Why Do We Learn History?

Have you ever been sitting in history class zoning out, or confused on why we learn this subject? It’s easy to forget why history is important, but there’s a reason we have been learning it since we started school. History is more than just interesting stories of the past, it is a collection of previous triumphs and failures. A memoir of humanities successes and downfalls. Why would this be important to know? Learning history is a must because it educates us on past mistakes we’ve made and how to better our society going forward. 


The people of the world have slowly been learning not to segregate people based on their ethnicity, or the color of their skin. From owning slaves, to banning certain people, to segregating civilains, the human race has been gradually coming to realize that this is just what we are, one race. One group all finding their way on planet earth. We have been learning our mistakes through the collection of our history. A very recent and important event that took place in America was the segregation of the Japanese people in accordance to 9066. The graphic novel They Called Us Enemy  delves into the incarceration camps and how the Japanese Americans were ostracized and mistreated by the American government and soldiers. Why is this history important? This piece of history reminds us of all the dangers of segregating people based on race. Because of order 9066, Americans lost their homes, families, and jobs to be placed in internment camps. The conditions of the camp were filthy and unfitted to support these families, many of which had children to raise. The Japanese community has suffered, and thanks to the reminder history brings the government will be sure not to tear families away from their lives unjustly and with racist intentions. 

Racism knows no bounds, as another personal story from the concentration comes from renowned Japanese artist Isamu Noguchi. Noguchi is an artist that primarily lived in America, including the time when order 9066 went into execution. Noguchi’s memoir is retold in the 99 percent invisible podcast by Roman Mars. Although Noguchi lived in the east coast during the segregation of the Japanese people on the west coast, the artist found himself in an internment camp in Poston, Arizona. Isamu was meant to be only a visitor to the camp, but after two months he was kept there because he ‘looked like the enemy’. Noguchi was held prisoner and was untrusted by both the guards and the internees. This personal account shows that the American government executed this order not to the ‘dangerous people’ at the west coast, but to anyone who looked Japanese at any corner in the U.S. It didn’t matter that Noguchi had nothing to do with the west coast and their drama, his ethnicity labeled him as an enemy and the government took action. Studying this history can bring to light our past actions as a country. Knowing this can pave the way for a better future and help us all learn from our mistakes.

History is very important for human progression and for the advancement of our lives. History lets us look back on our successes and failures and to take these lessons going forward. Learning about racism and it’s negative effects on people and society as a whole, it has taught us to progress without prejudice and hate, and that we should treat one another with kindness and respect just as we wish to be treated.

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