1619 marks the first year black Africans were sold as slaves in North America when they were brought by ship to the shores of Virginia. Four hundred years later, the New York Times has launched what it calls the 1619 Project, which aims “to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Africans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”
As Bryon York from the Washington Examiner reports, “The basic thrust of the 1619 Project is that everything in American history is explained by slavery and race.” York is correct – from America’s capitalist economic system to the modern American’s diet, each of the essays put forth by the 1619 Project claim that practically every aspect of American life, both past, and present, is built upon racism, slavery, and segregation. The naming of the beginning of black oppression in America as the beginning of America itself also has serious implications.
Most significantly, it suggests not only that racism was present within this country from its founding, but that this country might not have had a founding at all without it. To the Times, racism sits at the very core of what makes America both the country it was throughout history the one it is today. In his article, York also discusses the final cause of the 1619 Project – to link the vile racism of slavery and segregation with the supposed racism of President Donald Trump (and, if the Times were to be honest, the supposed racism of all his supporters).
Unfortunately, the Times has taken what is perhaps the most complex, regrettable, and brutal aspect of our nation’s history and effectively boiled it down to an oversimplified political tool to use against a candidate their left-wing staff doesn’t agree with. The 1619 Project, if correctly executed, could have told the painful truths of America’s past that many people are too afraid to face. Instead, it chose the far easier path – to hide an anti-Trump, anti-conservative agenda underneath the mask of a thoughtful discussion of the darker side our nation’s history. And the Times staff didn’t even do a good job hiding their agenda.
In a recently released interview, executive editor Dean Baquet spoke quite plainly about his intentions for the project: that it would work against Trump’s 2020 campaign. “We built our newsroom to cover one story,” Baquet said, referring to the rumors of collusion between Trump and Russia which the mainstream media have pushed for the past three years. When that didn’t pan out the way the Times wanted it to, the magazine knew it was time to “shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story.” Now, in light of the 1619 Project, we know exactly what that story will be.
Ruth Moreno is a contributor to TheRichValdes.com