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The 1619 Project Devours Its Liberal Parents

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The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project is the future of American education.

Buffalo Public Schools announced this month that the essay series will now be mandatory for its students and other school districts are soon to follow. The news was greeted with grumbles from acclaimed historians and conservatives, who despise 1619 Project’s attacks on sunny liberal view of American history. The critics wish to uphold a triumphalist view of America that emphasizes its ideas and progress, the 1619 Project emphasizes America’s racism. While the Times’ project is marred by sloppy scholarship, absurd claims, and black narcissism, it touches on more truth than the critics’ hagiography. The race realism of the founders can’t be separated from the nation they created. To the Dissident Right, this is a noble legacy that must be defended; to the supporters of the 1619 Project, it’s a terrible blot that must be recognized and eradicated.

The detractors’ preferred history treats racialism as an aberration of the founding and insists the founders wanted a multicultural America. Sure, there were some bad things in the past but that shouldn’t distract us from how free America is!

The 1619 Project eviscerates this vision and provides non-white America with an alternative theory. Whites are the source of all evil in this country, and only non-whites can make America great. Blacks are our real founders, not the dead white males of the Constitutional Convention. The founding ideals are good, but only if they’re interpreted by black and brown voices.

This vision is insanely anti-white and far more appealing to minorities than the stale hagiography found in airport bookstores. This is the history our children will learn in public schools, and it will soon replace Ken Burns historiography.

The 1619 Project takes its name from the year the first African slaves landed in America and aims to mark this event as the true founding of our country. The project, led by New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, argues slavery built America and blacks are the real founding fathers. The series, which includes contributions from academics and respectable journalists, is largely sour on America and every essay bemoans a facet of American racism.

Here’s a sampling of what to expect from the series:

  • “Why Is Everyone Always Stealing Black Music?”
  • “How False Beliefs in Physical Racial Difference Still Live in Medicine Today”
  • “How America’s Vast Racial Wealth Gap Grew: By Plunder”
  • “How Segregation Caused Your Traffic Jam”

Academic critics are fine with most of these essays, as they also believe blacks are integral to America and racism needs to be atoned for. But the liberal historians cannot abide the claims about the revolution, Abraham Lincoln, and the importance of slavery to the modern economy. Hannah-Jones lead essay claims the Revolution was fought to preserve slavery and Abraham Lincoln was racist.

That essay, entitled “America Wasn’t a Democracy Until Black Americans Made It One,” works through Hannah-Jones’ own conflict over her identity. As a young person, she saw the American flag and other patriotic symbols as alien. Now, she believes blacks have the greatest claim to these symbols.

[I]t would be historically inaccurate to reduce the contributions of black people to the vast material wealth created by our bondage. Black Americans have also been, and continue to be, foundational to the idea of American freedom. More than any other group in this country’s history, we have served, generation after generation, in an overlooked but vital role: It is we who have been the perfecters of this democracy.

The black writer correctly notes the Founders did not want America to be a multiracial democracy and blacks were not part of their body politic.

The United States is a nation founded on both an ideal and a lie. Our Declaration of Independence, approved on July 4, 1776, proclaims that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” But the white men who drafted those words did not believe them to be true for the hundreds of thousands of black people in their midst.

She argues that blacks made these ideals true, in spite of the country being founded on their oppression. Hannah-Jones, who curiously appropriates white hair color, makes bold claims about American history.

The revolution was initiated to protect slavery, Abraham Lincoln was racist, whites did nothing to help blacks, and “[a]nti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country, as does the belief, so well articulated by Lincoln, that black people are the obstacle to national unity.”

The first claim is clearly false, the second is true, the third is false, and the latter claims are sort of true. But the historians believe these claims are all false and dangerous to teach.

Five prestigious historians–Sean Wilentz, Gordon Wood, James McPherson, James Oakes, and Victoria Bynum–wrote a letter to the Times last month demanding the paper of record correct these alleged falsehoods. The historians praise the project for bringing more focus to slavery and racism, but contend the project didn’t include sufficient academic review and these errors marr the whole series.

