Right Side of History

As we have read about the bloody conflicts that occurred in the United States and Ireland in the 1960s, a common theme that has presented itself every week has been the right side of history. As the professor mentioned, it wouldn’t be right to say that there are winners or losers in these types of situations, especially in the case of the civil rights movement seeing as it is arguably still going on today. Yet, there is no doubt that when we learn about history, we are given biased teachings based on who we presently believe was right or more justified morally in their actions. I have been drawing many connections to what we have been reading in class to what is occurring presently in the United States. Between the Black Lives Movement, election, pandemic, and more, tensions are at an all-time high as many are fighting for change in the country. During the height of the election, many of us were in a frenzy. Personally, I was making posts daily telling people to vote, sharing information on policies that people should be aware of, participating in phone banks, and more. On social media sites such as Twitter, content regarding the election ranged from serious to joking. One post I saw consistently on my feed, though, was the discussion of being on the right side of history. This reminded me of a blog post that I read earlier this semester about who will be remembered and how. It has given me a very “meta” perspective as things are slowly unfolding in current events today. Could there be a class such as this one in 50 years that solely focuses on the events and conflicts of 2020? What literature will the students be given? Perhaps instead of memoirs, they will be provided with different Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook posts that were being made at the time. Perhaps they will also be experiencing years similar to 1968 and 2020 as they are taking the course. As an aside, movements such as this one are reflective of the growth in a country. If everything were peaceful for long periods that would indicate that the country is at a cultural standstill. Since things naturally evolve, social movements are healthy and important parts of democracy.  So, hopefully, during the future class, movements are happening that students can compare to previous years. As they notice trends of who is on the right side of history, I hope that they fight to be on it as well. Perhaps, this would make conflicts less bloody and allow change to happen more easily with less resistance.

4 Replies to “Right Side of History”

  1. I think you make a really good point about how, in schools, we are taught history from a certain perspective. Huey Newton talked about this and how it, from a very young age, instilled a feeling of inferiority in him. I remember in class talking about the black panthers and the civil rights movement and specifically how they were taught to us as kids. All I could tell you about the black panthers prior to this class was that they were a black activist group that was more violent than MLK. Thats it. My education seemed to have conveniently glossed right over the specifics of the group, which had a widespread impact. On the other hand the civil rights movement was taught as the bus boycott, then some more nonviolent protests, and bam… equality. It seemed like a fairy tale rather than history. I have no doubt that history will continue to be taught from a certain perspective, only time will tell what that perspective will be.

  2. Early in the semester, I remember thinking the same thing you did regarding whether there will be a class in 50 years about this moment. I think it is truly impossible to make sense of that when you are living that moment, but it sure is an intriguing idea to ponder. Identifying the right side of history is so challenging because there are millions on both sides who think they are in fact that right side. Identifying the right side is too subjective, and I think it takes away from the common ground that could be found. I completely agree the change in this country is so healthy and important. However, taking a stand on the “right side of history” alienates from finding a compromise that is rare to see in today’s society. Fighting for what you believe is so important, but I worry that making it me vs. them leads us farther and farther apart when we should be trying to come together.

  3. I think that this concept of being on the right side of history has been crucial throughout this class. I think that you talking about the concept of social media and how it will be used as a tool to look back on the 21st century and 2020, in particular, is a super exciting concept. Further to that, I think that your indication of cultural stagnation in peacetime is also very interesting it shows that even with divisions in our nation we will emerge as a stronger more culturally rounded nation that understands its flaws and transgressions and aims to change them.

  4. I have thought a lot about this idea of striving to be on the right side of history both this year and in this class. It is an interesting concept because it focuses on the hindsight approach to action. I think that you are on to something about how people will look back on 2020 through the lens of social media. I also have experienced people posting things along the lines of “be on the right side of history.” This has left me wondering if this should be a convincing argument for something. Is the right side of history always right?

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