HomehistoryIf I don’t tell my story, who will?

This amazing story about Sueko Hada, a Hiroshima survivor, reminded me of how vital it is to tell our stories.

WWII, for example, is endlessly fascinating. There are so many stories that don’t get told in schools here.

My maternal grandparents were in Europe during WWII. My grandmother in particular was profoundly effected by the war. She was born and raised in Poland, but she was of German lineage. She wasn’t Jewish, either.

As I understand it, her father spoke out against the horrid treatment the Jews suffered, and vanished somewhere near the beginning of WWII. Later, my grandmother and her family were driven from their village.

I don’t know if what her father stood for had anything to do with it, but they weren’t the only family who had to run.

They were technically German citizens, so they rightfully feared the Allies, but since they didn’t live in the country, the Axis didn’t see her as a member of the German race.

She spent most of her teenage years on the run. No home. No idea of where food would come from. No security. No guarantee of a tomorrow.

Lest you think Americans were kinder to their own citizens, don’t forget about the Japanese Internment Camps and what American conscientious objectors went through.

We’re not taught about any of that in school.

The nuclear bombs are glossed over, though they are mentioned. We don’t learn about the civilians slaughtered in Munich when our side bombed them. Nor do we learn about the innocent people who committed suicide for fear of being captured by the Americans.

These are all examples of important stories erased by educational bias.

By Drodriguez505 (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Today, we aren’t told of the civilian cost in the Middle East unless we look for it. We don’t get the full picture of what happens to black Americans on a daily basis, unless we actively seek the stories out. Nor do we see the injustices and discrimination exercised against the disabled community at large.

We miss a lot of positive representation, too.

We don’t see the powerful strength difference/disability can bring. We don’t see just how beautiful and normal LGBTQA+ relationships and identities are. We’re blind to the incredible contributions people of all marginalized races made through history, and continue to make today.

The only way to get those stories out and keep them alive, is for those of us who live them to speak up. We also need to share others’ stories and honor their voices.

Most importantly, our schools need to teach the good and bad in history. For a while, some people in Germany were trying to erase the Holocaust from their history lessons. In Texas, something similar has happened with their textbooks.

These people are addressing discomfort with their connection to horrific historical events by attempting to erase them. We can’t let that happen.

If we want to have a more realistic picture of what’s going on in our world and how it formed we need to proactively seek that information out. Thanks to the internet and public libraries, it’s easier to do that now than ever before.

We’re making history right now. Let’s make ourselves heard and listen to the voices of those who came before, especially those who face erasure.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: