Bias, omission, and choice of focus can increase and decrease our understanding of history. It can increase our understanding of history by changing people’s perspectives about what happened throughout history. For example, Howard Zinn talked about how bias and choice of focus can make people look at history from different angles. In this world, everyone has a different perspective and reading certain ideas in one book or focusing on one idea does not make people understand the truth about history. In other words, this can decrease our understanding of history. Zinn says “Ordinary people are ignored in history,” which means history books don’t really focus on the ignored part of history, such as soldiers’ experiences during wars, the perspectives of Japanese about the use of the atomic bomb, or why people should think about Indians in Columbus Day instead of celebrating the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the United States. Reading a variety of history books can increase people’s understanding of history just like it did to me. Also, I believe that reading a variety of books, such as Johnny Got His Gun and A People’s History of the Unites States can change people’s perspectives of why wars were hell to soldiers and boil their blood to seek for more ideas and stories from people who were left out in history books.
The study of the history of women, natives, and African-Americans does enhance our understanding of the concepts of justice and equality by informing the reader of the values of justice and equality and how horrible life was when they were missing from people’s lives.
Reading about the history of women makes people think more about how women who are sisters, mothers, and wives were ignored in societies throughout history. For example, in the Declaration of Sentiments it says, “He has taken from her all right in property and he has made her civilly dead” (Declaration Of Sentiments). This shows how woman were treated unequally as men. Similarly to the history of women, the study of American Indians can make people understand why it was unfair for the European people to fight Indians after they were welcomed by them. Also, the study of American Indians can relate to what Bryan Stevenson said in his Ted Talk about injustice; “I believe that the opposite of poverty is justice.” In other words, the study of Native Americans shows how Native Americans represent the poverty and lack of justice. Finally, the study of African Americans can enhance our understanding of justice and equality because the study shows how working on farming and serving white families without even getting paid was an injustice. The movie 12 Years a Slave enhances our understanding of justice and equality because it shows scenes about slaves being forced and unhappy from working without getting paid and suffering sexual and physical abuse. Viewing the suffering of African Americans make people feel empathetic. Also, the movie doesn’t make people feel empathetic just because Solomon Northup was a slave, but because he was a free man and his rights were taken away from him in hours and that itself is injustice.