Slavery has been illegal in the United States for nearly 160 years. And yet, over the past two decades, American businesses and consumers have once again begun to benefit from the horrific practice.
It’s an extremely uncomfortable truth, and for most Americans, it likely comes as a surprise. Until recently, they probably had no idea that the clothes they wear, the phones they cannot put down, and the solar panels on their roofs were made, in part, by slaves. The same cannot be said of the companies that eagerly ship jobs overseas to China and source materials from concentration camps.
Harvard University will allocate $100 million to study and address its history with slavery, according to a Tuesday announcement from the university’s president.
The university released a report from the Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery and announced a $100 million fund to implement the report’s recommendations, according to an announcement from President Larry Bacow. The report listed numerous recommendations including how Harvard “can redress” its “legacies with slavery” through teaching, research and service.
Over half of Americans don’t think schools have a responsibility to teach students about the ongoing impact of slavery and racism, according to according to a poll released Monday by the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State University in partnership with APM Research Lab.
Two-thirds of Republican respondents and almost half of Independents said educators should only teach the history of slavery, according to the “Mood of the Nation” poll. Only one-fifth of Democratic respondents said exclusively the history of slavery should be taught.
Across the political spectrum, Americans are recognizing the importance not just of school choice but of what students actually learn in schools. Elected representatives have finally taken notice as well. In Michigan, the state legislature has proposed two bills that seek to address how American history and civics are taught.
Unfortunately, some want teachers to tell students that they should understand American history primarily by looking for racism, injustice, and oppression. The phrase “critical race theory” (CRT) has been used mainly in academia to describe this filter on history and civic instruction.
Recently, Ibram X. Kendi was chosen as a recipient for the 2021 MacArthur Genius Fellowship. This event has been met with resounding applause on the Left as it is presumed to be both a well-justified instance of reparative justice and a logical continuation of the 1960s Civil Rights movement. In truth, this event constitutes neither of these things.
In recent years, we have seen increasing instances of anti-white rhetoric within America, exemplified in the rise of critical race theory, Black Lives Matter, and the writings of folks like Kendi.
The cover of the August 18, 2019, issue of the New York Times Magazine was adorned with a photograph of a blackish, foreboding ocean captioned by these words: “In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the British colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. America was not yet America, but this was the moment it began. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the 250 years of slavery that followed. On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully.”
What greeted the reader once he turned past an advertisement for a new, highly revisionist Broadway production of To Kill a Mockingbird was a reiteration of the initial message, boldly announced in giant white type. The number 1619 took up two-thirds of the vertical space against a black background. An introduction by New York Times Magazine editor Jake Silverstein appeared beneath the giant “1619” in the same white print, but much smaller: “It is not a year that most Americans know as a notable date in our country’s history. Those who do are at most a tiny fraction of those who can tell you that 1776 is the year of our nation’s birth.”