Illustration by Tristan Ing

History textbooks need to be honest with the past

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History has long been a core class for a student. However, even with the important nature of the class, the curriculum has long been skewed toward a Euro-centric view that blinds students to the effects of colonization around the world. In a time where its horrors are more known, it is time that colonization received its fair share of condemnation in history textbooks. 

The fact is, the world has been shaped by colonization. The prosperity of Europe presents itself in stark contrast to Africa. 1881-1914 was a time when 90% of Africa was under European control, and that often came with dire consequences that still scar the nations today. Instead of telling the story of the oppressed, the history textbook once again adapts a skewed view that depicts the rapid colonization as almost a race between European nations. This point of view minimizes the humanity of Africans and depicts them as just things of conquest. 

Of course, not only has Africa been affected by colonization, but almost every piece of land on this Earth. If the goal of history class is to teach students to trace the making of the world through generations in the past, the task at hand is simply impossible if the class keeps sugar coating the history of colonization. 

Although there might not be enough written text made by a place’s native population pre-colonization, that does not justify not talking about them. In many postcolonial countries, the native population still exists and thrives. However, the scars of colonization are still apparent within their community. They are now using European languages, wearing European clothing, and adapting European customs.

Colonization set the world back hundreds of years and destroyed centuries of indigenous history. It is about time that history textbooks start adapting a view that reflects the realities of colonization.

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