Read Opinion | I Helped Fact-Check the 1619 Project. The Times Ignored Me. by Leslie M. Harris (POLITICO)
The paper's series on slavery made avoidable mistakes. But the attacks from its critics are much more dangerous.

Beginning in the last quarter of the 20th century, historians like Gary Nash, Ira Berlin and Alfred Young built on the earlier work of Carter G. Woodson, Benjamin Quarles, John Hope Franklin and others, writing histories of the Colonial and Revolutionary eras that included African Americans, slavery and race. A standout from this time is Edmund Morgan’s American Slavery, American Freedom, which addresses explicitly how the intertwined histories of Native American, African American and English residents of Virginia are foundational to understanding the ideas of freedom we still struggle with today. 

These could be interesting to read.
Annotated on March 07, 2020 at 09:12PM


Scholars like Annette Gordon-Reed and Woody Holton have given us a deeper understanding of the ways in which leaders like Thomas Jefferson committed to new ideas of freedom even as they continued to be deeply committed to slavery. 

I’ve not seen any research that relates the Renaissance ideas of the Great Chain of Being moving into this new era of supposed freedom. In some sense I’m seeing the richest elite whites trying to maintain their own place in a larger hierarchy rather than stronger beliefs in equality and hard work.
Annotated on March 07, 2020 at 09:22PM

Bookmarked SOUTHERN REGIONAL COUNCIL "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" program files and sound recordings, 1956-1998 (bulk 1983-1998) (findingaids.library.emory.edu)
Program files and sound recordings from the award winning radio documentary, "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?: An Audio History of the Civil Rights Movement in Five Southern Communities and the Music of Those Times," produced by the Southern Regional Council (SRC). The collections consists of interview transcripts, audiovisual materials, scripts, program research files, and production files.
Listened to S4 E1: Rich Man’s Revolt by John Biewen and Chenjerai Kumanyika from Scene on Radio

In the American Revolution, the men who revolted were among the wealthiest and most comfortable people in the colonies. What kind of revolution was it, anyway? Was it about a desire to establish democracy—or something else?

Expansive view of a colonial era plantation

By producer/host John Biewen with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with Davy Arch, Barbara Duncan, Rob Shenk, and Woody Holton. Edited by Loretta Williams.

Music by Algiers, John Erik Kaada, Eric Neveux, and Lucas Biewen. Music consulting and production help from Joe Augustine of Narrative Music.

[Download a transcript of the episode. (.pdf)]

I had started a conversation this morning with my friend Will and I feel eerily like this episode was listening in on us and carried out many of our thoughts.

I love the subtleties that are brought up in the additional details about our shared history that aren’t as commonly known or discussed in the mythologized version of the founding of our country.

It was referenced briefly in the episode, but if you haven’t read/heard the Frederick Douglass speech What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July? I recommend you remedy the oversight quickly. There are several versions read by James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, and others readily available on the web.

Listened to Tribalism, Anger and the State of Our Politics from On the Media | WNYC Studios

An extended conversation with Lilliana Mason about tribalism, anger and the state of our politics.

If solidarity and the recognition of mutual self-interest are the keys to moving past our fractious moment, it can be hard to see how we'll get there. Anger and tribalism appear to be at an all-time high, creating political and societal rifts that seem unbridgeable. Indeed, it is hard to believe that only 70 years ago, the country was deemed by political scientists to be not polarized enough. In 1950, the American Political Science Association put out a report that suggested that the parties were not distinct enough and that it was making people's political decision making too difficult.

Over the next few decades, they became distinct alright. Lilliana Mason is a political psychologist at the University of Maryland. When we spoke to her last fall, she told us that most people think they know exactly what each party stands for — leaving us with two camps that both seek to destroy the other. 

Listened to Curiouser and Curiouser from On the Media | WNYC Studios

A close-up on John Solomon's role in the impeachment saga, and the black nationalist origins of Justice Clarence Thomas.

