Lies My Teacher Told Me

What is a social archetype? How are they constructed? How are social archetypes related to the heroification process? Can one exist without the other? Why or why not?


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This is one of the most important themes in the book. Falsifying social archetypes has been a staple of American historical textbooks. Betsy Ross sewing the first flag may seem innocent enough but deceptive never the less. WAshington Irving claimed that Columbus was "man of vision, energy, resourcefulness, and courage" in part because he was the first man to claim the world was not flat. This was untrue even with the knowledge known at the time.

Social archetypes were made into heroes to promote a very white euro-centric approach to a glorified history. It was a type of history manufactured to discount non-european cultures and people.