Florida students – too young to remember the events of the September 11 terrorist attacks – that were interviewed by Campus Reform said lessons taught by educators should avoid discussing “American exceptionalism” instead should “focus on America’s faults.”
Ophelie Jacobson, a reporter from Campus Reform, went to the University of Florida to ask students how the deadly 9\11 terrorist attacks should be taught in classrooms.
Students said that educators should “avoid placing blame” and avoid talking about “American exceptionalism” while teaching about 9/11. Students also suggested that teachers “focus on America’s faults.”
“I think that the 9/11 attacks should be taught in a way that doesn’t really target, like, more like who did it, but, like, more like how we can, like, move forward, and, like, different, like, healing processes that we can go through to, like, make everything, like, you know, good again,” another said.
A third student to “avoid placing blame” in the curriculum because getting into the “specific factors that were at play” will risk people engaging in “Islamophobia,” as well as “ideas of American exceptionalism.”
Generally, the students did not seem to agree with the concept of American exceptionalism.
“I don’t agree with the idea of American exceptionalism. It’s rooted in a lot of, like, colonist and imperialist notions of, like, how we should treat other people,” one said.
“I don’t think we should be talking about, like, the greatness of the country,” another student suggested.
“I definitely don’t agree that America is the best country on the earth. I think that we still need a lot of, like, fixing,” a third said.
“I think it’s a dangerous mindset to teach young people that, because I think that’s the reason why a lot of people grow up to be kind of extremists and, like, really nationalistic,” another student said.
Students indicated they agreed when asked to react to a video recently posted to the Virginia Department of Eduction’s YouTube channel telling teachers to avoid discussions about American exceptionalism while teaching about September 11, 2001.
“We definitely should [avoid talking about American exceptionalism] because we don’t need more nationalism in this country. We need more, like, healthcare, I don’t know,” one student said.
“I think they should focus on America’s faults, not, like, how amazing we are and how we need to be superior because we’re not,” the student added.
Another student said that “in terms of propagating this idea that our nation is the best no matter what, I would agree that that should be avoided.”