Poet Fong Tran Performs “History Textbooks,” a Poem About U.S.’s Education Problem

Fong Tran’s spoken word poem History Textbooks muses on how American history is often whitewashed by the winners and skews the facts to make the U.S. look good, regardless of what really happened. In the piece Tran points out that the same issues are being re-hashed today in our society and explains the reason why there’s still so many wars being fought is because the “Western way of thinking” won’t die in the American public’s consciousness. Tran then draws parallels between the idea that the U.S. should spread “democracy” to other countries to the slave trade and imperialist tactics of the 1700s and 1800s.

Finally, Tran ends his poem by saying it’s usually white male historians who write history books, which ignores and marginalizes anyone who isn’t white or a man. He urges his fellow minorities to write down their histories so that they won’t be forgotten, as the American history books have a tendency to ignore, whitewash, or water-down the facts.

History Textbooks is a powerful reminder that the winners write history, and our educational system is in need of a massive overhaul.

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