What You Think You Know

by baldilocks

Sometimes it’s a letdown when you get a great idea for a blog post and you find that someone else has already done such a great job with the topic, that you feel you can’t possibly match it. Such was the case as I was thinking about how many accepted “facts” we hold in our heads which turn out to be false. I started brainstorming the idea, then began doing the research—my usual method. (On the occasions when I find that my premise is false, I shift the focus of the post or I don’t write it at all.)

For this particular idea, I had typed twelve items, done a bit of searching, and then I took a break to do some goofing off at my usual goofing-off spot: one of Ace’s comment sections.

It was there where I came across Christopher Taylor’s excellent series, Common Knowledge. Christopher started the list in 2012, but updates it continuously. It is the best list of its kind which I have found.

Two excellent examples:

Still, I will put forth a mini-list of myths; following this paragraph is the fruit of my brainstorming. What I would like the reader to do: find out if these things are true or false and comment about the findings. Yes, some of these assertions have been famously and repeatedly debunked, but one never knows, do one? For some individuals, it may be that a singular long-held myth is tossed. Since my focus is still Black History Month, there is a preponderance of statements regarding the history of Americans who are black.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Democrat/ Republican.
  • Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.
  • W.E.B. Dubois was a champion of black people.
  • Booker T. Washington was a “sell-out” to black people.
  • In the Bible God commanded his people to be their ‘brothers’ keepers.’
  • Islam is the black man’s religion.
  • Edmund Brooke was the first black U.S. senator.
  • The Wright Brothers built the first flyable aircraft.
  • Interracial marriage is forbidden in the Bible.
  • The Democrat Party has always been the champion of black Americans.
  • JFK was killed by right-wing factions in America.
  • Before the voyage of Columbus, Europeans believed that the earth was flat.
  • Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white passenger because she was too tired.
  • Marie Antoinette said, “let them eat cake.”
  • Black Americans were immediately accepted as citizens upon the abolition of slavery.
  • Black Americans were segregated in the U.S. Military from the Civil War (1860-1865) to the National Security Act of 1948.
  • Henry Ford invented the automobile.

Feel free to add more.

The last part of my series “Flip-Flopper: Why I’m Against Black History Month…and For It” will appear in this space next week.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in early 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!


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