In response to Greg Olear: June 19th
By denying black history in its gruesome detail, we deny ourselves our own amazing history. Thus, the history of the United States becomes a history of denial. But we have no choice. To go back and explain the reality of our history as intertwined with African and Native American history is to question the nature and quality of white American rule over this land. Why else would the African American Presidency of a man named Hussein elicit such an overreaction as a man named Trump? Ta-Nehisi Coats spells it out here.
Mitch McConnell and the final inning of the GOP are not behaving irrationally during this baseball-less summer. They know precisely what is at stake. This is their last stand.
If we tell the truth about our own history, we undermine every single piece of foundational propaganda and political fabrication that defined the previous century in America. That might be cathartic. It will certainly free this nation from the bond of guilt and allow it to emerge like South Africa from Apartheid, bruised and battered, but still free and still democratic. For much of our history, the differences between the American south and South Africa were merely cosmetic.
We don’t examine and live inside the richest aspects of our cultural history, our heritage, because we’d have to sanitize it into FUBAR. We don’t celebrate Jazz, the ONLY American artform that was born here and nowhere else. Why? The rest of the world does. Our musicians were royalty in Europe. Here, they were oddities at best, and not the icons they actually were.
We have to confront then embrace this journey of consciousness, but avoid censorship becoming the operational language of this moment; “woke-ing” out over all the things we must not say. America should instead focus on all the things it must say out loud.