One of the reasons I stopped pursuing history, first as a major, then as a double major, at my major state university, is because of so called "history" professors. For those who are not familiar with the current trend in history, it is tendency to blame and alienate all persons in history who might, by a previous generation, been considered heroes. This trend began in the early '90s and continues through today, common themes are biographies and histories written about great American Heroes. That includes Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin. Other great themes are the demonization of democracy the demonization of anyone who "conquested" among other things.
History, is supposed to be written based on the analyziation of primary and secondary sources and this is where the problem comes from, secondary sources. In Anthropology (my now chosen field), some would call us "revisionist", but the reality is anthropologists typically only examine and consider primary sources when discussing their work. Yes, we might consult secondary sources and histories, but our goal is to examine the culture as closely as possible, via primary sources and evidence, you know like archaeological evidence, diaries from people who were THERE. And at that we are looking for a different set of evidence anyway, because we are looking at what people did, versus what people thought.
I bring this subject up, because of a comment I read elsewhere by a history professor, "I teach US history. One lecture includes the settlement/conquest/theft/acquisition of Texas. For the beginning of that portion of the lecture, I found a nice shot of a Texas longhorn for my PowerPoint." And that folks, is revisionist history, being taught be an activist professor.
I take true offense to the thought that Texas was "stolen". Someone could argue that Texas was taken from the native people who lived here, by the Spanish and other settlers, but I disagree. And that's because if you took the time to learn about the natives who lived here, before the settlers, you would discover that they "stole" the land from whoever lived here before. It's a cyclic thing, the changing hands of land and in my anthropologists/historian/academic mind, the land was settled by a new people and other people fought and died for it. They were noble and in that regard, maybe yes there should have been more attempts to settle peaceable among the natives as opposed to force them into missions, but everyone made their own choices. You cannot say that settlers "stole" Texas. Furthermore, you cannot imply that Texas was stolen from the Spanish, a War of Independence was fought. To imply that it was stolen, is to imply that the United States was stolen from Great Britain. It's simply being callous in the way you say things, it ignores all of the reasons why a War of Independence was fought and it diminishes those who fought it.
Now, onto the "longhorn" thing as part of the slide for Powerpoint. Let's talk STEREOTYPES among Academics for a reason. I have long thought that academics were supposed to be, educated, relatively free of bias, and capable of objectively considering multiple sides of an argument. I now know, after years within the higher education system, that this is simply untrue. Many academics rank as among the biased, self-centered, and wholly childish people, that I know. The stereotyping of Texas, via a Longhorn, is another thing that really gets me going. I'm a Texan, yes I own a gun, no I don't own a horse or a ranch, nor do I consider people of another color to be 3/5ths the man I am. I do not consider a longhorn to be by state emblem, the thought is just insulting. That somewhere, someone is being taught revisionist history, by someone who doesn't even understand the depth and complexity of my home state, illustrated by their inability to select an icon that represents us better than a longhorn. I might suggest the Alamo, but then that would require the discussion and understanding of the Texas War of Independence. In turn, I might suggest the six flags that have flown over Texas in an attempt to understand the diverse origin of the current residents of the state, I would probably throw in the discussion of the folks who still make up a portion of the state that did not even have a flag to fly. Maybe you could use pictures from around the state so that you can illustrate its great environment and diverse wildlife as well as populace. Another choice, might be the Lone Star, and discuss why this is an important symbol for Texans, because they remember learning and studying about Texas as a country, too.
But all of those things might be a bit tough for someone who doesn't understand the culture, the people, and the life here. So perhaps, and this is my genuine opinion, you could cut that portion of your lecture out, until you take the time to LEARN, like a good academic, about our society and history here. Maybe STUDY it and understand what I, an honest Texan, am so angry about. When you can objectively consider and not trivialize the history of Texas, then maybe you can teach your lecture again. I'm not saying that everything in Texas history has been "great", but it is worth studying and understanding in depth, then we can discuss and interpret what happened and even discuss our opinions about the subject. But I would prefer it, if you understood multiple versions of what really happened and actually did the job of reading and studying the primary sources in Texas's rich 500 year history, as we know it today. Then we'll talk...until then, pick a better fucking emblem than the Longhorn. ALSO, don't use the image of my state to cover up his testicles, way to subtly imply that Texas is only good for covering up bull balls.
my work here is done
6 years ago