The "1619 Project" and the race

Published: 02/18/2022 18:15:00 Modified: 02/18/2022 18:14:50 A recent writer of letters on these pages asserts that the “1619 Pro...

Published: 02/18/2022 18:15:00

Modified: 02/18/2022 18:14:50

A recent writer of letters on these pages asserts that the “1619 Project”, which recasts American history by placing the institution of slavery and its consequences at the center, is “hardly … scholarly”. He goes on to quote a number of prominent historians who have criticized aspects of the project.

But the author thus gives a misleading impression of the conflict. Critics, especially Sean Wilentz, mostly complained not of the facts depicted, but rather of their interpretation. In particular, they challenge the pessimism of the 1619 Project, the view held by some of its contributors that our country has not rid itself of the racism that oppresses black people and may never succeed in doing so.

But didn’t we elect Barack Obama president, indeed twice? Yes, but we also elected Donald Trump, the Original Birther. In recent months, a Republican who had never run for office before was elected governor of Virginia with a campaign committed to preventing white children from learning painful truths about slavery, Jim Crow, and more. . And this month, our Supreme Court declined to uphold a lower court ruling that Alabama had blatantly redrawn congressional districts to dilute the influence of black voters.

Are we making progress on the run? I would tend to say yes, but painfully slowly. And the pain is of course worse for our fellow African Americans. As for the 1619 Project, in a review of the dispute with Sean Wilentz and others, writer Adam Serwer wrote in The Atlantic, the critics’ claims “are not objections to misrepresentations of historical fact, but to the he argument that anti-black racism is a more intractable problem than most Americans are willing to admit.

Can anyone in good conscience dispute that?

John Connolly


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Newsrust - US Top News: The "1619 Project" and the race
The "1619 Project" and the race
Newsrust - US Top News
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