I’m currently reading the hardcover book of The 1619 Project, the series of articles published in the New York Times about the history of racism in this land of the free, and how it’s permeated throughout our society. Racism has done this, and we must grapple with it like adults if our nation is to heal and grow. (I acquired my copy from the Free Library of Philadelphia, https://freelibrary.org/.)
Conservatives have long acted like education is not for the training of the mind to think independently, or to expand people’s horizons and learn new things; to them, it’s the dumping of words pre-approved by people in power, telling the students “This is what WE want you to know, and don’t go any further!” They also accuse teachers and professors of “Indoctrinating” students with Marxist, America-hating propaganda, which is an act of projection.
An example of this is in the tail end of the regime of t—p, when he announced the forming of the “1776 Project,” as a response to the 1619 Project. (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/how-trump-administration-s-1776-report-warps-history-racism-slavery-n1254926) This was along with his order to ban diversity training in federal agencies. (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/why-trump-administration-slashing-anti-discrimination-training-n1239903) It as if the entire goal is to say “Let’s not talk about it,” accusing such educational programs of causing division and America-hating. The whole approach of conservatives to dealing with race is to NOT deal with it, unless they want to excite white voters to vote against their interests in favor of corporations and the über-wealthy who don’t care squat about them.
The same idea to repress the 1619 Project also started the move in the Texas state legislature, and signed by Governor Greg Abbot, to pass a bill forming the “1836 Project,” a similar effort to propagate about Texas-exceptionalism, and to hide the long and terrible history of racism in that state. It took its name from the year when the Republic of Texas declared its independence from Mexico. The reality was, in 1821, Stephen Austin asked the Mexican government (which won its independence from Mexico the year before) to be allowed to settle 300 families in this sparsely populated region of the country, along the Brazos River, and the settlers mainly came from the US South and had slaves, and slavery was outlawed in Mexico (https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/texas-declares-independence); the constitution of the Republic of Texas, modeled after the United States constitution, allowed slavery. (https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/alamo-republic/)
Slavery, racism- are THESE terrible things worth glorifying? Or were the authors of the bill seeking to hide it? Either way, prohibiting students from hearing or reading this part of Texas’ past a detriment to people seriously out to learn. I know that, as legend goes, Americans aren’t great students of history, but we have to and CAN disprove that. We have to learn our history, all of it, particularly from the perspectives of African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian and Pacific Islands people, Latinx people, people descended for Eastern European immigrants, and women-the voices of those who have traditionally not been heard. As George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Do we want to repeat the past of slavery, genocide, repression of workers, warmongering, and contempt for immigrants?
I’m sorry that, due to deadlines, I have to wait until next month’s Missile, to talk about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign nation. But don’t work, I’ll have plenty to say.
On that note, stay safe stay strong, and stay together! Victory to the Ukrainian people! America will be free! Bye!