Distortions in American History – Does It Matter Who Invented What?

My wife is a high school teacher in the inner city. She has told me often that many of her black students believe that black people invented everything from the flushing toilet to the electric light bulb. When confronted with the values adopted from European civilization, one of my wife’s students asked, “Did white people invent anything?” She began to recite the overwhelming list of achievements of various people who were not black, and the student sat back stunned. This is not what he’d been told by his pastor and other “community leaders.” Manufacturing a fake past does not compensate anyone for their present situation. Instead of focusing on the future and achieving from this point forward, the emphasis on inventing a past is wasted effort. Yet, it is being done, and it is being done for nefarious reasons.

The excuse given, a flimsy one cloaked in tones of the most somber Leftist pseudo-psychology, is the sappy assertion that it bolsters self-esteem for an entire ethnic group to believe they invented things they did not invent. The same is true of false historical narratives associating ordinary black people (or any other people, for that matter) with past greatness. For a time, after Alex Hayley’s Roots appeared on TV, black people commonly saw themselves as sharing the kingly lineage to Kunta Kinte, a character wholly invented by the author. But, except to help sell a few books, what good did that do Mr. Hayley? Most people did not care about his relationship to a tribal king from centuries back, even if it were true and he had proven it.

I am an American of Italian decent, but I could not claim that DaVinci, Michelangelo, or Enrico Fermi were cousins and expect to be taken seriously. Besides, there is no point to false narratives. What was done by someone who may share my genetic heritage or even my direct bloodline does nothing to demonstrate my own worth. Only my own achievements can possibly speak for me. Moreover, if one invests valuable time and energy inventing and then defending a mythical history by which he seeks to achieve some kind of manufactured self-esteem, he will not invest that time and energy actually achieving something that would provide real self-esteem.

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Self-esteem can neither be created by lies, nor conjured like a genie into people’s psychology. This is a fraud perpetrated by pandering Liberals to beguile voters into believing they are better than their achievements prove by promising the instant gratification of false pride. These promises are a ruse designed to mesmerize people by flattery into voting as a block; and, since it is the Liberals who propagate such nonsense, those votes would be cast for Liberal Democrats who ensure that the false narrative and its concomitant flattery continue.

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It has nothing to do with real pride or real self-esteem. Self-esteem can only be upon the foundation of honesty, productivity, and truth. These build self-esteem, while false narratives only make believe. The formula is simple enough. Live honestly, and self-respect grows when you can look in a mirror and say I am an honest human being. Be productive, and your perception of self-worth fuels confidence to go out and continue being productive. The more productive you are, the more productive you will continue to be, and the more others will respect and admire you. Always seek the truth, even when it does not fit your most hopeful narrative, because facing the truth takes courage, and, when courage has been proven, it will build and bolster self-esteem by propelling you toward accomplishments in your life that are real, not borrowed from some past that did not happen. Always remember that what others have done in the past does not translate into your accomplishments here and now, in your own life. When others see you as honest, productive, and truthful, you will not only be respected by them, but you will see your reflection in their esteem for you, and this is the only sure-fire method of building your own self esteem.

Self-esteem is the fuel that fills the tank in the engine of your life. It powers your efforts by building confidence. Honesty and truth fuel your vision, which, in turn, makes you productive and builds your knowledge and your wisdom. If that fuel is watered down with flattery, not only will others not believe in you, but you also will not believe in yourself. My father used to say that the biggest failure of a liar is not that others disbelieve him, but that he disbelieves himself. Flattery and false narratives do nothing to boost your self-esteem. In fact, they will destroy it the way corrupted fuel ruins your car’s engine. If you fill your tank with the result of genuine accomplishment, even if it is only a daily effort to provide for yourself and your family, it will be all the fuel you need to live proudly in your own life. Whether or not you were related to some king of ancient times means nothing today, anyway. What matters—and it’s the only thing that matters—is living a good life here and for the future.

I once heard two friends of mine arguing about sports teams. One said, “We did a better job than you,” while the other argued, “We got farther up the field in fewer plays.” This went on, getting hotter and hotter, until both my friends were yelling loudly at each other, almost seeming ready to come to blows. I interceded and asked, “Have you thought about the fact that neither of you plays for either team? You don’t need to defend those teams. They will defend themselves on the field.” I don’t claim great wisdom in saying this, but it caused them to think and calm down. When ensnared in an argument in which people shout, “We accomplished more than you,” I always think… “People, you have your own lives to worry about. Now please get on and live them.”

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