Letters to the Editor

What was so wrong with that Hillel history question?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

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Dear Editor,

Someone directed me to that history question that Hillel Academy asked some of its history students that caused such a ruckus recently, and I must say that I cannot agree with what most people are saying about that school – and that history teacher.

Once again, this issue has proven that, while we may know our history, we don't understand it — and there is indeed a big difference between knowing history and understanding it.

Firstly, based on what I saw, I must commend that history teacher for trying to get those Hillel students to put historical events in their correct context. Contrary to what many are saying, I really don't think that the thrust of that question was not to get the students to accept the rightness or wrongness of slavery today, but to show the students that the institution of slavery was morally acceptable at that time, over 200 years ago, by both whites and blacks. It's a pity that more schools have not seen the need to help our students to think within context, especially when studying history, and to avoid being politically correct by today's standards.

The fact that the preamble of the question made it very clear that slaves had no human rights at the time has been completely lost on those who have lost their tempers. The real truth is that, as far as most whites and even most Africans could see at the time, slaves did not have any human rights then. We must remember that the world at that time was a very different place to what it is now.

However, the ruckus that Hillel has unwittingly caused has exposed just how racist some of us truly are. I have a feeling that many who are bashing that poor history teacher haven't even seen the question. Most clearly don't understand it.

Many are pointing to their claim that Hillel is an “upper-class” school that caters to mostly whites, near whites, and even 'roast breadfruits', and as such they are not too surprised that these “white” students are being “indoctrinated” with anti-black and pro-slavery “mis-education”. Most of us have got used to the baseless claim that slavery was immoral and a crime at that time, just because that is the case today, so naturally, anything said to the contrary must be demeaning to blacks.

I have said it elsewhere, and I will say it again, most of these so-called historians that have access to the media are not true historians in any sense. They look at history, and especially slavery, through their 21st century moral lens. They analyse history with a lot of personal emotional baggage that they refuse to leave behind. As such, and of course, they will have a problem with slavery

Also, many of those who are damning that teacher and school are hard-core racists themselves. They damn anything that seems anti-black, but at the same time they praise anything that is anti-white. Ever notice how anything like that misunderstood question from Hillel is seen as racist, but at the same time anything that blames whites for all of our problems is seen as preaching black pride and telling the truth?

Now, you tell me, what is the difference between a white person who hates blacks and a black person who hates whites? None!

To me, that Hillel question was an attempt to get those students to think objectively and nothing is wrong with that.

Michael A Dingwall





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