The public schools get a lot of criticism over how civics and history are taught. And some of it is justified. But, I find myself thinking about how we were raised. How our folks talked about other people, other religions.
I don’t remember my dad ever putting anybody down because of their race or religion. Heck he was a contrary cuss; he wouldn’t like or dislike somebody just because other people did, so that might be part of it.
But, my family comes from a certain heritage. Mainly New England Puritan and Mid Atlantic Quaker. Settlers from two fairly distinct folk groups with their own ideas of liberty. Puritans tended to see liberty as religious liberty while accepting a degree of social control that 21st century Americans wouldn’t stand for. Quakers also claimed religious liberty with a slightly more liberal view of political liberty with a kind of you don’t bother me and I won’t bother you outlook. By the time the family hit the west coast we’d added Methodists to the mix. We all hoped our neighbors would be fair and honest when they dealt with us. But, if they weren’t we believed that we needed the elected hired help to keep the playing reasonably level.
So those are the hooks I brought with me when I walked into my social studies classes. What was presented in my classes pretty much fit the world view I was raised with. But, what happens with kids who absorb a different world view with their mother’s milk and strained peas. How much can being in class for about two and half hours a week for nine months do to change a world view a person has been absorbing all their lives?