I heard something last week that had steam coming out my ears. Someone sent my husband, a principal, an email explaining that in the UK schools are dropping controversial subjects such as the Holocaust and the Crusades from history lessons because they do not want to cause offense to children from certain races or religions.
Excuse Me? Are you serious?! Heaven forbid we actually *offend* anyone with history. Not to mention that it really happened, because truth is all relative anyway, right? Well, I’m offended by my Junior year Homecoming date. So, guess what? It never happened. Nope. We won’t talk about it. And the other people there? Well, they just better be quiet so I don’t get upset. And the pictures I have of the dance? Gone. They were obviously doctored anyway.
My example sounds stupid, but that’s just because it is a stupid idea. We better not teach children about the discovery of America by the Europeans, because it just might offend the descendants of the native American people. And don’t teach about Apartheid in South Africa. We wouldn’t want anyone to get any bad feelings. While we’re at it, let’s not talk about the fall of the Romans. That’s not a very happy story. We better not cover any of the wars in history either, or about any tyrants, despots, or dictators that have slaughtered their own people. Someone might get “offended.”
I’ve got it! Why don’t we just sugar-coat EVERYTHING, so that no one anywhere has unhappy feelings. Of course, then we’ll just raise a generation who can’t handle life or other people, because—guess what?—the world is full of offensive people and events. And we should get offended sometimes. That reaction keeps us from repeating some of the mistakes and evils of the past.
When I heard this I started foaming at the mouth, as you can probably tell. I thought to myself, “Self, this is a perfect opening blog.” Now, I write non-fiction, and so it is instinctive for me to check my sources. So I got online and, lo and behold, I found the following information.
NEWS FLASH This is a hoax and is not true. In fact, it has been circulating for at least a year now. I found this info. in multiple locations, but here is a letter from the Israel News blog.
“16th April 2007
Over the past weeks there have been a number of rumours circulating via email regarding Holocaust education here in the UK. The emails suggest that the UK Government are removing Holocaust education from the National Curriculum and that in general British schools steer away from teaching what they might consider, a 'controversial' subject. We want to make it clear that our understanding is the Holocaust is and will continue to be on the National Curriculum and therefore continue to be taught in all UK schools.”
So everyone, including yours truly, can just settle down. We’re not completely rewriting history—yet. All I can say is schools better stick to the facts, or else I’m going to be offended!