There is history, and there is bias.
There is history, and there is opinion.
There is history, and there is feeling.
Oh, and there is Cultural Marxism.
I’m teaching my children what Cultural Marxism is, and how it has become embedded in what Americans believe about our history. And I’m using Howard Zinn’s incredibly awful People’s History of the United States of America to do it.
As we study the Renaissance in our homeschool and the beginnings of American history, the story of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World arises. Just the name of Columbus triggers feelings of incredulity, self-righteousness, and hostility toward all historic and modern people of European descent. Franky, it’s a mess.
Related post: The Twisted History of Christopher Columbus
As I search for some fun videos for my kids to watch, I’m reminded of just how hard it is to find any mention of Columbus without Howard Zinn’s influence. You know who Howard Zinn is, right? If not, you are still probably aware of his work. He is the one responsible for the Columbus hatred, the destruction of statues, Indigenous People’s Day, and the complete hatred of American history.
It’s now the norm to portray all explorers, colonists, and settlers to the New World as racist, murdering, greedy, white Europeans who wanted nothing more than to exploit the Indians for their wealth (?!) and destroy their lands. (This Captivating History video is a perfect example.) While there were some who were greedy for gain, it was certainly not the majority. And anyone with half a mind to read original sources would already know this.
But as I point out on my Knowledge Keepers blog, Howard Zinn’s narrative has become part of the fabric of America today. People believe what he wrote without ever knowing who he was. He has been that influential.
Since his influence is literally everywhere, I’m teaching my kids how to spot it, and how to know the truth. It’s the same with the true gospel of Jesus (as opposed to many false gospels), Marxism (they need to know what it actually is so they can recognize it), and evolution (they need to know both sides of the creation/evolution debate). Since they live in a world saturated with “America bad,” I will introduce them to the source of that idea alongside the primary sources of American history.
So for our study on Columbus, we are reading Christopher Columbus: His Story and His Journals (which I’ve republished as part of the Knowledge Keepers series), Chapter 1 of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States (Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress) and Chapter 1 of Mary Grabar’s Debunking Howard Zinn (Columbus Bad, Indians Good).
It’s no longer enough to read history; you and your children must be aware of the differences between primary sources and modern revisions. Teach your children the differences. Show them the truth and the lies. If you plan to send your children to any college anywhere, prepare them with these books first. Help them to recognize bias.
If you want to add this to your study of Christopher Columbus, I recommend this for ages 12 and up:
- Read Christopher Columbus: His Story and His Journals (and check out the free study guide I created)
- Read Chapter 1 of Zinn’s History
- Read Chapter 1 of Grabar’s Debunking Zinn
I’ll continue to integrate Zinn and Grabar as we make our way through American history. You can follow along with us here. This will work well with any history curriculum. Remember homeschoolers: you are the master, not your curriculum guide. Be sure to make time for rabbit trails and deep dives. This freedom is one of the best perks of home education!