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An Oath to the Truth

I swear by Almighty God that the evidence I shall give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Affirmation “I solemnly declare and affirm that the evidence I shall give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” 

 When we testify in a courtroom, we must take the oath or the non-religious affirmation. Why do historians get to count the story of their choosing? In the pursuit of truth, justice for all should include the telling of our history. Historians should have to swear to tell the truth the whole truth, no matter how ugly it was. As a Chicano, we do not traditionally hear the whole truth; history is traditionally a whitewashed fairy tale to make our four fathers look like heroes. The fact is as great as this county is, it rose from heinous acts of violence. To find the truth, we must go looking for it; we must put in an exhausting effort to dig and look to find our history. In Diane Alverio’s “Academic study: Unknown History of Latino Lynchings,” an analysis of “Law of the Noose: A history of Latino Lynching” by Richard Delgado, we see an overview of a long unspoken history of violence against Latinos/ Mexican Americans. Newspapers written in Spanish reported many accounts of the violence towards Latinos. The language barrier is all the excuse traditional historians needed to ignored and maintain the agenda to make America seem heroic. “Postcolonial theory describes how colonial societies circulate accounts of their invasions that flatter and depict them as the bearers of justice, science, and humanism. Conversely, the natives were depicted as primitive, bestial, and unintelligent.” Many of the accounts are maintained and shared through oral history, serving to warn others of the occurrences while preserving history. The complete story must be preserved and taught.  

Alverio states, “such history is imperative to the framework of Americana and for the acknowledgment purpose, not only because it is a matter of fact, but because this history is relevant to the ancestors of the land.” The acknowledgment is essential to those affected. We, as a people, cannot heal if we do not recognize the injuries suffered. “If we the people want to understand ourselves, we need to know the truth.” (Alverio) The whole story can also help repair relations between Anglo and Latinos and end systemic racism by learning from it and ensuring we do not repeat it.  Siddiqui writes in the wall street journal, “nearly three-quarters of Americans, 71%, believe that race relations are either very or fairly bad. “ In “The life Reason,” George Santayana says it best “Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it.” Are we repeating it? Although lynching is now illegal, we see the lynching of the mind. English only mandates and movements are the current versions of the lynching, thus giving further importance to our teaching of the deplorable hidden history. As a society in one of the greatest countries, we have a responsibility to give the whole story, to give the same oath we give in court testimony. We are giving the testimony of our four fathers of the foundation our nation was built. “When we lie to our government, we go to prison. When our government lies to us, it is no big deal.” (Alverio) That is unacceptable; the constitution tells our government of its responsibility to protect the people, and Latinos are part of the people. Although we cannot change the past, with the truth, we can come to terms with it, fixing relationships empowering Latinos to embrace their identity. We can learn and form connections with identity and pride while breaking the cycles of oppression. “The truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)


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