Opinion: Tom Cotton’s 1619 Project Legislation Highlights Ignorance Of Political Economy and History

Tom Cotton spreads Coronavirus conspiracy on Fox

As is now widely known, the Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton recently proposed legislation that would deny federal funding to schools that in any way used the The New York Times controversial 1619 project in its curriculum.  This series in The New York Times, of course, explores the history of the United States through the lens of slavery, premised on the fact that accounts of slavery have not been expansively, roundly, and fully incorporated into accounts of U.S. history, particularly in its earliest stages. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the project’s creator, has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her commentary on the series, and the Pulitzer Center and The New York Times have since collaborated to create a curriculum based on the project which schools can now adopt. read more

Kanye West Claims Harriet Tubman Didn’t “Free the Slaves” as He Launches Presidential Campaign

Kanye West criticized Harriet Tubman during the first event of his presidential campaign on Sunday. The rapper took aim at the 19th century anti-slavery campaigner for unknown reasons.

West spoke at a campaign rally in South Carolina and claimed Tubman “never actually freed the slaves. She just had the slaves go work for other white people.”

Tubman was a major abolitionist who escaped slavery herself and helped others escape through her work with the Underground Railroad. West’s criticism seemed inexplicable to many.

He went on to discuss abortion and claimed that he and his wife, Kim Kardashian, had considered terminating their first child, North West.

“We’re going to have this baby,” West said. He was crying throughout this discussion and claimed a message from God had dissuaded them from having the abortion.

“So even if my wife were to divorce me after this speech, she brought North into the world, even when I didn’t want to,” he said.

“She stood up, and she protected that child.”

West talked about how his own mother had considered an abortion.

“My dad wanted to abort me. My mom saved my life. There would have been no Kanye West, because my dad was too busy,” he said.

“I almost killed my daughter,” the rapper sobbed.

West explained that as president he would keep abortion legal but proposed a method to decrease the likelihood of abortion.

“The maximum increase would be everybody that has a baby gets a million dollars or something in that range,” West said.

“If you had opportunity to be given a million dollars, just for being pregnant, would you have considered it? And then everybody would start having children, the greatest gift of life.”

West has an uphill battle if he wants to get on any ballots for November’s presidential election.

Follow Darragh Roche on Twitter

Trump Tells African Americans Protesting Confederate Statues To Learn History

Donald Trump thinks African Americans should learn U.S. history rather than campaign for the removal of Confederate monuments. The President has been vocal in his defense of statues depicting racist leaders.

Trump spoke to Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade for a special on Sunday. Kilmeade asked the President about the controversial monuments to the Confederate leaders and other slaveholders.

“You have to understand history, and you have to understand the culture,” Trump said.

“We have to remember the heritage and the culture of our country.”

“Here is the other problem that I have — a lot of these people don’t even know what they are taking down,” Trump said.

“I see what’s happening on television, and they are ripping down things they have no idea what they are ripping down, but they started off with the Confederates and now go to Ulysses Grant so what is that all about?”

Kilmeade then asked Trump specifically what message he had for African Americans who opposed monuments to people who enslaved their ancestors.

“My message is that we have a great country, we have the greatest country on Earth. We have a heritage, we have a history and we should learn from the history, and if you don’t understand your history, you will go back to it again.,” Trump said in a long and rambling answer.

“You will go right back to it. You have to learn. Think of it, you take away that whole era and you’re going to go back to it sometime. People won’t know about it. They’re going to forget about it. It’s okay.”

“But you don’t want to take away our heritage and history and the beauty, in many cases, the beauty, the artistic beauty,” he added, elaborating on this theme.

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Opinion: Lindsey Graham Exemplifies Racist Incoherence Complaining About Monument Removal

Many Americans have been compelled by the recent mass protests to seek a fuller understanding of United States history and particularly the African American experience in that history, up to and including ongoing racism, discrimination, and violence against people of color. Black bookstores in particular are being flooded with orders for literary works that portray African American experiences, historical studies that chronicle U.S. history from an African American experience, and books that offer sociological analyses of race and racism in the U.S.  Even Amazon Prime created a category featuring films and television shows about African American life, culture, and history. read more

Bill O’Reilly Thinks Slavery is Okay if You Feed and House Them

Denial of reality is alive and well in Republican ranks. We have already seen how right-wing talking heads exploded at Michelle Obama’s words about the White House being built by slaves:

“That is the story of this country. The story that has brought me to the stage tonight. The story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, who kept on striving, and hoping, and doing what needed to be done. So that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters — two beautiful intelligent black young women — play with the dog on the White House lawn.”

Bill O’Reilly said on The O’Reilly Factor Tuesday that Michelle Obama’s remarks about slaves building the white house were “positive,” but he couldn’t help but pull the old “slavery wasn’t so bad” thing, excusing slavery by saying the slaves were “well fed” and had “decent lodgings.”

Yeah. I’m sure they were all saying “Yippee!”

Watch courtesy of Media Matters for America:

Finally tonight, Factor Tip of The Day. As we mentioned, Talking Points Memo, Michelle Obama referenced slaves building the White House in referring to the evolution of America in a positive way. It was a positive comment. The history behind her remark is fascinating. George Washington selected the site in 1791, and as president laid the cornerstone in 1792. Washington was then running the country out of Philadelphia.
 
Slaves did participate in the construction of the White House. Records show about 400 payments made to slave masters between 1795 and 1801. In addition, free blacks, whites, and immigrants also worked on the massive building. There were no illegal immigrants at that time. If you could make it here, you could stay here.
 
In 1800, President John Adams took up residence in what was then called the Executive Mansion. It was only later on they named it the White House. But Adams was in there with Abigail, and they were still hammering nails, the construction was still going on.
 
Slaves that worked there were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802. However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labor. So, Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working as well. Got it all? There will be a quiz.
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