Social media has become an inclusive alternative to history textbooks

The first time I learned about the historical hardships of Hawaiian Americans was in a TikTok video posted to Twitter. The video, which features a young Hawaiian woman explaining how the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown by a group of American sugar planters in 1893, caught me completely off guard. As someone with a high school diploma and two college degrees, I somehow managed to go through more than two decades of schooling without ever giving thought to the history of Hawaiian people, much less learning about it from my textbooks or teachers.

Another topic that seemed to blow right by my history classes: Japanese internment camps. This American tragedy recently landed on my radar when this tweet was retweeted onto my timeline:

Christopher 2020 Titus

Japanese internment camp survivors laugh bitterly, while the Native American stares at the African American twitching and giggling in the corner. …

The Hill

President Trump: “They treated us worse than anybody’s been treated from a legal standpoint in the history of the United States.”

Sifting through the conversation the tweet inspired, I quickly learned that the camps were established during World War II by US president Franklin Roosevelt and lasted from 1942 to 1945. They seemed to me to be very comparable to the current detention camps at the US-Mexico border, and a real reminder that history can repeat itself—though you might not even realize it if your textbooks failed you like mine did.

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