Compelling Issues

40 Historical Figures You Didn’t Know Were White-Washed By History

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white-washed historical figures

Twentieth-Century Fox

Hollywood is notorious for its film and television depictions of white-washed historical figures, but sometimes even common knowledge white-washes famous changemakers, artists, and rulers in a societal false consensus. Religious figures like Jesus Christ are constantly depicted as white across the world even though we all know Jerusalem is in the Middle East, and the nationalities of other historical figures like Moorish Benjamin Franklin have been completely lost to common knowledge. Even Alexander Hamilton, who Lin-Manuel Miranda so famously depicted in his ethnically diverse re-casting of American History, has been white-washed in the general consciousness. We’ve gone from letting white-washing of fictional characters like Major in Ghost In The Shell and Allison Ng in Aloha slide to letting the actual white-washing of world history be taught in our elementary and high schools across the country without even realizing we’d done it. It’s time we all educate ourselves: Here are forty historical figures you had no idea weren’t white.

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