.

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Nobody would ever want to read a textbook about the Civil War and then interrupt that for two pages about water rights in the west.

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Textbooks pretty much have no real drama.

They have no real storyline. To the extent they have a storyline.

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It is always useful to think badly about people one has exploited or plans to exploit.

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I often suggest in workshops that if you have 30 students in your American History course in 11th grade, or whatever grade level, that you maybe triple them up. You put, and have them choose, let's say 11 different Native American cultures. Maybe you give them a list of 15 and they choose 11 of those 15 so that they have some choice in the matter.

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I don't think teachers read the textbooks.

And I don't think adoption committees read the textbooks before they adopt them. I think they look at them.

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I think the first important thing is that usually most textbooks are not written by their authors. And so by author I mean the people who did not write them; so it's a new definition of "author."

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As a result of the sufferings and hard labor they endured, the Indians choose and have chosen suicide. Occasionally a hundred have committed mass suicide. The women, exhausted by labor, have shunned conception and childbirth . . . Many, when pregnant, have taken something to abort and have aborted. Others after delivery have killed their children with their own hands, so as not to leave them in such oppressive slavery.

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What gets lost in the textbook is the overall narrative.

It gets lost in all the boxes and all the photos and all the little stuff that's stuck in all the time.

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I've been in towns where there is no library, or where the library for the high school and the library for the town is one room, and it's smaller than my modest living room here. So you don't have many resources in 1950 or even 1970. This is the year, 2013, every town in America is connected to the web. Every town in America is therefore connected to all kinds of resources at the Library of Congress, at 100,000 websites.

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It is always useful to think badly about people one has exploited or plans to exploit... No one likes to think of him or herself as a bad person. To treat badly another person whom we consider a reasonable human being creates a tension between act and attitude that demands resolution. We cannot erase what we have done, and to alter our future behavior may not be in our interest. To change our attitude is easier.

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