After weathering some nasty defeats in this month’s election, quite a few Democrats probably want to know who had the bright idea to push Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the first place.
The answer? The publication famous for producing, “all the news fit to print.”
And now The New York Times (NYT) seems more committed than ever to editing history.
While CRT was developed over decades by academics at Columbia Law School, we can thank The New York Times for opening a whole can of worms around race relations a couple of years back with their 1619 Project.
The project (a series of essays and a book) focuses on looking at America’s history as having truly started with—and centered around—the arrival of slaves on the United States shores in 1619.
Dan McLaughlin called out the paper on their renewed efforts to push the 1619 Project recently.
“From the outset, the idea was not simply to broaden our understanding of America’s founding and history, but to replace it.” McLaughlin wrote in a New York Post opinion piece, “That was always wrong. America was not unique because of slavery, which predates recorded history and existed all around the world well after 1776. Greeks, Romans, Aztecs, Mayans, Egyptians, Chinese, Russians, Koreans, Turks, Arabs and many African societies had slaves. The word ‘slave’ derives from ‘Slav.’ In the century after Columbus, more Russian slaves were carried across the Black Sea to the Ottoman Empire than African slaves across the Atlantic.”
In a long piece for NYT Magazine, editor Jake Silverstein justifies the project and CTR while blaming any unpalatable concepts floating around on the, “most fringe writings by adherents of critical race theory.”
But then he goes on to play the “privilege card” to dispute Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ claim that we know exactly why the American colonists revolted against the British Government.
It’s historical record DeSantis said, “They wrote pamphlets, they did committees of correspondence, they did a Declaration of Independence. … I think it’s really important that when we’re doing history, when we’re doing things like civics, that it is grounded in actual fact, and I think we’ve got to have an education system that is preferring fact over narratives.”
Those are apparently fighting words according to Silverstein, and he wrote that, “In privileging ‘actual fact’ over ‘narrative,’ the governor, and many others, seem to proceed from the premise that history is a fixed thing; that somehow, long ago, the nation’s historians identified the relevant set of facts about our past, and it is the job of subsequent generations to simply protect and disseminate them. This conception denies history its own history — the dynamic, contested and frankly pretty thrilling process by which an understanding of the past is formed and reformed.”
No doubt it is thrilling for journalists to no longer be bound by stringing together facts proved by some sort of evidence and enter a fanciful world of speculative story telling.
But there’s already an appropriate place for that: the historical fiction section of your favorite bookstore.
Apparently Silverstein’s white privilege allows him to rewrite history, while we’re supposed to assume the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence were just making up stuff when they signed the document that ultimately led to death or torture for 14 of them.
Culture Watch News will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.