“One way or another the story was always about one story moving against another. When stories clashed, one had to be eliminated. That was the story of people. The government moved against the people. The military needed to take over a land or another resource because people only had limited value as a resource. The authorities burned down villages, separated families, forced them into labor or battle or sex. Men, women, children faced elimination so they ran away, ran away, ran away.”
– “The Volunteer” by Maurice Broaddus
This excerpt comes from a speculative short story, but it’s all too realistic. Sadly it seems that the current trend of whitewashing western history is nothing but the latest round of history-shaping through the shaping of people’s stories.
Doctor Who: “History is a whitewash.”
(From the Doctor Who episode “Thin Ice,” s. 10, ep. 3, written by Sarah Dollard.)
And when I say current, I mean roughly the last 100-150 years, because we’re presently dealing with not just the attitudes immediately surrounding us, but also with those of the latest two or three generations—history handed down to us by our parents and grandparents.
Nonetheless, pretty much as long as there’s been written history, we have references to various groups (re)framing other peoples‘ stories to legitimize conquest, enslavement, or other kind of dominance, or sometimes as propaganda against current (or past) adversaries.
Broaddus, Maurice. “The Volunteer.” In The Voice of Martyrs. Greenbelt, MD: Rosarium, 2017, p. 107.
Serving exactly what it sounds like, the Quotes feature excerpts other people’s thoughts.