Today during our Dublin walking tour, we came across this sign:
This notice sparked the group’s interest, as none of us had heard about the series of child abuse in Ireland in the 1940s. This started an interesting discussion with our program leader, Liz, who reminded us that there are several events in American history that are rarely discussed because they are negative reminders of our country’s past that reflect poorly on the United States of America.
Several instances in American history come to mind. Dating back to 1492 when Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue, the information is not always fully disclosed. We are taught to believe Columbus was a hero, freed slaves, and discovered America! The truth behind this narrative, however, is that he brought violence to the indigenous people who resided in our great country prior to his discovery. This is omitted from most of the teachings about Columbus because it would alter the way we view our own country; the way the story is currently presented generates more pride for our country in the people.
A more recent example is the prevalence of gun violence in the United States. This issue is not kept under the radar nearly as much as the Columbus story; rather, news of mass shootings is broadcasted on worldwide platforms to a great extent. Other countries, such as Europe, cannot fathom how the US operates with such lax gun laws. To our surprise, we learned today that police forces in Ireland roam the streets without guns. Some may feel more vulnerable knowing this; others may feel better protected. With our current controversy on gun laws in the United States, the comfort vs. safety debate is keeps the country in a deadlock and prevents the gun issue from being corrected.
Many other instances in our country paint a poor picture of America, such as slavery, Jim Crow Laws, and potentially in the next few years, the Donald Trump Era. No country is perfect; in order to preserve the integrity of this country, these events should be confronted and emphasized rather than buried.