Originally posted on May 26, 2021.
The 1619 Project is not an “intellectual exercise in search of truth. It’s a political exercise in search of power,” maintains Jason L. Riley in the WSJ.
More scholars could and should be calling out this false history, but let’s be grateful to the ones who have risen to the occasion.
Mr. Riley reviews Robert Woodson’s latest release in which the author focuses on thoughtful reactions to the barely disguised propaganda being peddled by the Times and infiltrating America’s classrooms.
Mr. Woodson is a veteran community activist who broke with the traditional civil-rights leadership in the 1970s after realizing that the agenda of “racial grievance groups” like the NAACP was increasingly at odds with the actual wants and needs of the black underclass.
Unlike its liberal counterparts, the Woodson Center encourages communities to “look inward for solutions, as blacks often did with remarkable success before the 1960s, rather than to the government.”
Mr. Woodson’s “Red White and Blue:” is a collection of essays by 1776 Unites participants. Its publication is a public service, observes Mr. Riley.
In one essay, the Rev. Corey Brooks, who runs a gang-intervention and prisoner re-entry program in Chicago, knocks the 1619 Project’s “over-emphasis on slavery as the defining institution before and during our nation’s founding. The writers who participated in the project jettisoned facts in favor of a fictitious recounting of why our Founders formed a new nation.
In another essay, James McWorter, professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia, writes that the 1619 Project is about “dumbing ourselves down in the name of a moral crusade. The problem is not merely the project’s numerous and well-documented inaccuracies, but also its simpleminded approach to a complicated subject.”
The 1619 kind of perspective, for all of its elaborate terminology and moral passion vented in serious media organs and entertained by people with PhDs, demands that we abjure complexity. It is a call for dumbing ourselves down in the name of a moral crusade.
As Mr. Woodson outlines in the book’s introduction, the goal in “Red, White and Black” is to “debunk the myth that present-day problems are related to our past . . . specifically, debunking the myth that slavery is the source of present-day disparities and injustice.”
More Book Offerings
Mr. Riley has more suggestions on thoughtful reading to the “barely disguised propaganda being peddled by the Times and infiltrating our children’s classrooms.”
- “1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project” by Peter Wood, who heads the National Association of Scholars. Mr. Wood includes a short, accessible history of slavery in the Western Hemisphere and points out that it in fact predates the arrival of Europeans or Africans. Included is a short, accessible history of slavery in the Western Hemisphere that, Wood points out, predates the arrival of Europeans or Africans.
Slavery Not New to the New World
It was an institution familiar to many native societies in both North and South America. These populations had been enslaving one another, as far as we can tell, from time immemorial. Local Indians captured and enslaved European would-be conquistadors and traded them from tribe to tribe.
The year 1492 changed the world, but not by introducing slavery to the Americas. Slavery was already here.
- “The 1619 Project: A Critique” By Phillip Magness, an economic historian, includes a short, accessible history of slavery in the Western Hemisphere and points out that it in fact predates the arrival of Europeans or Africans.
The worthy historical task of documenting the horrors of American slavery has been cynically repurposed into an ideological attack on free-market capitalism.
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