“That Conversation about Race” category archive
Esther Cepeda marvels at the Trump administration’s institutionalization of cruelty.
At The American Scholar, Elizabeth D. Samet takes a deep look at the history and meaning of the South’s Confederate monuments and the recent raising of a monument to Ulysses S. Grant at West Point. An excerpt:
The late-19th-century national reconciliation movement—of which Grant’s own coffin, accompanied by two federal and two Confederate pallbearers, proved a potent symbol—continues to shape the way many Americans understand the Civil War today. Grant did not share this understanding. Declaring in his Personal Memoirs that slavery was the cause of the war, he also judged that cause “one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse.”
Sam posits that American conservatism has devolved into a mix of greed and racism, then discusses how it intertwines with gunnuttery.
Sam Osherson mediates of the gap between history and reality in the tales (white) Americans tell themselves about American history. Here’s a bit:
If you grew up like me, you likely learned that the US was founded on basic truths having to do with cultural narratives of equality, freedom, and progress. Hard work and persistence leads to success. Merit is rewarded. The American story is one of triumphant progress towards the good.
Yet if you’ve been paying attention lately, there’s been some disturbing news. Professor Jill Lepore’s recent history of the United States, These Truths, for example, is organized around our country’s involvement with slavery from before we were even the United States, a “deep and dark” relationship, in which Jefferson, Madison, and George Washington owned slaves even while they wrote in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” and have an inalienable right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”