In his Sept. 29 letter, "Through a Dark Lens", Jeffrey Rice accuses "progressives" of depressing the history classrooms of America with a dour appraisal of America’s past. He calls it mind invasion. But classrooms do "uplift, inspire and unite." Is it not positive and uplifting to join the fight against racism and other forms of prejudice and injustice? Can we not unite behind these initiatives?

Extending his photography metaphor, lenses reveal data that might otherwise remain unknown. Science, in its search for truth, constantly re-writes its understanding of the nature of energy, of humans’ relationship with nature, etc.

Discoveries using new tools beget theories to be tested in the future, more accurately reflecting reality.

Rice’s description of what is being taught "through a dark lens" is accurate in terms of content: there is racism, sexism, economic inequality, instances of police brutality and xenophobia in our shared history up to and including the present. Historical research discovers, uncovers or re-evaluates data and shares it publicly. Contrary to his view that historical updating is "mind invasion," I see it as acknowledging hard truths, by no means at odds with a clear-eyed love of our country.

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Discovering, identifying and healing the wounds of the past will help America become a more righteous country; ignoring slavery, women’s forced subservience, treacherous slights on the LGBTQ community and all the other wounds on the American body politic will keep them from healing. Even the most accurate lens needs occasional cleaning to help confirm the truth we seek.

Leslie Bell


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