New York Times Magazine Editor in Chief Jake Silverstein defended the project’s accuracy and stood by Hannah-Jones’s claims.

Several scholars agree with the letter, but didn’t sign it to avoid lending credence to a “white historians’ criticism.”

The five historians first criticized the project in separate interviews with the Trotskyite World Socialist Web Site, an unlikely place to lead the fight against leftist historiography. Most of the historians are centrist liberals. Gordon Wood is Newt Gingrich’s favorite historian and has written: “‘To be American is not to be someone, but to believe in something’ – i.e., to believe in America as a democratic idea, not an organic body or an extended family, like a European nation or people.” James McPherson wrote the most popular scholarly account of the Civil War. James Oakes is a chief exponent of the argument that the Union fought the Civil War primarily to end slavery. Victoria Bynum wrote the Free State of Jones, which inspired the execrable film. Sean Wilentz is a Bancroft Prize-winning historian of the antebellum era and proudly signed an academic petition to impeach Donald Trump.

In the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) interviews, the historians are goaded into a strange combination of boomer conservatism and old-school Marxism. Most of the historians praise Karl Marx’s positive thoughts on the Union and Lincoln and attack 1619 Project’s identity politics. They dismiss the project’s claims about the revolution and the Civil War and insist whites helped elevate blacks.

All of the historians were particularly appalled that the Project calls Lincoln a racist. “It’s ridiculous. Most of what Abraham Lincoln had to say about African Americans was anti-racist,” Oakes told WSWS. The 1619 Project claims Lincoln was a racist due to his support for colonization of freed blacks. Oakes is outraged by this claim and insists Lincoln gave up this idea by the time of his assassination and was a committed racial egalitarian.

Wilentz, arguably the most vocal critic of 1619, echoed this argument in an article for The Atlantic last week defending his position. “Lincoln asserted on many occasions, most notably during his famous debates with the racist Stephen A. Douglas in 1858, that the Declaration of Independence’s famous precept that ‘all men are created equal’ was a human universal that applied to black people as well as white people,” Wilentz writes. He also very seriously states that Lincoln had black friends and that means he definitely was not racist.

However, Lincoln was a long-time supporter of colonization who still believed this the best solution to emancipated blacks as late as 1864. Most of his political rhetoric upheld the idea that America was a white man’s country and that blacks could not be full citizens.

Lincoln said in the aforementioned debate with Stephen Douglas:

I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will for ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.

1619 is more right about Lincoln than its critics.

But the historians are right about the cause of the American Revolution. Silverstein defended Hannah-Jones claim that the revolution was started to protect slavery by pointing to the 1772 Somerset decision and Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation. The Somerset court decision, which received little notice in the colonies, ruled that slavery was not found in English common law. The decision obviously did not apply to Britain’s many colonies that depended on slave labor. In 1775, Lord Dunmore, the governor of the Virginia colony, declared that any slave who took up arms against the Patriots would receive his freedom. This proclamation certainly encouraged colonial support for the revolution, but it was issued after the rebellion had already erupted.

“Assertions that a primary reason the Revolution was fought was to protect slavery are as inaccurate as the assertions, still current, that southern secession and the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery,” Wilentz argues.

But the real fight is not over sloppy scholarship–it’s over interpretation. Even though clown-haired Hannah-Jones says she loves America, her project makes readers hate the country’s history. How could one love a nation that was so racist toward the most noble people to ever walk the earth? It completely separates the values and deeds of America and places them with people who played no integral role in our country’s founding. America becomes a nation exclusively for non-whites to redeem.

This is horrifying to boomer historians. The founders may have said some politically incorrect things about race, but they cared about freedom! Their ideas were good and we should honor them as the forerunners of modern liberalism. They would impeach Drumpf, welcome refugees, and march with Martin Luther King as a brother if they were alive today.

