..to review the contribution of blind, cross-dressing Native Americans..
Democracy, in the age of identity grievance activism, can do very strange things to the study of history. Even those meek, monkish fellows in the medieval studies department can’t discuss Gotlandic picture stones without fending off white supremacy claims. It’s a bit like producing a play and fielding requests that content and cast all be perfectly even parts: heterosexual, homosexual, Asian, Black, Hispanic, White, abled, disabled, fluid, furry, and queer. Oh, and by the way: with the obvious exception of majority culture, every identity must be seen in a uniformly positive light. There are people who just might commit suicide if they don’t see themselves positively in the story you’re telling. This is serious stuff, folks.
This strikes me as no less bizarre than interrupting a medal of honor account, to pepper the speaker with quota demands. “Yes, I know this fellow saved 12 of his fellow soldiers, but what RACE were they? What was their gender identity?” If the identity grievance crowd had been around when the Bayeux Tapestry was stitched, the primary narrative would be patched over with lesbian nuns and Arab scholars and gay Dover pub scenes. EVERYONE MUST PARTICIPATE. Get it?
I think this impulse is all built on a race hatred so subtle it is rarely named: the inability to value our common human spirit. When American corporate titans read Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” would anyone seriously claim they can’t learn something if their race or gender were not in the text? Is Jazz valued less because it has its roots in black culture? Are the Hong Kong protesters holding up American flags incapable of appreciating 18th century political theory, simply because, in America, it was shaped largely by Europeans?
Historians chronicle major events, and the characters who stood at the helm of history itself. Let them be historians, not politicians. Let the audience appreciate our common aspirations, and not our ever-nurtured divisions.