President Trump’s concerns about corruption in Ukraine began, in part, with a series of articles in a publication called The Hill. On this week’s On the Media, a close-up on the columnist whose dubious tales may lead to an impeachment. Plus, the black nationalist origins of Justice Clarence Thomas’s legal thinking.

1. Paul Farhi [@farhip], Washington Post media reporter, and Mike Spies [@mikespiesnyc], ProPublica reporter, on John Solomon's role in the impeachment saga. Listen

2. Corey Robin [@CoreyRobin], writer and political scientist at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center, on all that we've missed (or ignored) about Justice Clarence Thomas. Listen

This is a fascinating thesis about Justice Clarence Thomas and who he really is. I totally want to read The Enigma of Clarence Thomas now.
Liked a tweet by Kevin M. KruseKevin M. Kruse (Twitter)
Read a thread by Mike CaulfieldMike Caulfield (Twitter)

👓 Leaked Emails Show Stephen Miller’s Unfiltered Anti-Immigrant Views | Mother Jones

Read Leaked Emails Show Stephen Miller’s Unfiltered Anti-Immigrant Views by Noah LanardNoah Lanard (Mother Jones)

Miller promoted white nationalists, cited a racist novel, and praised a eugenicist president.

In private emails in 2015 and 2016, President Donald Trump’s top immigration adviser touted a vilely racist novel that warns of a migrant invasion, promoted the ideas of white nationalist publications, and raged at retailers who stopped selling Confederate flags in the wake of the massacre of black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina.

On Tuesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center published excerpts of emails Stephen Miller, the architect of Trump’s assaults on immigrants, sent to the right-wing outlet Breitbart. Miller’s embrace of ideas and language used by the “white replacement” conspiracy theorists who populate alt-right forums has long been known. But the unusual thing about the emails, which were provided to the SPLC by a disaffected former Breitbart editor, Katie McHugh, is that they come from a time when Miller was willing to put his ideas in writing. These days, well aware that he’s a target for Trump’s critics, he’s careful to avoid a paper trail by sticking to phone calls.

Read a thread on Twitter by N. K. JemisinN. K. Jemisin (Twitter)
A post-#DemDebate2 thought: I too was a beneficiary of bussing. Except now I understand how damaging that framing is. Really, bussing allowed white schools to benefit from *me,* all for the low price of student budget dollars they were wasting anyway.
My mom was like most black parents then -- doing the best she could. The private schools in town cost the earth. The black-neighborhood schools had 12+ yo textbooks, no AP, underfunded everything, tired teachers. White public schools were a good middle ground. But.
I struggled for years with poor self esteem because I had somehow absorbed the idea that black =/= smart, and that I should be grateful to sit by white kids. That my school was doing me a favor by making me get up predawn to ride a bus for an hour. I had that Joe Biden thinking.
But in retrospect, I made those schools look good as hell. Won academic awards left & right, mostly bc I loved to read and that was half my education right there. The much-vaunted AP classes were a joke; I mostly did self-study and busted 4s and 5s on the exams.
There were dozens of black kids like me in those white schools. Probably more. But I don't know, bc we were parceled out so there would be only a few of us in each class. Enough to look good, diversity-wise. Not enough to support each other, or make the white ppl uncomfy.
My most vivid memories of high school aren't social, but pathological. I remember being on prom committee and fighting to get *any* black music played; the principal still banned rap. I remember the school pulling shenanigans to bump a black valedictorian to 2nd place.
Battles like that every day, every step of the way. We did well, and everyone expressed surprise, and told us it was because we'd been "given" an opportunity to share space w/white kids - not that we'd earned it. If we struggled, though, of course it was because we were black.
On balance, they got bragging rights. Scholarships! Ivy League acceptances! *I* got an early introduction to how racism covers for white mediocrity and ego, and probably a couple of extra years of therapy. Also maybe an early start on a few novels. Was so bored I wrote in class.
So I'm like most black Americans of my gen in having mixed feelings about integration. Structural racism worked as hard to erase whatever we gained as our parents had worked to give us those gains. And a big part of the struggle was people like Biden. "Not racist" racists.
The equivocators, the pleasant moderates, so happy to appease blatant racists at our expense. Sure, integration, but not if it forces white kids to sit alongside inferior black kids. (We're always inferior.) Sure, "states rights"! Sure "school choice" (to reinstate segregation)!
White liberals who would be appalled to be called racist... but who believed, same as white conservatives, that we really *weren't* as good or smart as them. But at least they were willing to do us a favor -- a limited one, dependent on their generosity and continued primacy.
Not going anywhere in particular w/this. I'm not a Harris supporter. She did say a thing that needed saying, tho -- a thing that moderate white Dems really need to think about when they wonder why we don't trust them. We *remember.* We see you. That's why.
You are as much to blame for where we are as a country right now as Trump & his ilk -- because you won't push back. You have principles but won't stick to them. You're weak and cowardly when lives are on the line, but you tell yourself you're being smart and diplomatic.
We need strength and courage right now. We need conviction, and obstinacy, and anger. If you won't fight, what fucking good are you? Looking deadass at Nancy Pelosi right now.
::sigh:: My pressure's probably up, and I'm harshing my own post-vacation mellow. Rant over. Toodles.
hat tip:

