TV

John Oliver Details The ‘Three Big Mistakes’ That Need To Be Corrected In Teaching U.S. History

John Oliver failed to respond to Sean Hannity calling him “not funny” (sick burn, Sean), but don’t let that you stop from watching the new episode of Last Week Tonight, which detailed “how the history of race in America is currently taught in schools — what some of the gaps are, why they’re there, and how we can fill them.” Turns out, it’s not taught well! (As seen by the number of people, myself included, who learn about the Black Wall Street Massacre from Watchmen.) A 28-minute segment can’t possibly cover everything that needs to be updated in high school history textbooks, but Oliver did outline the “three big mistakes” that historians say need to be corrected “in schools and beyond.”

Those mistakes: “We don’t fully acknowledge white supremacy,” “We view history’s progress as if it was constant and inevitable,” and “We don’t connect the dots to the present,” with Oliver noting that history books tend to “trail off” after the civil rights movement. (Crazy how the United States went straight from the 1960s to September 11, 2001, with nothing in between. At least the books looked good in a paper bag cover.)

You can watch the whole segment above, but Oliver’s main takeaway is, “History, when taught well, shows us how to improve the world, but history, when taught poorly, falsely claims there is nothing to improve. So we have to teach it well and continue to learn it.”

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