No one has to feel guilty about something they have not personally done, Nikole Hannah-Jones said, but if you can take pride in the Declaration of Independence, you can also feel remorse for past oppression.
November 21, 2021

Hannah-Jones, probably the poster child for the animus against so-called critical race theory being taught in schools, pointed out that the history of race in the U.S. is as much a part of U.S. history as the signing of the Constitution. Yet Black American history is segregated from American history in schools.

MSNBC host Ali Velshi played a clip of a recent college graduate saying that, growing up in Mississippi, she was taught about many different Confederate soldiers and generals as heroes. But during Black history month, she was only taught about Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, over and over, every year, “as if they were the only three Black heroes of the country.”

We are living with the legacy of Black history Hannah-Jones said, whether we acknowledge it or not. By not learning about it, "it actually renders us incapable of grappling with it.”

She continued by noting just how entwined Black and white American history is:

HANNAH-JONES: We teach American history and then we teach Black American history as if these two things are not intertwined. Our founders, the slim majority of them, were enslavers. Our Constitution protected slavery. The men who drafted the Declaration, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were enslavers. That is why they had the power to do that. Our institutions have been shaped by this legacy, and we want to treat it as an asterisk, as an optional history, and it really is central to the American story. …

There is this fear somehow that teaching this history is about somehow making white people feel guilty. No one has to feel guilty for something that they have not personally done. But we do inherit a legacy. And we have to confront that legacy. If you can take pride in the Declaration, if you can take pride in Abraham Lincoln issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, even though you didn’t personally do that, then you can also say that I feel remorse for these things in the past, that we should try to address those things in the past. We have to be able to do both of those things.

This doesn’t seem at all controversial or threatening. But it shows you just how rabid the Tucker Carlsons and Glenn Youngkins have become that they are demanding that this kind of teaching be stamped out.

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