Publication Date

December 29, 2021

Perspectives Section

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

While welcoming dissent from all quarters, I am surely not the only historian taken aback by the two letters to the editor published in the November 2021 issue of Perspectives.

One writer mischaracterizes honest, empirical analyses of racism and antiracists and abolition of slavery as somehow secondary to larger world historical forces which are alleged to have—willy-nilly—been part of “a host of complex factors spanning the evolving needs of modernity that cannot be woven smugly into a good-guys-versus-bad-guys narrative.” This is not news but “needs of modernity” included slavery and yes, there are “bad guys” in history.

Similarly, the other writer notes historians ought not “express their opinion” in the classroom. Really? Once facts are verified and out in the conversation, why would one’s professor “never say out loud when teaching a class” that “Hitler, Stalin, and Vlad the Impaler were bad people”? This letter then rambles on vacuously (excuse the pun) about “vaccine hesitancy” and elites without really making a point, except to demonstrate the writer’s own lack of respect for reliable data by citing Facebook sources regarding alleged academics’ opposition to vaccines.

Without being paranoid, one wonders if Perspectives is being targeted, or rather “punked,” by trolls.


We are always pleased to hear from engaged readers. We ask that any further discussion of these letters, and the articles they addressed, be taken to the AHA’s Member Forum at

Ty Geltmaker
West Hollywood, CA

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Attribution must provide author name, article title, Perspectives on History, date of publication, and a link to this page. This license applies only to the article, not to text or images used here by permission.