What is Loewen's chief criticism of history textbooks from Chapter 5 of Lies My Teacher Told Me? 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The overall criticism of textbooks in this chapter is that they overlook the racism that Loewen says pervaded American life.  Loewen argues that the dominance of blacks by whites is "perhaps the most pervasive theme in our history (p. 131)."  He argues that textbooks ignore this or downplay it in many ways.  For example:

  • They downplay slavery in the North.  They make it seem as if slavery were something that only affected the South.
  • They do not talk about how slavery continues to impact our society today.
  • The discussions of slavery emphasize how much the slaves were wronged, but do not really emphasize who wronged them.  They act as if the slavery just happened.

All of these, and more, are criticisms that Loewen has of American history textbooks on the issue of race and slavery.

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