The New York Times has developed something called “The 1619 Project” that the paper hopes will alter our view of our founding to make the introduction of slavery the real beginning point of American history.
“The 1619 Project” refers to the 400th anniversary of the arrival of black slaves in the U.S. The Times makes no attempt to hide their insidious goals: “It aims 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.”
The Washington Examiner‘s Byron York explains the concise meaning of this: “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. It begins with an overview of race in America — “Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true.” — written by Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, who on Twitter uses the identity Ida Bae Wells, from the crusading late 19th-early 20th century African American journalist Ida B. Wells.
Hannah-Jones has some truly bizarre notions of American history:
The essays go on to cover the economy (“If you want to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start on the plantation.”), the food we eat (“The sugar that saturates the American diet has a barbaric history as the ‘white gold’ that fueled slavery.”), the nation’s physical health (“Why doesn’t the United States have universal healthcare? The answer begins with policies enacted after the Civil War.”), politics (“America holds onto an undemocratic assumption from its founding: that some people deserve more power than others.”), daily life (“What does a traffic jam in Atlanta have to do with segregation? Quite a lot.”), and much more.
The Times promises more 1619 Project stories in the future, not just in the paper’s news sections, but in the business, sports, travel, and other sections. The Times‘ popular podcast, The Daily, will also devote time to it.
This may be the most ambitious left-wing propaganda project in history.
But a project with the aim of reframing U.S. history has to be more than a bunch of articles and podcasts. A major goal of the 1619 Project is to take the reframing message to schools. The Times has joined an organization called the Pulitzer Center (which, it should be noted, is not the organization that hands out the Pulitzer Prize) to create a 1619 Project curriculum. “Here you will find reading guides, activities, and other resources to bring The 1619 Project into your classroom,” the center says in a message to teachers.
A project that seeks to condemn capitalism and view the remarkable achievements of an entire nation through the prism of slavery and race is ignorant. These views represent a complete (deliberate?) misunderstanding of 400 years of American history.
Only if you possess a worldview besotted by race — if you see your entire life experience and the life experience of others through the cracked prism of race — can you hold such outrageously ignorant views of America.
The Times’ “truth” is warped by racialism. And it shows the fallacy of “objective truth” and why the radical left feels justified in cutting off all debate on issues and stifling all views that don’t comport with their own.
Have you seen the new New York Times TV show, The Weekly? The tweet announcing the show is hugely revealing:
Our mission at The New York Times is to seek the truth and help people understand the world. And every day, there are 1,600 of us working to do that, reporting from 160 countries. Now, we’re bringing that pursuit to television with "The Weekly." pic.twitter.com/Do26aacsRN
— The Weekly (@TheWeekly) May 14, 2019
They seek “the truth.” But what “truth”? Whose “truth”? Why is the Times’ “truth” more true than yours or mine?
The “truth” revealed by the Times in their 1619 Project is one, valid truth — from a certain point of view. But the “truth” has many faces. To claim sovereignty over the one “truth” is intellectually arrogant and ignorant.
The historical “truth” about America is found in a collective interpretation of the facts — an agreed-upon narrative, if you will. There is absolutely nothing wrong with reinterpreting those facts in light of new information, or even new perspectives. A slave’s view of America’s founding will be different than yours. The facts of our founding will be reinterpreted to accommodate the life experience, biases, and perspectives of someone held in bondage.
But to present that reinterpretation of the facts as “truth” is hugely dishonest. That’s why this is such a dangerous idea. There are other, equally valid perspectives and interpretations of history that will be ignored in favor of what can only be called “left-wing propaganda.”
The dream of the “New Left” in the 1970s was, like Hitler and Lenin, to capture the minds of impressionable young people and “reframe” history to satisfy their current and future political goals. There is nothing original in what the Times is trying to do. The fate of maintaining America as we know it will depend on how successful they are in achieving their goals.