Tom Hanks wrote a guest essay for New York Times on Friday, in which he called for the truth about the Tulsa racial massacre of 1921 to be taught in schools.
Calling himself a “lay historian” who studied history at high school and community college in Oakland, California, Hanks notes his academic background, in which he studied Propaganda. Liberation speech, the heroism of the Ku Klux Klan and Rosa Parks, excluding the Tulsa Massacre.
“I have never read a page in a school history book about how, in 1921, a mob of whites set fire to a place known as Black Wall Street, killing about 300 of its Black citizens and displaced thousands of black Americans living in Tulsa. ,” wrote Hanks.
The actor notes that the experience is common, as history is “mostly written by white people about white people like me, while Black history – including the horrors of Tulsa – too often overlooked.”
Hanks notes that the truth about Tulsa, and the violence against black Americans by white Americans, is often “systematically ignored, perhaps because it is seen as too honest, too painful a lesson. painful” for young white students.
Hanks went on to write, “It seems that white educators and school administrators (if they even knew about the Tulsa massacre, certainly not) ignored the volatile topic for the sake of the status quo, placing white people’s feelings take precedence over black people’s experiences – literally Black lives in this case”. He asks readers to consider how different people’s perspectives might be if the Tulsa massacre were taught to students as early as fifth grade. “Today, I see a tragic omission, a missed opportunity, a teachable moment wasted.”
He added that, in addition to the fact that predominantly white schools ignore the Tulsa racial massacre in their educational programs, the entertainment industry also does not include the subject in movies or shows. television show until recently, in projects like The guard and Lovecraft Country. He noted that fictional entertainment based on history “must portray the burden of racism in our nation for the sake of claims of truthfulness and authenticity of the art form.”
Considering whether schools today should teach students about Tulsa, Hanks simply said yes. Though he goes further and calls for the “war to vindicate the syllabuses” to end. Hanks admits that American history is “messy,” but knows the truth makes people “stronger and wiser.”
At the end of Hanks’ essay, he wrote that 1921 was “the truth, a portal to our shared, paradoxical history”.
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