This whitewashing of American history is both wrong and silly, but it is appealing to wide swaths of white America. This is the history education most Americans received after the 1960s, and old ways die hard. Many Americans still think racism is the worst thing in the world, and they can’t accept the Founding Fathers as white supremacists.

But this side is losing in academia and journalism. Professor Oakes says he feels besieged by campus “identitarians” due to his avoidance of identity politics and that graduate students gravitate toward the fields that encourage minority narcissism.

On one hand, it’s good that the liberal view of American history is on its last legs. This historiography has inspired every bad meme in our country’s recent history. It obscures an identitarian view of our country and imagines the whole world can become America with the right constitution. The 1619 Project is the just desserts for this historiography, the monster liberals created with their talk of a multiracial America and the virtues of “anti-racism.” Now whitey is not allowed to join the new America and teach its history.

At the same time, it’s terrible that the 1619 Project will likely become the basis for American history curriculum. Millions of young Americans will only learn whites are evil and non-whites are the epitome of virtue. They will learn whites made America terrible while blacks made it great.

The upside is that this potentially opens the way for the identitarian view of history. More Americans will read the Founders’ views on race and how they intended the nation to be for whites. Many of them will ask “what’s wrong with that?,” the question at the heart of identitarian historiography. There are similarities between the leftist view and the identitarian view. What differentiates them is the hatred for whites and the exaggerated importance of non-whites in the leftist view.

Identitarian historiography would shift the focus from American ideals to the achievements and struggles of the American people. Our nation is great due to its founding stock and those Europeans who assimilated to it, not to words on a piece of paper. “All men are created equal” is not the core of our country–it’s the historic American nation. The Founding Fathers were ethno-nationalists and racial egalitarianism repulsed them.

This is the true vision of America and it must be championed against the unbearable ethnic narcissism of the 1619 Project and the decrepit historiography of Boomer liberals.

 

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17 Comments

  1. D.M.
    Posted January 28, 2020 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    One had might as well argue that mules were the real founding fathers. The Left truly has no brakes. Maybe these two flawed visions of American history will snuff each other out, or give rise to a Jared Taylor-style “what the founders really thought about race” synthesis; that is, a true account.

  2. Corday
    Posted January 28, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    I worked in a college history department and knew people who were consulted on the curriculum (most had prominent noses).

    For them, the usefulness of the Boomer narratives are at an end. The goal of that curriculum was to instill white guilt by emphasizing “evil” whites massacring Indians, serving in the Confederacy, lynching and throwing bombs with the Ku Klux Klan, and of course starting the Shoah abroad. But because it was pushed on a majority white nation and many shabbos whites were involved in its creation, it also emphasized the existence of “good” whites who had no racial consciousness at all. Even then, their goodness was always mitigated (“He wrote all men were created equal, but he owned slaves!”), as if to remind the white student that you can never be truly virtuous, you can only have the right ideas.

    Now that the majority of children in the US are non-white, it is better just to dispense with the “good whites” and push overt resentment. “We wuz foundaz” types are useful for this and have to be humored because of the state has endowed them with enormous litigious power, but no one outside of their own racial cohort is able to take them seriously. I think even the average “Latinx” is going to ruffle his brow at the suggestion that his functionally illiterate classmate is descended from the true founders.

    It falls to us to say “Yes, whites fought the Revolution for white interests. Yes, they wanted this to be an only white nation. Yes, most soldiers and leaders in both Union and Confederacy thought they were fighting for white interests. So why are the results so different from what most everyone wanted? If they were really in power, why did they not get any of their goals in the long run? Who altered the nation’s course?”

  3. Antidote
    Posted January 28, 2020 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I can’t wait for the memes. The Daily Stormer will have a lot of fun with this. Leutze’s ‘Washington Crossing the Delaware will have The Merchant’s head photoshopped on Washington’s, and the rowboat will be full of war bonnet Injuns, opium den chinks, and of course, Ubangi-lipped africanoids. Similar treatment to Trumbull’s ‘Continental Congress’.

