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Teaching Courses on Vietnam War

December 27, 1987

In an article on the teaching of courses about Vietnam (Part I, Dec. 19), which a professor of communications at San Francisco State calls "trendy," she charges that: "They are learning what Mommy and Daddy didn't tell them, what their history teachers in high school didn't tell them . . . ."

I take personal exception to these charges. In the early 1960s I discussed the Vietnam War in junior high school classes in the Los Angeles district, taught senior honors classes in international relations in senior high school, watched students graduate from my class, and whose names I have read on the memorial in Washington, D.C.

When I continued teaching in the community colleges, the dean who hired me in 1969 warned that any philosophy professor who discussed Vietnam was not worth his salt.

For a professor of communications (who stated that she has been teaching college for 22 years), to assert that the teaching profession did not do its job is intolerable. There were faculty members who were threatened, blacklisted, and lost their teaching positions. To even raise the issue was to be considered un-American.

It is never too late, or too early, for our students to be presented with the issues.


Professor of Humanities

West Los Angeles College

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