New York Times '1619 Project' Is Revisionist History
The Times says that slaves arriving in 1619 is the date of our "true founding," not 1776.
These days it’s hard to find any mention of Donald Trump and Russia in The New York Times. Of course, after the train wreck of Robert Mueller’s testimony, it’s no wonder they dropped that hot potato. But don’t underestimate the leftist zealots at the Times, nor their creativity in trying to ensure that a “racist” Trump doesn’t win a second term.
Or, as the paper’s executive director, Dean Baquet, said to his staff in a leaked transcript: “Now we have to regroup … and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story.”
The intrepid journalists’ latest plan seems to be, If you can’t get rid of the president, then rip apart the very foundation of the nation that he leads. Hence “The 1619 Project,” launched on the 400th anniversary of the first African slaves to land on our shores. (For what it’s worth, the Times is wrong about the basic fact of 1619; African slaves were brought here a century earlier by the Spanish, who also enslaved Native Americans. And Native Americans enslaved each other long before “the white man” arrived. But the Times wished to attribute this evil to Anglo Americans.) The Times pushes the idea that 1619 is the date of our “true founding,” not 1776.
“This country was founded on ideals that were’t true at the time," insists Nikole Hannah-Jones, one of the journalist hacks heading the project. Of making hay over pointing that out, Hannah Jones asks, "What could be more patriotic than that?”
We could think of a few things…
Assuming that The 1619 Project and its associated school curriculum is merely an innocent — much less “patriotic” — program designed to teach us about the evils of slavery and America’s connection to the institution would be a dangerous assumption.
As Byron York writes at The Washington Examiner, “The goal of The 1619 Project is to reframe American history. The basic thrust of the 1619 Project is that everything in American history is explained by slavery and race. The message is woven throughout the first publication of the project, an entire edition of the Times magazine.”
According to the project, every single aspect of American society is tainted by slavery and racism: our institutions, capitalism, politics, prisons, food habits, sports, highways, education, and (if you can believe it) traffic patterns. You name it, and it’s illegitimate. The Times plans to spread these ideas through every section of its paper leading up to the 2020 presidential election and to push for schools across the country to (further) change the way American history is taught.
York adds, “The Times has two big plans. One would be big enough: to focus on the universe of racism accusations that increasingly surround the president at a time when he just happens to be running for reelection. But the other is even bigger: to ‘reframe’ American history in accordance with the values of Times editors.”
It’s the paper’s hope that by framing everything about America in racial terms, and portraying President Trump as a racist, they’ll get rid of Trump and the country in one fell swoop by electing a socialist in 2020 and finishing Barack Obama’s dream of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”
Claiming that our nation was founded on slavery is leftist revisionism of the worst sort. America was founded on the ideals within the Declaration of Independence, a document that freed current and future generations from oppression and slavery. Failing to live up to those ideals at times is simply a product of the human condition.
Inspired by the Declaration, states began abolishing slavery in the early years of the republic, not to mention the fact that the Founders set in a place mechanisms that would lead to the Slave Trade Act of 1794 and the 1818 Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves, supported by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson may have been inconsistent on the issue of slavery, but he makes it clear in his writings and speeches that slavery had to go. And every single freedom and equality movement since 1776 has been ignited by the tenets set down in the Declaration.
Clearly, the Founding Fathers (even those who were conflicted over the issue) knew that slavery was inconsistent with a nation founded upon God-given rights such as equality and Liberty. And don’t doubt for a second that the phrase “all men are created equal” opened up the floodgates of human freedom.
Slavery is a human evil, not a uniquely American one. Our nation is certainly not innocent of its connection to slavery, but to teach the next generation that every part of American society is irredeemably stained by it would radically and permanently alter our very civilization. Unfortunately, millions of American schoolchildren are already taught that our nation alone is responsible for slavery. They’d be shocked to learn that Africans didn’t come to our shores from societies that were free and prosperous, but were instead sold into slavery by their own brothers. Indeed, slavery still hasn’t been entirely eradicated from the African continent.
Or, as Erick Erickson writes, “The 1619 Project … seeks to divide, not heal. It seeks to give power and primacy to those who think the nation’s founding was premised on evil and demands that those who disagree be silent.”
Erickson offers a foreboding conclusion, suggesting, “If the nation is founded on slavery and slavery is woven into the very fabric of our society, then our society is illegitimate. The only way to overcome it is to overturn it. That would take revolution. This is the path The New York Times goes down. Once it lights this fire, it will not be able to control it. But it wants to strike the match anyway.”
Sadly, that match has already been struck, but how will we respond? Each generation must fight for our nation’s founding principles, but the mass of misinformation being propagated today will pose a daunting challenge for our children and their children.
And the Times is just fine with that.