👓 How Facebook and Twitter Help Amplify Fringe Websites | Anti-Defamation League

Read How Facebook and Twitter Help Amplify Fringe Websites (Anti-Defamation League)
Extremists are leveraging Facebook and Twitter to ensure that the hateful philosophies that begin to germinate on message boards like Gab and 8chan find a new and much larger audience.
I’ll note here that I’ve noticed that sites like Gab have been working at transitioning into projects like Mastodon as a means of getting around roadblocks related to getting their mobile apps into marketplaces like the Apple and Google app stores.

We need far more tools to help individuals to control the crap that they see on the internet.

👓 Gab Will Become a Mastodon Fork | Michael Tsai

Read Gab Will Become a Mastodon Fork by Michael Tsai (mjtsai.com)
App Review’s previous stated rationale for rejecting the Gab app was that the service didn’t do a good enough job of moderating the user-generated content. Gab claimed that they try their best to do this but that Apple’s requirements are impossible to meet. Clearly, Twitter and other social networks don’t always meet them, either. But Twitter is too-big-to-reject, and Gab has a reputation for offensive content, attracting a community of users that were banned or had their posts deleted from Twitter.
Interesting end-around app stores…

🎧 Sheila Nevins on Age, Sex, Love, Life, and Everything Else | Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda

Listened to Sheila Nevins on Age, Sex, Love, Life, and Everything Else by Alan Alda from Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda

Sheila Nevins has explored the human condition in the thousand or so documentaries she produced for HBO. From more than 30 years of telling us stories about ourselves, to her experience as a woman in the workplace, Sheila has plenty to say about communicating. And she never holds back. In this delightful episode, Alan Alda talks with Sheila about her life, how she feels about aging, the movement, sex, divorce, documentaries, storytelling, and just about everything else! This episode is sponsored by Calm. Check out www.calm.com/alda for more details.

I always forget that Sheila is as old as she is. She does have a great sense of humor.

She makes an interesting point about humility that people with power (and especially within the entertainment industry) should be aware of and work to improve.

Most shocking was the story she tells about her me too moment and how she viewed it. Definitely a perspective I wouldn’t have expected.

Her perspective about looking at individuals as a way into human problems and making documentaries is similar to a philosophy I remember hearing from Masha Gessen in an interview that Jeffrey Goldberg did with her. The upshot is that, especially for righting wrongs and general atrocities, focusing a story on a particular individual has a lot more power than focusing on the nameless and faceless masses. Sheila’s example of the Holocaust survivor is a particular apt one. (As I think about it Masha would be a great interview for this podcast.)

In fact, I recently watched an immigration related documentary on Frontline and while I didn’t personally find the lead woman very relate-able or sympathetic, I was still pissed off at the process because her individual story was still so powerful.

This general ideal also reminds me of the gut-punch scene at the end of the film A Time To Kill (1996) [spoiler alert] which ends with the command to the jury “Now imagine she’s white.”