Saturday, April 5, 2008

Don't Know Much About History

This might seem obvious to some, and shocking to others but regardless of what I feel it needs to be talked about.

As previously mentioned I am a student at Hunter College. As of recently I have been noticing a particular common thread in all of my classes. I am currently taking a class called Current Sociological Theory (it's a requirement for my major). My teacher is very keen on history and more importantly emphasizing the historical backdrop that any given writer's life or works occured in. My teacher, while admittedly a little condescending, is famous for throwing out a question like so the Civil War had just ended, and when was this? Or W.E.B. DuBois spoke about the aftermath of slaves being emancipated which was when? I'll tell you, I've never heard so many pins drop at once. It is absolutely astounding how many people, and not kids I mean early 20s practically adults, have no idea about the history and backdrop of this country. Oh, and global history? Forget about it, you could just forget that. When was the constitution signed? No clue!

Now while I feel like is the failure of the curriculum of the U.S. in general this is not where I am going with this. What I mean to drive at is this: this is an election year. Obvious of course, but it seems to be that no matter what ad compaign or incentive is given to people my age (those recently empowered with suffrage) they just don't turnout. (We all remember Rock the Vote and everyone posing for ads, even Diddy couldn't get us to hit the polls.) Why is that? Because 20 somethings, by and large, aren't savvy to how this whole system came about. Delegates, electoral votes, primaries, campaigning is all as foreign to them as quantum physics. Now, I do not mean to lump everyone into one category, there are some of us who keep our finger on the pulse. I feel like if students learned much more about history and not only U.S. History but global history (:gasp: imagine) they would be a lot more interested, involved and dare I say worried about where policy and politics is going. Most of college kids only know that Bush invaded Iraq because it's pasted all over the news squashed in between updates on Britney and Mariah Carey's sexy body.

Maybe just maybe if today's youth, those third and fourth graders, got a lot more knowledge really taught to them, if they really understood how great their afforded rights here are, but more importantly how it was that this came to be, how many people died and fought for those things we just brush off today like "oh yea, constitutional rights, civil rights, suffrage, ... whatever", you'd see a hell of a lot more of them at the polls in 10 years, hoping to shape the next 100 years.

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