Questioning the Past

At the time of this video (2000) and when Howard Zinn published his book (1980), the mindset about history was close-minded, especially at the time of the book being published due to the red scare. However, to claim that the mainstream telling of history is different from Zinn’s method of questioning is inaccurate. Today, the idea of revealing the hard truths about subjects such as Columbus and his treatment of indigenous peoples is commonplace in grade school and colleges. To believe that Columbus is an infallible hero is actually considered naive thinking outside of the mainstream. The idea of questioning a historical narrative was revolutionary 30 years ago when Zinn’s book was published, however today it is no longer shocking nor discouraged.

Americans today, young and old, are absolutely encouraged to question history. Teachers and professors now are the ones who were first exposed to this idea growing up, therefore they will continue teaching this open way of thinking to their peers and students. What Americans are discouraged from doing is questioning the present and future, not the past. When we begin to look at the past then question the present system and the future it is taking us, that is when discouragement and censorship will happen, such as the case with Noam Chomsky.


Zinn, Howard, interview on Booknotes: Book Discussion on A People’s History of the United States


2 thoughts on “Questioning the Past

  1. There are always people with an agenda trying to put a veil on the truth. Better yet, they try to distort it, cherry pick, or pull a cover over us. However, we now live in the age of the net and have access to information at the touch of a button. We can load volumes of information people in the past couldn’t even fathom from our very pockets. Question everything. Or as I like to say, Google it.


  2. Wow powerful last paragraph. History always repeats itself so it is only the matter of time where questioning our present and future will manifest even more (which is already happening) and like you said if more control wants to obtained over us all then censorship will happen.


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