Reading Reflection #2- History and Power

History is the discipline that studies chronological events, as affecting a nation or people, based on critical examination of source materials and usually presenting an explanation of their causes (Encyclopedia-Britannica Online). Both teaching and learning history is important to be aware of an existence of something also known as an identity and furthermore culture.

When I studied at University of Minnesota-Duluth, there was a class titled ‘Education in Modern Society’ that nearly 200 students are taking every year, but I can confidently say this was almost like a history class of the United States because this covered “Black and White” issue a lot in terms of education as well as philosophies of education .

Most interesting part of this class was about ‘equity’, as illustrated in the textbook, Intercultural Communication in Contexts by Martin and Nakayama, mentioned above. In the United States, historically, racial segregation in using facilities had been a controversial issue for a long time under the segregation policies like “separate but equal”, for example. When it comes to education, this kind of situation seems to be worse. If equal opportunities to history education are not provided to all the students at school, this will prevent them from interacting and communicating with one another more in depth.  

    Another example also shows what I just said above. The Precious Knowledge documentary that portrays controversial Mexican American Studies Program at Tucson High School in Arizona was screened in my Intercultural Communication class, which was very impressing video for me. This program is definitely for Latino students but they also learn American history, literature, and culture; however, it was abolished by the government force (power) of the U.S. and the fight against such racism still continues in the nationwide.

    I believe students, Mexican-American in this case, ought to know the history of nation they came from so that they can be aware of their identities and furthermore culture. This kind of education can surely be provided by educators and politicians (or lawmakers) who have power in society rather than not letting students prevent from those educations. Described in the Precious Knowledge, we can often find that someone‘s histories and stories are, honestly, determined to get told or not by others who have much more power in “reality”.

    The textbook explains how histories impact intercultural communication, which is one of the most important parts in this writing. It isn’t deniable that history plays an important role in our identities and that all people bring their own histories to interaction; such as family histories, national histories, political histories and even everyday life experiences. I think, especially, cultural-group history that includes like where the group originated and why the people migrated explains well an impact of history on intercultural communication regarding to the Cherokees or the Creole culture (M&N 127).

It should be a primary step to recognize a person’s history in establishing intercultural relationships. These histories that affect communication help us understand their identities with more respects. We should be aware of one fact in terms of history and power: there is neither inferiority nor superiority in history in the world.


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