Acknowledging the Darkness of Your Past

Authored By:

Saron Y.

Whenever we do something bad, our first response is to hide it. No one needs to know we messed up. But we're humans so aren't we supposed to mess up? Some mess ups are worse than others but nonetheless they should all be brought to light. America isn’t very good with addressing its issues, one of the biggest ones being slavery and the continued oppression of black people. Even when we learn about slavery in school, it’s very vague and not really seen as an important part of our history. The thing that makes Germans so different from us is that they don’t bury their past.

Leading up to the visit to Sachsenhausen, I didn’t know what to expect. It was hard to imagine how it would feel to be on the same ground where mass murder occurred. Then we got there and I wasn’t sure what was appropriate. It didn’t feel right to just walk in but I knew I wanted to learn more and try to understand why the Nazis did what they did. This made me realize how I don’t really have the chance to understand why slavery happened. American culture suppresses it and doesn’t allow the American people to learn about our past, our history.

The lack of conversation about our dark history has led to cultural conflict, mainly between blacks and whites. I never feel welcome in areas that are whiter because I’m just stared at. When we landed in Germany, all we got were stares. After Eric explained that Germans just do that, it showed how Germany is sort of better culturally in the context of accepting other cultures. It’s probably because the people are happier since they have free healthcare and all. Maybe if our government treated us better, our culture and communication between each other would be better.