Howard Zinn’s chapter on Columbus, the Indians, an Human Progress not only covered a new perspective on colonial genocide on Native Americans, it also laid a foundation for the need for new perspectives in the following chapters. The way it questions, then subsequently defends, its purpose for expanding the American narrative leaves a strong need to dissect the way we’ve learned our histories. Zinn notes that while emphasis in historical retelling is inevitable, we can still carefully analyze this “learned sense of moral proportion”. Somewhere down the road of American exceptionalism, self-committed atrocities got lost in the rest of our history, that which is told by the victors. Misconceptions of human progress should not dictate how and why we learn our stories. While we cannot go back in time, it is entirely possible to rewrite a broader history.
What strikes me most about the dissonance between the flaws of the American education system and broader historical perspectives is the misconception that modern amends can’t be worked towards. Un-learning demands a constant thought process, but it is one that can and should be implemented at every level of education. Historical white supremacy, specifically that regarding the eras of colonization and globalization, is deeply embedded within the narratives we are taught to remember. Most importantly, relearning our history can’t exist within a bubble of higher education, it must expand far into American culture on the whole.