  4. HamburgerToday
    Posted January 28, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Once non-White identity and anti-White-ism becomes the Establishment View, rebellious counter-cultural response to the charge of the Racist Founding is going to be ‘Racism is cool’.

    Everything these race hustlers and grievance pimps have ever said is ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ or ‘not who we are’ is going to become sexier and more desirable than ever before.

    By making milquetoast Liberalism boring as hell, these clowns almost guarantee the rejection of ‘equality’ and ‘liberty’.

  5. Digital Samizdat
    Posted January 28, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Excellent review!

    “How Segregation Caused Your Traffic Jam”

    What’s funny here is that this statement is quite nearly the opposite of the truth. It was mosstly desegregation that caused your traffic jam. I assume they are referring to the so-called ‘white flight’ to the suburbs in the post-war era. If so, that was caused largely by the breakdown of segregation in America–both the de jure variety that once existed in the South, as well as the de facto variety that that was propped up by gentlemen’s agreements among landlords in the urban North. Once those all came to an end and the crime rate surged out of control, white flight really kicked into high gear.

    The black writer correctly notes the Founders did not want America to be a multiracial democracy and blacks were not part of their body politic.

    Actually, most the of the founders weren’t really interested in any kind of democracy at all. What they actually founded was a republic, not a democracy. The latter concept they normally associated with demagoguery, mob-rule and the “voice of the grog”. I doubt that historical fact will be of much consolation to the Blacks, but there it is.

    This whitewashing of American history is both wrong and silly, but it is appealing to wide swaths of white America. This is the history education most Americans received after the 1960s, and old ways die hard. Many Americans still think racism is the worst thing in the world, and they can’t accept the Founding Fathers as white supremacists.

    Thank you for that. This statement represents how I was raised, too, and I really can’t believe I spent so much of my life–well into my 40s, in fact–believing (or trying to believe) such an absurd and pointless lie. I feel so much better now that I’m a White nationalist. While I may have to conceal my true feelings from most others, at least I don’t have to lie to myself anymore. Becoming a White nationalist has liberated me spiritually!

  6. Sutter
    Posted January 28, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    “The race realism of the founders can’t be separated from the nation they created. To the Dissident Right, this is a noble legacy that must be defended; to the supporters of the 1619 Project, it’s a terrible blot that must be recognized and eradicated.”

    Race-realism is a massive understatement. The founders of the USA were actual White Supremacists. Is this something you are proud of?

    This is a big roadblock for any pro-white movement. The messaging against White Supremacy is not always so clear, and every once in a while, you get a Richard Spencer whose mask slips.

    • karsten
      Posted January 28, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Race-realism is a massive understatement. The founders of the USA were actual White Supremacists. Is this something you are proud of?

      Well, yes. Of course. Why in the world not?

      I am being completely serious. If we strip off our brainwashing and evaluate the matter objectively and practically, rather than through subjective morality (because all morality is merely subjective in a post-deity world), then it is indisputable that whites have created the greatest civilizations in history, and that therefore any sane white person should prefer to foster a white society. This isn’t even open to question.

      This is a big roadblock for any pro-white movement.

      With whom? With the morally brainwashed? I’ve found that those individuals are often beyond help. But to anyone who is sensible, and open to objective observation and logical arguments, it should actually be beneficial.

    • DP84
      Posted January 28, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      @Sutter:

      The founders of the USA were actual White Supremacists. Is this something you are proud of?

      It’s something we are not afraid of, especially since it justifies our own narrative of American history, which is this: When the Founding Fathers – George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, ALL of them – created the United States, they did it with the intention that its population would always be racially homogeneous, or, failing that, would always be controlled by the White Race. The USA was a country of Whites, by Whites, and for Whites. “Multiracial democracy” was not a thing anyone strived for until the 1960s, as noted by more blunt leftist writers like Adam Sewer of The Atlantic.

