Artist statement An Incomplete American History Michael Faris
This series of artworks, titled An Incomplete American History, is an attempt to illustrate the issues of history education in the United States, from the times that I was in public school to contemporary times.
History in the United States is a polarizing academic subject. In the past, history classes in public schools mainly consisted of stories of the heroism of White European colonizers and tales of White exceptionalism in every aspect of society. The creations and advances of Native Americans, non-White immigrants, and Black slaves were usually literally marginalized in these classes and history textbooks. In some cases, non-White people were omitted completely from the textbooks, and consequently, left out of the education of the students.
Recent advances in research, technology, and textbook publishing have led to more inclusive textbooks and more comprehensive classroom experiences. At the very least, brief histories of Black people have been included in recent history textbooks, and abbreviated accounts of Native Americans and non-White immigrants have been given some space in the books and in the classrooms. Because of this research and these more inclusive learning environments, bigots and racists, represented by the Republican Party, have introduced legislation is several states that will potentially eliminate non-White history from the classrooms and whitewash public education throughout their education districts. This is apparently being done in an effort to raise the next generation in an educational environment that teaches about an absurd all-White American exceptionalism, omitting any mention of racial issues at all.