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Guest Opinion

Conservatives show how needed conversations about race are


Views on the lack of importance of the study of nonwhite and or nonconventional populations, in my opinion, started when the New York Times published “The 1619 Project,” stating that “race” has always been a central, driving issue in American life since the first slaves arrived in Jamestown in 1619.

Many conservatives went wild, overtaking school districts, attacking books that mentioned marginalized populations’ role in American history.

While this is not my main focus in this opinion piece, let’s just go over a few things.

I learned, when textbooks were still written by white folks, that Jamestown was on the verge of collapse because the settlers refused to work. They were too busy trying to locate gold. The colony was saved with the appearance of slaves. (Aren’t most of our service workers, who actually keep this country running, still members of alternative ethnicities?)

Then, the formation of the United States was nearly derailed over the question of slavery.

Apparently, the only masters that could exist here, in the land of the free, were slave owners. The British need not apply.

I brush over the 1812 war, partially started by the British fight against slavery on the high seas, or the annexation of Texas from Mexico because Mexico outlawed slavery. But I think we had a little thing called the Civil War, ostentatiously, according to Confederates and conservatives, fought over states rights — yeah, the right to own slaves.

Finally, the long, involved and ongoing fight for America to truly live up to its creed of all men (and women) created equal and treated as such. This included things like amendments, reconstruction, Jim Crow, lynchings, violence, poll taxes, laws and policies designed to keep the “races” separate, desegregation, and subsequent white flight and the ongoing civil rights movement.

Most recently, the calls that elections were stolen in areas run by Democratic (minority populated) cities and current subsequent attempts to disenfranchise people of color.

Correct me if I’m wrong, “unimportant” means that you pay it no mind. For me, how hard some conservatives are attempting to revise history, determinedly pushing the view that teaching about African American and other nonwhite and/or historically nonconventional populations has no value, place or historical importance in America, while at the same time, making “it” the focal point of cultural wars, is proof that “race,” in fact, played and continues to play, a vital role in the formation and shaping of this country. And is of ongoing, everlasting importance in American history.

Deborah White lives in Doylestown.

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