The 1619 Project

If anyone is still confused about Black Lives Matter – what it means, why it’s important, why “all lives matter” totally misses the point – they need to think a little deeper.

Ok, so I needed to think a little deeper. The light bulb was screwed in, the lamp was plugged in, the circuit was live, but I still needed to flip the “ah ha” switch. Or have it flipped for me. To see the light. That’s what the 1619 Project did for me.

The 1619 Project is a long-form journalism endeavor developed by Nikole Hannah-Jones, writers from The New York Times, and The New York Times Magazine which “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the United States’ national narrative.”

The legacy of slavery and white privilege defined this country from the start. To defend our way of life, to wrap ourselves in the flag, to turn a blind eye to social inequities, to justify any of this by pointing to the lofty principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights is a joke. A very bad, profoundly consequential, horrible joke. Even as the “founding fathers” were declaring that that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” they owned black slaves.

You could say the foundations of this nation reflect the absolute height of moral hypocrisy.

Some progress lately around the confederate flag and monuments, police profiling and brutality, growing awareness about the causes of poverty, violence, and astounding incarceration rates in this county. Symptoms of a sick society. Change is inevitable, but there is so much resistance! Fear and shame.

We’re not to blame for the past. But we are (all) responsible for the future. We need to accept and learn from history to make things right.

So says the privileged old white guy. What do I know? What have I suffered? Not so much, but I can learn from those who have. And that’s why black lives matter to me, and to all of us.

Online sources for info on the 1619 Project include The New York Times Magazine and Wikipedia.

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