Censoring history only makes us susceptible to repeating it

by: Vance Tong - Vance W. Tong is the publisher and editor of the Central Oregonian. He can be reached at:

You might have missed it in the news, but I read recently in The Oregonian that a disturbing trend is taking place in schools throughout Great Britain.
   A government-backed study found that British schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons for fear of upsetting Muslim students.
   If that wasn't enough, they're also easing up on instruction on this little thing called the Crusades for the same reason.
   Now I know that these are things happening in British schools, but they could just as easily happen in American schools.
   We, as a society, need to make sure they don't.
   If the world is to ever become a better place, then our students need to know their history - no matter who it might upset and how disturbing it might be.
   I understand the problems associated with teaching history. More than any other subject, it grows each year, which leaves instructors with the problem of what to teach and what not to teach. Perhaps now is the time to require more instruction on history.
   It is my belief that the more people understand their own history and the history of other cultures throughout the world, the easier it will be to understand current events.
   As George Santayana said, "Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it."
   It doesn't take a college professor to know that there are plenty of aspects of this planet's history that are better left unrepeated. The first step toward ensuring that, is to not forget those lessons of history.
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