[Vision2020] 1619 or 1776 — When was our nation founded?
thansen at moscow.com
Thu Jul 1 04:59:10 PDT 2021
Courtesy of today’s (July 1, 2021) Moscow-Pullman Daily News with special thanks to Moscow’s ow Palouse Pundit, Nick Gier.
1619 or 1776 — When was our nation founded?
by Nick Gier
“Teaching critical race theory doesn’t mean that you are teaching students to hate. It means you are teaching students to understand.”
— James Grossman, American Historical Association
Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones is the leader of the controversial 1619 Project, which “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the United States’ national narrative.”
In collaboration with the Pulitzer Center and the Smithsonian, Hannah-Jones and others have developed a 1619 curriculum that has been adopted in more than 4,500 schools. She chose 1619 because that was the date 20 Africans were sold into slavery in the Virginia Colony.
When 10 essays from the project were published in the New York Times on Aug. 14, 2019, prominent historians pointed out factual errors and accused the authors of “putting ideology before historical understanding.” Especially egregious is the claim that “Blacks fought alone” in the civil rights movement — ignoring thousands of white supporters.
In a major concession Hannah-Jones now admits that “1619 was not our true founding,” and that the original intent of using this date was “metaphorical.” It appears that she has given everything away, but that is not quite true.
The authors of the project have written powerful expositions of systemic racism — from “How False Beliefs in Physical Racial Difference Still Live in Medicine Today” to “How Segregation Caused Your Traffic Jam.” Another example I read recently was the fact that the tipped minimum wage has a racist origin.
In response to the 1619 Project, now ex-President Trump issued an executive order setting up the 1776 Commission, which directed the conservative members to produce a “patriotic” curriculum. (No experts on American history were appointed.) Stating that the commission had “sought to erase America’s history of racial injustice,” Joe Biden dissolved it as one of the first acts of his presidency.
The commission’s report is an ideological screed, which critics say is “filled with errors and partisan politics” — receiving a much more severe critique than the 1619 Project. Writing for the American Historical Association, James Grossman states that the report is “cheerleading” and “nationalist propaganda.”
The commission report rails against the idea of a “living” Constitution, the positive results of Progressive Era, identity politics, “left-wing” universities, and the administrative state — the “deep state” as some conspirators call it.
Hannah-Jones does err when she claims that the “founding ideals were false.” The Declaration of Independence and Constitution are some of the greatest documents in political theory and history. The former guarantees inalienable rights to all persons regardless of race, gender or citizenship status.
The Declaration is, however, as Martin Luther King declared, a “promissory note” that has been returned because of “insufficient funds.” It is white, propertied men who were flawed not our national creed.
August 1619 was indeed a dark time in American history, but our real founding was of course on July 4, 1776. The ideals of the document signed that day will not fully unite the American people until they are fulfilled and redeemed at King’s “Bank of Justice.” It is my hope that the new Juneteenth national holiday will serve as an important and redemptive precursor for our Independence Day celebrations.
These facts and many others need to be repeated to show much still has to be done. Eviction rates for Blacks are twice that of whites; whites are 16 times wealthier than Blacks; Black men are twice as likely to be killed by police than other men; and Blacks have died of the coronavirus at twice the rate of whites. Furthermore, Black people with college degrees earn less than similarly educated white people.
Every year since the June 4, 1989, massacre, when protesters set up a replica of the Statue of Liberty in Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government has made sure that there is no mention of it in the press, on the internet, or the history books. One commentator has called this “historical nihilism,” not only with regard to Tiananmen, but hundreds of other incidents that might cause their citizens to “hate” their government.
I contend that Republican legislators are attempting to sanitize our history in the same way.
Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .
"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
“A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met.”
- Roy E. Stolworthy
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