by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In the absence of traditional public examinations this time of year, as a result of you know what, here’s a little history quiz for you. What year marked the creation of the United States?
Most of you will probably answer 1776, the year of the Declaration of Independence. Credit might also be given if you said 1788, the date of the ratification of the Constitution.
You’d all be wrong. The correct date, apparently, is 1619.
This was the year the first slaves arrived in the British colonies of North America, and if the people who control most of the cultural conversation in America these days get their way, we should all see this as the true moment of the founding of the nation. The point, of course, is that it defines America as a nation built not on the lofty ideals of freedom and self-government laid out in the document written by the Founding Fathers, but as one built on the degradation, dehumanization and persecution of black people.
One whose economy owes its rise to global primacy not to entrepreneurial endeavor but to the efficiencies afforded by slavery. One whose whole history must be judged not in the round, with its injustices and failings set alongside its great contributions to human progress, but as a genocidal exercise whose sins must be expiated by today’s heirs.
The self-abasing historical revisionism received a significant cultural endorsement this week when Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary for an essay asserting exactly this argument. The essay formed the introduction to a lengthy work in the newspaper called The 1619 Project, the whole point of which was to reorder our understanding of American history along these most woke lines.