Daniel White Blog Post #4 – A Thousand Stories, One History

Sometimes I wonder if other countries have as many race issues as the US does. I mean, of course there are race issues, religious issues, cultural issues, etc. in any country and region of the world—I’m not ignorant of that—but sometimes it seems like our country is home to endless battles of race and prejudice and identity, and there’s just no end. As being one of the most diverse countries in the world, I suppose this is to be expected. The United States is home to people from virtually every corner and every near and far reach of the world. About one quarter of the US’s population is made up of first and second generation immigrants (that’s about 80 million people) [http://tinyurl.com/ja4knpg]. And except for Native Americans, the rest of the US population is also descendent from immigrants.

This gives our nation a very interesting history. It’s a history that is made up of people from all around the world, all with different customs and cultures, languages and religions, stories and memories. So whose story is right? Is it the one that’s printed in the text book you read for your history class? Is it the one that your parents told you about growing up? It’s difficult to tell the truth from distortion sometimes, but I think we can all agree that history is important. Like Noriega argues in his article, preservation is important—it matters just as much as our future.

As if history wasn’t already complicated enough, now we are entering into a new era of technology information. History is shared on computers through forms of online databases, online texts and documents, ancestry websites, social media, and more. At our fingertips, we have the power to engage in a historical dialogue about our nation and her people—our nation and ourselves. That’s what the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) that Caswell co-founded is all about, sharing past experiences and exploring what those experiences mean. This class is just another example of how we share and engage in historical literacy through digital rhetoric. We analyze and examine the meaning and the power of history and its effects on today’s society and today’s culture. And with a new immigrant every 27 seconds [http://www.census.gov/popclock/], it’s a history that is constantly changing.

We may come from a thousand different places, and have a thousand different stories, but we all have one history, and it’s up to us to make that shared history a good one, and one worth writing down.

Just to end on a positive note, I love the message of this Android ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD-oCSoI9OQ. I think people need to stop focusing on the chasms our differences cause, but the relationships that they cause. Being different is okay; it’s being different that makes us alike. Does that make sense? Maybe not. But half the time, neither does being human. We just do as we do.

Well… this post digressed a little from the original topic of the articles, but I think it all relates back to history. History is formed by people, and people are formed by history. So be an ‘and’ kind of person, like the Android ad talks about, and write an inclusive history, one that uses all the colors. Not only will it look more beautiful, but everyone gets a chance to paint.

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2 Responses to Daniel White Blog Post #4 – A Thousand Stories, One History

  1. Thomas Alexander says:

    Hey Daniel,

    I liked that you mentioned technology in your post, because it got me thinking about how important it is that minority history is documented using modern technology. Databases are becoming the way of the future and most historians use them for their research. So what goes into those databases is very important. Because older documents are now being processed and placed into these databases, it is important that documents are not being excluded, which is something that Caswell is addressing. However, I think it is also important that new forms and interpretations of history are also included in these databases as the Internet becomes the place that all information is stored. If we want history to be viewed holistically, then we must make sure that all information is accessible.

  2. Krista Harder says:

    The concept of “and” seems so simple and yet so revolutionary to me. That Android ad, although just a simple one minute video, made me feel this (at risk of being cheesy) fuzzy sentiment of human camaraderie. The message seems obvious; as you say, “it’s being different that makes us alike.” It makes perfect sense. As a species, we are full of differences, and it seems so simple to embrace those differences and simply include them instead of constantly forming power hierarchies that value certain groups over others and include some groups yet exclude others. If we could apply this “and” viewpoint to the way that we record history, perhaps I wouldn’t have had to relearn everything that I learned in kindergarten through 12th grade.

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