"Indians" By Jane Tompkins: How Bias Affect Ones Concept of History


Whenever you are in any educational situation, you are subject to
perspectives and bias of the instructors. In an essay entitled "Indians," by
Jane Tompkins, it discusses how different biases may reflect upon one\'s concept
of history. It is imperative to realize that when learning, which generally
involves someone\'s concept of history, we are consequently subject to that
person\'s perspectives that may be a result of their upbringing.

In the essay Tompkins regarding history, Tompkins says "it concerns the
difference that point of view makes when people are giving accounts of events,
whether at first or second hand. The problem is that if all accounts of events
are determined through and through by the observer\'s frame of reference, then
one will never know, if any given case, what really happened."(Pg. 619)

The purpose of this essay is that history is a result of point of view.
It is both subject to the biases of the one who presents it as it is subject to
the biases of the one who observes it. You can then draw a similar parallel to
education. The point is that you learn something you are subject to the
educator\'s opinion as well as your prejudices regarding the topic. This leads
me to one of Tompkins main points of discussion: "What really is the truth?"

As I have mentioned throughout the essay, everything is subject to the
opinions and prejudices of the observer. When trying to decipher a fact, or
"the truth" you must realize that people may see a particular instance in many
different points of view. Tompkins discusses this problem and its relation to
the European-Indian conflict of the 17th and 18th centuries. In doing so she
quotes a particular source of puritan background who considers the Indians to be
brutal savages who raped and tortured their captives. She then quotes someone
who is favorable towards the Indians, said that Indians were a highly cultured
group of people who helped the European settlers adapt to their new environment.

My point for addressing these two points of view is to illustrate how
these two people can have such diverse opinions regarding the same topic. Both
of these people are saying the truth, yet when trying to understand the broad
point of view you can\'t accept either of them as the whole truth. Because of
these two people\'s bias\' they may have a tendency to neglect certain facts that
may be detrimental to the image they where trying to portray. In order to
obtain the most accurate "truth" you must take all the different points of view,
and while putting aside your personal bias\' and the bias\' of those who are
presenting the story, you must then decide for yourself what is believable and
what may be lacking important information.

When trying to decipher the truth, there is a close parallel to the
"banking" theory. The banking theory is one in which you are subject to the
prejudices and beliefs of the educator, and you are just filled with their
beliefs. When trying to learn history you are consequently subject to the same
prejudices. All you really have to learn from are the sources that you are
researching. You are then the same as the student in the banking theory.

When reading this essay it is also important to note that it is not
intendedto discourage you from learning from history. If you don\'t know what
history happened in the past you are most likely subject to it repeating itself.
It is imperative that you learn from the what happened in the past. Also, you
must learn from the people\'s perspectives. This will allow you to see the
situation from a variety of different angles. Once you are able see these
different points of view, you will consequently be able to learn more about the
people who have these views. Consequently, you will be able to filter out such
prejudices in the future.

In order to learn anything about the world around you, it is imperative
that you take in mind that different people will have these bias\' and prejudices.
Therefore when learning from them you may only see one point of view. To learn
the whole truth, you must take in as many points of view as possible. This will
allow you to possibly filter out the conflicting points of view, and try to
realize the common story in all of them. By doing this you will be able to see
the closest thing to the truth as