John Oliver Wants to (Literally) Rewrite the History Books So You Don't Learn About Juneteenth From 'Watchmen' (Video)

“History, when taught well, shows us how to improve the world. But history, when taught poorly, falsely claims there is nothing to improve”

John Oliver wants the way American history is currently taught in schools to become ancient history.

On Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight,” the HBO show took “a look at how the history of race in America is taught in schools, how we can make those teachings more accurate, and why it’s in everyone’s best interest to understand the most realistic version of the past,” according to the episode’s description.

“George Floyd’s murder has forced a hard national conversation about this country’s present, which is impossible to do effectively without reexamining its past,” Oliver said last night. “And unfortunately, that’s not a conversation that all Americans are well-equipped to have, because there are some embarrassing gaps in many people’s knowledge of U.S. history.”

For example, Oliver pointed out just how many people in America do not know about the 1921 Tulsa race massacre and the Juneteenth holiday.

In recent months, HBO’s “Watchmen” and a poorly timed Trump rally helped raise awareness levels there. But that’s what textbooks, teachers and classrooms are supposed to do, Oliver argued.

Watch the video above.

“History isn’t over yet — it’s still being written,” Oliver said. “History, when taught well, shows us how to improve the world. But history, when taught poorly, falsely claims there is nothing to improve.”

Let’s all strive to be on the right side of it.

“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” airs Sundays at 11 p.m. ET/PT on HBO. 

Notable Athletes Who Have Opted Out of 2020 Seasons Over COVID-19 Concerns (Photos)

  • Major U.S. professional sports like the NBA and MLB have returned (the NFL is getting started on it 2020 season), but not everyone will play over concerns of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Buster Posey

    The six-time All Star catcher with the San Francisco Giants opted out of the 2020 season after he and his wife planned to adopt two identical twin girls who were, a journalist for The Athletic reported.

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  • David Price

    David Price, a pitcher formerly for the Boston Red Sox who this season was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, opted out of the season on July 4 out of the interest of the his health and his family’s.

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  • Ian Desmond

    Ian Desmond, an outfielder for the Colorado Rockies, opted out in part because of his pregnant wife and four young children. It was reported that he’d be sacrificing $5.55 million in pro-rated salary for 2020.

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  • Ryan Zimmerman

    Ryan Zimmerman, the 35-year-old first baseman for the World Series champs Washington Nationals, clarified that he would not be retiring by opting out this season. He forfeited $740,000 of pro-rated salary.

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  • Nick Markakis

    Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis opted out of the 2020 season after seeing his teammate Freddie Freeman contract the coronavirus and be sidelined with symptoms of COVID-19. “Just hearing him, the way he sounded on the phone, it was tough,” Markakis said in a press conference. “It was kind of eye-opening. With everything that’s going on, not just with baseball but all over the world, it makes you open your eyes.”

    (Update: Markakis pulled a surprise move on July 29 and decided to rejoin the team for the remainder of the season).

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  • Mike Leake

    Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake, 32, became the first known MLB player to opt out of the 2020 season on June 29. He was scheduled to make $16 million in a full season and is a free agent in 2021.

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  • Felix Hernandez

    Felix Hernandez, a longtime pitcher and All Star for the Seattle Mariners, opted out of the 2020 season on July 4. He signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves this season and was competing for a rotation spot.

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  • Joe Ross and Tyson Ross

    Joe Ross, 27, and Tyson Ross, 33, two brothers and MLB pitchers for the Washington Nationals and a free agent respectively, both signed out of the 2020 season.

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  • Jordan Hicks

    St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jordan Hicks, 23, opted out of the season after being identified as a high-risk player due to his Type 1 diabetes. He’s also recovering from Tommy John surgery.

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  • Michael Kopech

    Michael Kopech, 24, a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, announced on July 10 through the team’s general manager that he would be sitting out the 2020 season. Kopech was recovering from Tommy John surgery that kept him sidelined in 2019.

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  • Willie Cauley-Stein

    Cauley-Stein opted out on June 25 because he and his partner are expecting a baby in July.

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  • Spencer Dinwiddie

    Dinwiddie is one of the few players that won’t be playing due to a positive COVID-19 test. On July 7 the Nets’ doctors advised Dinwiddie he should not play out of an abundance of caution. 

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  • Avery Bradley

    Bradley, a vocal critic of the NBA’s restart taking attention away from the nationwide social justice movement, opted out on June 23 in order to remain with his wife and three children.

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  • Wilson Chandler

    Chandler opted out on June 28 so he could remain with his family and grandmother.

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  • Thabo Sefalosha

    Sefalosha opted out on July 1, though a specific reason was not given. He had previously expressed concerns over playing in the bubble amid the pandemic. 

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  • DeAndre Jordan

    Like his teammate Dinwiddie, Jordan also will sit out the rest of the 2020 campaign after revealing he tested positive for the disease. 

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  • Victor Oladipo

    The Indiana Pacers star had just come back from a ruptured quad tendon before the shutdown. He cited the uncertainty of the Orlando bubble as part of his reason for opting out. 

    (Update: Oladipo joined the Pacers in Orlando and played in scrimmages, but it is still unclear if he’ll be part of the season restart). 

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  • Trevor Ariza

    Ariza opted out June 22 in order to commit to a one-month visitation window with his young son. Families are not allowed inside the NBA bubble until the end of August.

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  • Andre Smith

    Smith was set to play for the Baltimore Ravens this season.

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  • De’Anthony Thomas

    Baltimore Ravens

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  • Star Lotulelei

    Buffalo Bills

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  • Jordan Mack

    Mack, an undrafted rookie with the Carolina Panthers, decided on July 28 to forgo his rookie season out of uncertainty from the virus. 

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  • Eddie Goldman

    The Chicago Bears defensive tackle opted out on July 28 citing health concerns.

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  • Stephen Guidry

    Another undrafted rookie, this one with the Dallas Cowboys. Guirdry is one of two Cowboys to opt out, joining Maurice Canady.

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  • Devin Funchess

    Funchess is skipping his first season with the Green Bay Packers over COVID-19 concerns. He had family members that contracted the virus. 

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  • Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

    The Kansas City Chiefs’ starting lineman was the first NFL player to opt out of the season. Duvernay-Tardif spent the offseason as medical volunteer at a long-term care facility in Montreal that was treating coronavirus patients.

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  • Michael Pierce

    Pierce, one of the Minnesota Vikings’ big offseason signings, has respiratory concerns and is considered high-risk. 

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  • Multiple New England Patriots

    Led by Dont’a Hightower, six Patriots have already decided to opt out of the season, with more expected. 

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  • Nate Solder

    The New York Giants’ star lineman has a son who is currently battling cancer. Solder is also a cancer survivor himself. 

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  • Marquise Goodwin

    The new Philadelphia Eagles receiver has a 5-month daughter after his wife previously had three miscarriages. 

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  • Chance Warmack

    Warmack missed of all 2019 and was set to compete for a roster spot on the Seattle Seahawks. He is a former top-10 draft pick. 

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  • Ash Barty

    The top-ranked female tennis player in the world is skipping the U.S. Open in New York next month. The Australian cited concerns of traveling to a COVID-19 hotspot. 

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U.S. pro sports are back in action, but many are deciding to sit out

Major U.S. professional sports like the NBA and MLB have returned (the NFL is getting started on it 2020 season), but not everyone will play over concerns of the coronavirus pandemic.

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