      Because the USA was built by us for us, that means we and we alone have moral claim to it. The only way Blacks or any other race has moral right to it is through the claim, premised on Nietzsche’s Slave Morality, that “the oppressed have the moral right to get revenge on the oppressors and lord it over them.” That’s what you leftists are banking your legitimacy on, that you can whip up enough anger and hatred within the hearts of colored people directed at White people, as well as enough guilt and self-loathing among Whites, in order to spark a revolution which will destroy the White social order and replace it with the false promise of an egalitarian paradise that, in reality, will result in everyone – Whites and Colored People alike – being miserable and destitute. You sell us dreams but give us nightmares that, measured in death tolls, dwarfs the worst crimes that the Nazis are accused of: 6 million in the concentration camps vs 60 million in the gulags and rice fields in Russia, China, Camobia, etc, etc. etc. Bolshevism, which is the endgame of your filthy leftist ideology, is literally 10 times as deadly as Nazism.

      We’ll take our odds.

      • Alexandra O
        Posted February 7, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

        Bravo! One of the best answers to “1619”, especially in presenting the ’60 Million vs. 6 Million’ argument, which had occurred to me while pursuing Russian History studies in college. Solzhenitsen places the figure at 100 million, but what would he know — he was stuck in the gulags for years instead of enjoying the glories of the Communist state.

  7. Posted January 29, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    My penchant here is not to overanalyze the 1619 Project, because I know the 1619 Project is really the 2020 Project. Namely, the GOTBV in 2020 Project.

    Meaning the 1619 Project gets put into File 13 come November 4.

  8. Old Hickory
    Posted January 30, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    “Race-realism is a massive understatement. The founders of the USA were actual White Supremacists. Is this something you are proud of?”

    Yes.

    Especially as opposed to White Submission.

  9. Randy
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Well there’s nothing good about any of this. These others are going to attempt to slaughter future whites once I they get the chance. One funny thing, the Jews are not going to be able to wiggle out from under being grouped as white.

    • Jeff Jenkins
      Posted February 5, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      What’s demented is that a Marxist website is the only paper that carried this story. The Left has so degenerated, that it has no semblance to anything that came before it.
      For those that say Marxism is a Jewish conspiracy, I disagree. Jews had to liberate themselves from the tribe to fight for a classless, race less society. WSWS is a great website, with many Jews working at it. The New York Times Jews are like a caricature from the Protocols of Zion.

      • Randy
        Posted February 5, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        I think the accusation that Marxism is secularized Judaism is accurate to a large degree, especially variants like Trotskyism. Jewish neocons originated as Trotskyites. International Marxism is a vehicle for Jews to enlist and control non Jewish power structures, similar to freemasonry, back in its day. It is a model that allows for the destruction of traditional societies. It’s a wrecking ball, a deliverer of chaos. Talmudism is Satanism, so far as I am concerned, because it turns values upside down with the object of turning humanity into a slave class, as Yahweh (Satan?) promises. Classless and raceless societies are an impossibility anyway. Nothing like having an impossible ideal to really get the massacres in motion.

        • Alexandra O
          Posted February 7, 2020 at 5:50 am | Permalink

          ” . . . the destruction of traditional societies . . . a wrecking ball, a deliverer of chaos.’

          A brilliantly written short assessment of Marxism, which ought to be read by our young college-students, and our Bernie worshippers, who think Marxism is such a marvelous solution for all our problems.

          • Randy
            Posted February 7, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

            A nice comment. Thank you,

    • Bbh
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      This must have come from an oligarch in nyc. Buffalo administration is a bunch of polish boomers holding on to the fading brass ring of a once great city. This hebrew weaponizatiin of history doesn’t fly here. The urban school kids are mostly refugees now.

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