While I cannot answer these questions, it does seem important to affirm that there are many people in the US who need to learn history. By this I do not mean the Spanish-speaker, the Muslim, or the homosexual. In order to survive at society’s margins, they have had to be aware of history. They have had to understand the past -both the official and the silenced- to navigate a culture that denies them a place. They know that Spanish-speakers, Muslims, and homosexuals have populated our cities, our battlefields, and our cemeteries for centuries. It is the people who push them to the edges that need to learn history.
Now, I am not saying that these separators are somehow bad people. The majority of them are decent folk. They love their husbands and wives. They care for their children. They contribute to their neighborhoods. If you were lost on the street, they would provide directions. Yet, at the same time, they need to divide the country into groups. This is a moral and ethical decision. Their conception of the US privileges some of those groups over others. To make this possible they have to ignore history. They close their eyes to Spanish-speakers, Muslims, or homosexuals. They consider them exotic or deviant. This is the first step to differentiation. If one sees them as different in one way, then they can be labeled as different in others. Eventually this process becomes dangerous when they are no longer perceived what they so clearly are: as Americans -or more menacing still- as humans.
Why do people need to arrive at these extremes? What do they gain? What do they fear? I do not know the answers, but I do know something important: the Spanish-speaker, the Muslim, and the homosexual are indeed Americans. More importantly, they are also people. If you need to think of them in another way, then you must ask yourself why this is necessary. Why do you need them to be un-American?