OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

The Role of Bias in History

The World War 1 and 2 both has some stories to tell and there are certain reasons that lead to the bias...

Photo of Victor Bradford
0 0

Written by

Textbooks play an important role in spreading the information about historical events among students and to a certain extent, they do identify the successes and problems associated with the past that led to the society we are currently living in.

However, as Frances FitzGerald noted almost 15 years ago, "what sticks to the memory from those textbooks [from her schooldays] is not any particular series of facts but an atmosphere, an impression, a tone. And this impression may be all the more influential just because one cannot remember the facts and the arguments that created it". And she couldn't be more right.

One such impression created by the biased history textbooks is related to World Wars. Let's find out with the essay writing service.

World War 2 and American History

A lot of history textbooks taught in America list World War 2 as the most prominent event in history. The event not only made rulers and organisations question the human rights abuse but also changed the dynamics of hierarchy among citizens.

While it is a fact that the after-effects of war led to insecurities and economic recession in America, the sufferings of minorities have been thoroughly ignored from the history taught in schools today.

An excerpt from a popular passage states, "Americans also suffered deep anxieties and fears. However, these fears did not lead to the widespread repressions of minority groups that occurred in World War I."

Now, this seems authentic, but it could not be farther from the truth. The statement suggests that racism and mistreatment of minority groups were not "widespread" when in actuality, Japanese-Americans suffered greatly due to the discrimination against them. By negating their experiences, history implies that there was an improvement in the situation when the atrocities on the ethnic groups became worse after the war.

World War I and American History

Recalling the instances of World War I, Bragdon, McCutchen, and Ritchie argue that "although discrimination against workers led to race riots in 26 northern cities in 1917, African Americans in the north made significant economic gains during the war" (1992, 747). If you closely observe the structure of this sentence, it indicates that the racism against African Americans can be justified with the "economic" benefits they acquired during the war.

The word "although" specifically undermines the struggles of the financially poor minorities because only a fraction of the African-Americans made money. Furthermore, equating racism with economic growth is also problematic because it implies that racial discrimination can be tolerated if the group is financially stable.

The examples mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg of how biased history actually is. Systematic racism, oppression of women, mistreatment of homosexuals and transgender people have been conveniently excluded from the textbooks that are being taught in schools. We live in a world that largely favours democracy, so it should be the responsibility of the state to provide a three-dimensional perspective to narrate all the events of past and present.

Find this story inspiring? Add your own!


Join the conversation: