Oral histories were how a generation taught the next generation — and so on.
For too long, our education hasn’t been complete. And, shamefully, with more technologies and resources at our disposal, than ever before, there’s a new generation that is following in the path of past generations who feared an educated people.
Because we know that information is power, so some folks (especially those who are only educated to be partisan & bias):
1) Attempt to re-write well-documented & substantiated stories;
2) Criminalize the teaching of facts they don’t like;
3) Demoralize & fire educators who have been trained to teach to the facts;
4) Confuse students — of all ages;
5) Attempt to act as if past atrocities didn’t happen;
6) Maskirovka by Putin;
7) Preach racist ideology, as elected officials, and still get campaign funding;
9) Take money & gifts from billionaires while serving as a justice (Clarence are you listening?)
10) Gleefully endorse a pathological liar.
The worst world leaders stay in power, when the people are kept ignorant, afraid to speak out or have simply given up. Money fuels it.
As institutions; like the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture; and globally-embraced teachings; like The 1619 Project; are spot-lighted, some want to shut them down. The truths they contain have caught the attention of the masses. The voting masses. A generation that sees the evil embedded in the past and have compassionate and empathetic hearts that won’t ignore or embrace hate.
Our Civic Duties
Our democracy dies if lies prevail. It is up to us to counter-punch — with facts, voices and our votes. Parents, politicians & schools that continue to white-wash and/or deny fact-based history are hazardous to our constitutional health.
When you learn truths, teach them.
Many organizations have made long-term commits to educating the people about important stories & lives. The Equal Justice Initiative has been leading in sharing 365 days of America’s uncomfortable & painful truths through myriad projects, like Reconstruction in America. The African America Policy Forum has also been making sure that the Truth Be Told.
Face it, racial hatred, oppression, anti-Black racism, marginalization and discrimination has deep roots in America. And the world isn’t exempt from the the perpetual after-math & new tools created by those who rather normalize hate instead of working to eradicate it. You don’t ban books of heroes like Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson & Hank Aaron, because their stories aren’t comfortable. No American leader deserves respect or an office if they disrespect or deny historical truth — like in Florida.
Post-Tweet-Op-Ed-Talk TELL the TRUTH
WE have allowed lies & liars to take center stage — a fascist specialty. To be ANTI-fascist has become the enemy. What do WWII vets think about that? Millions have embraced a multitude of lies as their truths — in light of irrefutable evidence to the contrary. The cult creation playbook has taken hold.
Rand Corporation, a nonpartisan, global think tank, has been calling out “TRUTH decay” — A two-decades long “diminishing role of facts and analysis in American public life” — for the past several years. Before politicians, pundits, preachers, parents, , in full-throat, questioned the legitimacy America’s history, there have been handfuls of humanity who would peel off from the mainstream. A persuasive individual or team, would convince a group of folks that their way was the right, accurate, only way. Persuasive “faith” leaders compelled people to separate from families to follow their chosen one. Jim Jones, Jim Bakker, Branch Davidians, MOVE, Heaven’s Gate made headlines, but there are countless more that wrecked lives on smaller scales.
The MOVE community was unjustifiably fire-bombed by police, in the heart of a Black neighborhood. The Branch Davidians remote compound was destroyed by authorities. Religious based cults are often questioned and/or quashed in America. Yet, politically biased ideologies & race-based cults (e.g. Proud Boys) and cultish acts get to thrive without resounding rebuke.
But, how many lives were lost or forever-changed because of Hitler’s push for power built upon targeted hate & disinformation — thanks, in part, to his Propaganda Ministry? We cannot ignore that propaganda from the past sounds very contemporary.
Fast forward to January 6, 2020 & today. One man — with an extensive track-record of lies & deception — won the hearts, minds and wallets of a multitude of folk who were willing to forgive, ignore or cover-up his transgressions. A rabid majority voted him to victory. The propaganda ministry 2.0 was victorious.
Remember when he denied the rumors of his interest in Hitler’s writings? He denied it (and Stormy Daniels and the election was fair and…). We witness a new, America-grown propaganda ministry churn on — even if we were warned long ago. Now, he’s been held liable for sexual assault and defamation — and some still celebrate him. People were, literally, lied to death due to politicized Covid propaganda. The next generation of members of Congress have run on lies — supported by the party.
Face the Truth
We can lament about the dangers of disinformation & propaganda, often spread by those who perpetuate “artificial” intelligence or we take action. Use the same tools that are used to spread MIS-information to spread fact-based information. Post historical facts on social media. Share fact-based stories on political platforms & with politicians, school boards, members and others who seek to undermine the truths that must be taught for our collective liberation. Share historical facts with those in your circles (of all ages — adults need to learn, too). Share the truths so that we are all have access to the facts. And, use teachable moments to, kindly, correct the mis/un-informed amongst us (there are many spreading the really fake news).
Vote for people who aren’t afraid of learning & teaching the truth. Their policy making is key to combatting systemic inequities, isms & perpetual disparities. Invest in organizations and people who aren’t afraid of the truth and work to make our future better.
Share the facts of injustice and inequities that provoke voters and their employees in public office to fix what’s wrong and CHANGE unjust policies and practices.
Daily headlines are exposing a multitude of lies about the nation, our information and those “in charge”. Some folks rather believe lies over inconvenient and uncomfortable truths. For the people to truly be free, it’s up to ALL of us to make sure that truth prevails.
Putting in this truth-telling/sharing work will get us closer to creating a more perfect Union, filled with liberty and justice for ALL. Many of us already know that the TRUTH — no matter how inconvenient — will make us free. Let’s be free!