HORIST: American Exceptionalism under attack … by New York Times Magazine.
Any knowledgeable and decent American will concede that there have been times and situations which did not – and do not – reflect well on America. The most notable was the sin of slavery and the de facto segregation and racism that has flowed from it for more than 150 years after the damnable institution was officially abolished.
We can also concede that the contributions of African Americans have been disregarded in our history books and pop culture. Most school children never knew of the accomplishment of folks like Crispus Attucks, George Washington Carver, Percy Julian, Booker T. Washington and many others – not to mention the sacrifice in blood by hundreds of thousands of black soldiers in our many wars going back to 1776 Revolutionary War.
While most school children know of President Teddy Roosevelt’s famous charge up San Juan Hill, they never learned that he and his unit had their butts saved by a black regiment when they were surrounded and about to be wiped out by the Spanish. (Just for the record, Roosevelt’s Rough Riders actually charged up Kettle Hill – not San Juan.)
The Times is producing what they call the 1619 Project – the 400th anniversary of the arrival of a slave ship in Port Comfort, Virginia. Why they selected that event as notable is not clear. According to real historians, slavery first arrived in North America almost 100 years earlier when slaves were brought from Cuba to the Spanish colony that is now the Carolinas.
The Times promotes their Project by declaring that “On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully.” What the Times deems truthful is not a work of education, but rather a selective history to serve as an indictment of the full picture of American history. The good of America FAR outshines the bad.
In their collection of “essays,” the Times features their own liberal writer, Nikole Hanna-Jones, who, according to her online biography “investigates the way racial segregation in housing and schools is maintained through official action and policy.” So do I, and methinks she is not telling the whole story.
In her essay, Hannah-Jones writes: “Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true.” She is wrong on both counts. The “ideals” were not false even if they were not fully implemented at the time. And it was predominately white Americans—with the encouragement of the black community — that brought reality to the ideals of equality by fighting and dying to end slavery, passing the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and who passed the civil rights legislation of the mid 1960s.
If there was any one group that provided the primary impetus for all these actions, it was the Republican Party. I will have to check out how much credit Hannah-Jones gives to the GOP in this matter.
Princeton Sociology Professor Mathew Desmond contributed his view to the 1619 Project. He wrote: “If you want to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start on the plantation.” Yep! Another anti-capitalism, anti-free-markets college professor.
According to Linda Villarosa, contributing writer for New York Times Magazine: “Myths about physical racial differences were used to justify slavery—and are still believed by doctors today.” Not sure what doctors she sees, but I have not run into one of those.
Times opinion writer Jamelle Bouie believes that “America holds onto an undemocratic assumption from its founding: that some people deserve more power than others.” That “assumption” may have been held by a lot of folks in the Eighteenth Century, but it has evolved to greater enlightenment. It is not at all applicable to America today.
In his contribution to the 1619 Project, Bryan Stevenson, Professor at New York University Law School and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative contended that “Slavery gave America a fear of black people and a taste for violent punishment. Both still define our prison system.” Our prison system does have problems, but the good professor makes a rather preposterous linkage to the era of slavery.
MSNBC Reporter Trymaine Lee made this contribution to the 1619 Project. “A vast wealth gap, driven by segregation, redlining, evictions and exclusion, separates black and white America.” He is absolutely correct. But I doubt that he affixes blame on the Democratic Party that has virtually exclusively imposed those conditions on black America in the form of continuing institutional racism. Wanna bet?
All these quotes come directly from the promotional material for the Times special project.
The Times offers no counterbalance or fairness in their carefully crafted view of American history. There is little to no attention paid to the heroic and noble actions that brought an end to slavery and to southern segregation – and are fighting de facto institutional racism in our cities today.
The Gray Lady of journalism – often referred to (for reasons unknown) as America’s newspaper of record – has brought to the mainstream news media the blame and hate America sentiments that were once limited to the radical left on the streets. The intent of the Times is not to educate or to correct the public record – which would be a worthy cause – but to propagate subtle wolves of false racist narratives and impressions under thief the sheeps’ hide of public service.
Of course, what will be missing from the New York Times dragging the American flag through the mud in the name of historic justice is the truth about the relative roles of the two major political parties. How many of their essays will deal with the reality that it was the Democratic Party that imposed and maintained institutional racism in America for almost two centuries?
Yes, there is a need to upgrade and correct the historic spotlight as it involves both the plight and the positive roles of black Americans from our earliest colonial days. But that is not what the Times has done. Rather, the once-great publication has succumbed to a propaganda version of history. By not telling the ENTIRE story, they are stoking the flames of racial friction as a partisan political strategy based on their unprofessional alliance with the political left. That is racism.
So, there ‘tis.
FOOTNOTE: To all you rabid left-wing radicals who only have the racial card in your deck: Do not give me your ignorant knee-jerk reactions. I have spent a lifetime supporting equality for blacks – work that has garnered me awards from minority organizations. I have spent an enormous amount of time in the inner city working against racial discrimination in police departments, the school systems, housing departments, the justice system, supporting neighborhood economic development (jobs) and every other aspect of life in our still segregated and impoverished inner cities. I have placed blacks and Hispanics in positions of leadership in almost every organization in which I played a leadership role –often for the first time. I have spent more than 50 years as the father of a black daughter. Sooo …. spare me your uninformed spleen-venting racist appellations.