Self-described armchair historian Tom Hanks sounded off on what gets taught about race in American schools in a Newopinion piece that argues every child should have to learn about the 1921 destruction of “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa, Oklahoma. With his essay published Friday, the actor parachuted into a culture war currently being waged by conservatives over , an academic term referring to the ways racism has influenced history that has become a right-wing boogeyman.
perspectives be had we all been taught about Tulsa in 1921, even as early as the fifth grade? Today, I find the omission tragic, an , a teachable moment squandered,” Hanks wrote. Schools, Hanks said, “should also stop the battle to whitewash curriculums to avoid discomfort for students. “America’s history is messy but knowing that makes us a wiser and stronger people,” he wrote., former Vice President Mike Pence said it was a “left-wing myth” that systemic racism exists in America. How different would
The. Over two days in and early June 1921, white Americans stormed Greenwood, an economically booming Black neighborhood of the prairie city. They burned it to the ground, Americans. Estimates range from , while thousands were homeless. In congressional testimony last month, survivors of the attack said that some of the dead were dumped into a river; 107-year-old Viola Fletcher noted she still can unearthing a mass grave in Tulsa believed to be the resting place of some of the victims.
Recent television shows ― HBO’s “Watchmen” and “Lovecraft Country” ― that touched on the Tulsa attack have highlighted how few Americans recall learning about it in school. In his essay, Hanks marveled at the fact that he only learned about it by way of a Newarticle last year, writing that failing to teach about Tulsa and patterns of extreme violence against Black Americans had the effect of “placing white feelings over Black experience — Black lives in this case.”
“The truth about Tulsa, and the repeated violence by someAmericans, was systematically ignored, perhaps because it was regarded as too honest, too painful a lesson for our young white ears,” Hanks wrote. “So, our predominantly white it, our mass appeal works of historical fiction didn’t enlighten us, and my chosen industry didn’t take on the subject in films and shows until recently.” “Today, I think historically based fiction entertainment must portray the burden of racism in our to verisimilitude and authenticity,” he said.