LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Truth again, whole truth

Published 2:09 pm Monday, July 19, 2021

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Truth was foundational for me from the Problems of American Democracy high school class that helped form my critical thinking into today, and especially throughout my 30-year teaching career.

Truth was foundational for my teacher colleagues as well. If we learned something in our respective fields that was new to our understanding, then we taught that. It was unthinkable that some groups in our communities might complain that because they didn’t like the new understanding, we teachers couldn’t teach it.

In the past few years, my husband and I have been on a truth-seeking journey, as white folks, to learn more about our nation’s whole history, particularly about our Southern history, and it has been an eye-opening, heart and mind-opening journey.

We have been learning new truths about the injustices committed by our predominately white brethren over the centuries, both in our country and in other places. Learning these truths has opened our minds to others’ histories, and has made us more accepting of others as fellow humans along this journey we call life.

No, we were not there in the past. No, we did not kill off first peoples because we thought “the redskins” were less than human. No, we were not here in the South, nor participate in the sin of slavery. No, we were not in California, nor treat the Chinese immigrants workers like they were less than human.

But we are here now, in the South, where we see some of the sins of the past still lingering and sometimes even glaring. Indubitably, much progress has been made since those earlier days of injustice and worse. On the surface, some may believe that nothing is wrong in our society with all our progress, but anyone reading and watching the news, anyone delving into the whole truth, not just bits and pieces of it, will see and acknowledge that injustices still exist.

It is the whole truth of our American experiment, called a democratic republic, that must be taught in our schools, at all levels, so that the sins of the past will not be repeated.

If we teach the whole truth, our children will learn to accept and care about all people. If we do not, our very democracy is in peril.

Nancy C. Bryant