The 1619 Project is a journalistic endeavor by The New York Times which reframes the nation’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the center of the United State’s narrative. It was launched in 2019 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first slaves to colonial Virginia. The introductory essay won the Pulitzer Prize. Naturally, white conservatives hate this.
A few historians also questioned the project and have accused it of putting ideology before historical understandings. But isn’t that what we grew up with? You grew up with history written by white men. The history books we grew up with aren’t as fucked up and total bullshit like that other book written from a male perspective, the Bible, but it excludes a lot. History is written by the victors, but that should probably stop.
History isn’t just black and white. When you study World War II, you can’t walk away thinking it was as simple as good vs. evil. You need to understand why. Why did Japan want to wage war on the U.S? Why did we side with a communist nation like the Soviet Union? Which colonizing empire, Japan or the British, are the good guys? Why did a democratic Finland fight against the allies and with the Nazis? History is complicated. And when that war was over, the victors drew new boundaries and people in the Middle East had no say in what country they even lived in.
History is funny in that you can spend your entire life studying the subject. Civilization is old. A lot of shit has happened in the past. Another funny thing about history is that so many people tell different versions. A former editor of mine, who served in Vietnam, argued that the United States didn’t lose that war. And he was there watching us lose it. A lot of people get the history they want to get. I’ve had a history professor tell me the U.S. Civil War was not over slavery which is very complicated. Basically, the Civil War was not about slavery for the north. For the south, it was the only thing they were fighting for. Fight me.
And they’re still fighting in the south. Southern Republicans, and in a few other red states outside the south, are fighting Critical Race Theory. What’s that? Critical Race Theory is the study of how racism is embedded in our society which all started when that first boat landed in Virginia over 400 years ago. White Republicans have labeled it as “anti-American.” The Trump administration tried to shut it down by ordering the Department of Education to cease funding to any schools teaching it, and not teaching how awesome Murica is and that it all started in 1776. The Trump administration wanted to rewrite history to only teach “patriotic” history. I’m not fucking with you here. Mitch McConnell called Critical Race Theory “divisive nonsense.”
White Republicans will tell you we have a racist past, but it’s all better now. There is no longer any racism and the Derek Chauvin trial proved it. Tucker Carlson asked on his show, that’s a favorite for white supremacists, “What is white supremacy?”.
Texas’ Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick, who has shown of his hatred and ignorance in the past, said, “Texans reject critical race theory and other so-called ‘woke’ philosophies that maintain that one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex or that any individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive.” Critical Race Theory doesn’t teach that one race is superior to other races. I get the sense that Dan Patrick got all his history by watching Tucker Carlson.
If you think the Ku Klux Klan was started by the Democratic Party, the south fighting for slavery were the liberals, and that the parties didn’t flip positions through the 1950s and 1960s, then you are desperately in need of a real history lesson. And don’t give me any of that PragerU. shit.
President Joe Biden’s Department of Education issued proposals to update the teaching of American history and civics in schools, incorporating anti-racist works such as the 1619 Project. White conservatives are afraid. Anything that threatens their white privilege is addressed at the top of their agenda, after fealty to Trump.
Idaho has banned Critical Race Theory from being taught in any of their schools, from elementary schools to universities. You don’t want Republicans in charge of your lesson planner. Remember a few years ago when Texas rewrote all their history books to refer to slaves as “workers?” Yeah.
But these fucknut lesson planners aren’t just limited to Texas and Idaho. Republicans in Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, South Dakota, Arizona, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Rhode Island and West Virginia are working on legislation to ban anything that teaches “divisive concepts” or that “suggests” the United States is a racist country.
White speaking against Critical Race Theory, and advancing a bill to outlaw it, Tennessee legislator Justin Lafferty argued the Three-Fifths Compromise, that was counting black people as three-fifths of a person was included in the Constitution to end slavery. In reality, the Compromise was created to count slaves in the south so that could increase representation in Congress, even though those slaves had no voting rights…or any rights. It went along with the racist Electoral College, distributing votes in the south unequally. That’s another reason to get rid of the Electoral College. The Three-Fifths Compromise and the Electoral College made slavery stronger. The idiot arguing the Compromise was to end slavery got a standing ovation from the white Republicans present. Seriously.
The guy might as well have argued the Underground Railroad was built by Jefferson Davis or that the Confederacy seceded to end slavery.
These white Republicans are arguing that if something is “divisive” then it shouldn’t be taught or discussed. These fuckers sounds like newspaper opinion page editors. And, these racists are trying to paint anti-racism as anti-American. And maybe they have a point. America is a racist country.
Even if you don’t agree the United States remains a racist nation, you do need to understand we have a racist history and that this nation was built on racism. We also need to acknowledge the contributions to our nation from black Americans. That’s not being woke. That’s being informed. Just a few years ago, Michelle Obama got a lot of heat from white Republicans for pointing out she was living in a house slaves built.
White Republicans aren’t just making it illegal to teach history they don’t want to hear…they’re banning black history. I don’t want to give them any ideas, but I’m surprised they’re not writing laws to save Aunt Jemima-shaped syrup bottles.
These same fuckers banning history being taught that may suggest we are a racist nation are the same assholes writing laws making it harder for black people to vote. They’re the same racist idiots making it legal to run over people protesting for equality and against police violence on black Americans. We don’t need to teach proper history to know we’re a racist nation. Just show students a photo of Donald Trump.
What we need are classes to teach Republicans irony.
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