“The 1619 Project,” published by the New York Times as a special 100-page edition of its Sunday magazine on August 19, presents and interprets American history entirely through the prism of race and racial conflict. The occasion for this publication is the 400th anniversary of the initial arrival of 20 African slaves at Port Comfort in Virginia, a British colony in North America. On the very next day, the slaves were traded for food.Glad to see that even some leftists see what absurd propaganda the NY Times is peddling. The NY Times will do anything to promote racial antagonisms.
The Project, according to the Times, intends to “reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”
Despite the pretense of establishing the United States’ “true” foundation, the 1619 Project is a politically motivated falsification of history. Its aim is to create a historical narrative that legitimizes the effort of the Democratic Party to construct an electoral coalition based on the prioritizing of personal “identities” — i.e., gender, sexual preference, ethnicity, and, above all, race.
The Times is promoting the Project with an unprecedented and lavishly financed publicity blitz. It is working with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, which has developed a proposed teaching curriculum that will be sent to schools for teachers to use in their classes. Hundreds of thousands of extra copies of the magazine and a special supplement have been printed for free distribution at schools, libraries and museums across the country. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the staff writer and New America Foundation fellow who first pitched the idea for the Project, oversaw its production and authored the introduction, will be sent on a national lecture tour of schools.
The essays featured in the magazine are organized around the central premise that all of American history is rooted in race hatred — specifically, the uncontrollable hatred of “black people” by “white people.” Hannah-Jones writes in the series’ introduction: “Anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country.”
In yet another article, published in the current edition of Foreign Affairs, the neurologist Robert Sapolsky argues that the antagonism between human groups is rooted in biology. Extrapolating from bloody territorial conflicts between chimpanzees, with whom humans “share more than 98 percent of their DNA,” Sapolsky asserts that understanding “the dynamics of human group identity, including the resurgence of nationalism — that potentially most destructive form of in-group bias — requires grasping the biological and cognitive underpinnings that shape them.”I guess that he is trying to say that if racial groups have an innate hatred of each other, then we would be led to policies that separate those groups.
Sapolsky’s simplistic dissolution of history into biology recalls not only the reactionary invocation of “Social Darwinism” to legitimize imperialist conquest by the late nineteen and early twentieth century imperialists, but also the efforts of German geneticists to provide a pseudo-scientific justification for Nazi anti-Semitism and racism.
Dangerous and reactionary ideas are wafting about in bourgeois academic and political circles. No doubt, the authors of the Project 1619 essays would deny that they are predicting race war, let alone justifying fascism. But ideas have a logic; and authors bear responsibility for the political conclusions and consequences of their false and misguided arguments.
The essay goes on to give some interesting historical info, from a leftist perspective.