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Racism, as manifested by slavery, has been described as America’s Original Sin. But is racism the essence of America, the distinguishing characteristic of our history, our culture, and our national identity?
Some of our presidential candidates suggest that it is. “This country, though we would like to think otherwise,” said Beto O’Rourke, “was founded on racism, has persisted through racism, and is racist today.” Bernie Sanders has said much the same thing.
New - York - Times - Project - Subscription
But the New York Times is taking this further with its 1619 project [subscription required], commemorating the first arrival of 20 African slaves brought to Jamestown on August 20, 1619, 400 years ago. The newspaper is publishing a series of articles that seeks “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.”
It isn’t just replacing 1776, the issuing of the Declaration of Independence, or 1789, the signing of the Constitution, with 1619 as the birth of our nation. The contention is that virtually everything about America–our economy, our political system, our culture, the very food we eat–is tainted by racism. “In the days and weeks to come,” says the New York Times, “we will publish essays demonstrating that nearly everything that has made America exceptional grew out of slavery.”
Exceptionalism - Anyone - Love - Country - Someone
So much for “American exceptionalism”! It’s hard to imagine how anyone who believes this could have any love of this country at all. Or how someone who believes this could run for president. It would be like campaigning for leadership of the Ku Klux Klan. As for Beto O’Rourke, who holds these assumptions, how can he make the case that voters should elect him, a self-confessed descendant of slave owners, instead of the...
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