A while back, I wrote a post, Historians destroy the NYT “1619 Project,” but it will still be used in K-12 classrooms.
Sean Wilentz, a history professor at Princeton who was among those who took issue with the New York Times’ revisionist history project, has a long essay in The Atlantic today that gets into the specifics of the NYT’s false claims. It’s a great piece, not only as an effective fisking of the NYT, but for all the details about these events in their own right.
I’m tired of academics rolling over and suggesting that the NYT had “the best of intentions” when they started this project. They absolutely did not. The revisionist nature of the effort is a feature, not a bug.
No sane human being thinks the evils of slavery and Jim Crow need any embellishment to be compelling. So why don’t we talk about what they were really trying to achieve? Why don’t we talk honestly and openly about why the NYT doesn’t care about the factual basis of the narrative they are spinning and how they want it in K-12 schools?
This is not some innocent mistake, but a Stalin-esque effort to change public sentiment through propaganda, aimed mostly at children who do not yet have enough information or experience to discern they are being lied to. It is historically significant that one of the nation’s largest and oldest newspapers is engaged in this sort of behavior. I would submit to you that this sort of thing is not all that different than the white nationalists who wanted to use a recent gun rights rally to start a civil war. These are all people who are trying to create and amplify discord in our society, and their behavior is dangerous.