The notion of “American exceptionalism” necessitates a heroic narrative specifically about the country’s European “pilgrim” colonizers and founders. If they and the white Americans who followed are not uniquely and consistently heroic, the whole narrative falls apart.
That’s why the 1619 Project and @nhannahjones are viewed by traditionalist historians and “white normative objectivity” journalists as so dangerous. The project disrupts the heroic narrative and forces us to confront the villainy and piracy involved in this country’s founding.
With that as a new starting point, we’re forced to question everything that a very whitewashed and sanitized “traditional” history has told us; especially about Black people, who have faced far more violent and long-lasting resistance to equality than we have ever been told.
Many Americans are really invested in these old notions: that sure, slavery was bad but also a blessing! That any ills that befell the formerly enslaved after the civil war had nothing to do with white people (the massacres, looting & lynchings have been conveniently deleted.🥂)
If you get to leap from bloodless and heroic national founding (natives? They welcomed us at Thanksgiving!) and revolution to pristine shift from civil war to perfectly equal society with just a mild hitch that MLK fixed with a nice speech, you never have to rethink your society.
And there are a LOT of people who have zero interest in rethinking. They profit just fine off the present bedtime story. And God forbid anyone, say in Tulsa Oklahoma or Elaine, Arkansas, say “hang on, that’s my stuff you’ve got. Give it back...”

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More from @JoyAnnReid

1 Jun
Biden on the Tulsa massacre: "we do ourselves no favors, pretending that none of this happened. ... We can't just learn what we want to know, but what we should know ... the good, the bad ...everything. That's what great nations do. They come to terms with their dark sides."
More Biden: 'in silence, wounds deepen."
Biden attacking the zero-sum thinking of too many Americans who have held all the power and who believe that "if I hold you down, I lift myself up. If you get a job, I lose my job." No truer words, or more succinct explanation of much of American racial and ethnic history.
Read 7 tweets
31 May
On Memorial Day, we learn that the "Oath Keepers" and disgraced ex-General Michael Flynn, actively desire a military coup in the United States like the one that happened in Myanmar, in order to install Donald Trump as the leader of a white nationalist military junta. Perfect.
Oh, and they and the "proud boys" and various other extremist nuckleheads also may have had the support of at least some Republicans in Congress. And Republicans are trying REALLY HARD to suppress public knowledge of these events or an investigation, though a bunch of cops died.
Republicans REALLY REALLY want us to stop talking about this. They want to bury the 1/6 insurrection like their fellow travelers buried the Tulsa massacre and the one in Elaine, Arkansas and Rosewood and all the others. Welp. Instead, we're gonna talk about it EVERY DAMNED DAY.
Read 8 tweets
31 May
Hard on this Memorial Day not to think about those Black World War I veterans who fought to defend Greenwood before the Tulsa government summoned vigilantes and sent in ground & aerial troops to murder them, their families and neighbors and put the survivors in internment camps.
And the fact that this atrocity took place the day after Memorial Day in 1921 with Black veterans gathering to stop one of the flood of lynchings that made Hell of the years after the war, from the “red summer” of 1919 on, seems especially poignant... tulsaworld.com/tulsa-race-mas…
And the irony isn’t lost that Memorial Day itself began as a commemoration by Black Americans of the Union troops — white and Black — who died fighting to end the blight of American slavery; and that it began in slavery’s cradle: South Carolina... wjla.com/features/7news…
Read 8 tweets
31 May
Tulsa Burning is another Stanley Nelson masterpiece and a chilling reminder of how terrifyingly common it was for Black people to be lynched by January 6-style mobs in America. Just breathtakingly common and accepted in polite white society. And we still have no anti-lynching law
No wonder right wingers are fighting so hard to bury accurate American history. The routine brutality of it would be hard to explain if fully told, and it would be tough to maintain the myths about why inequality, police brutality and other ills persist.
The Black citizens of Greenwood were held in internment camps. INTERNMENT CAMPS. A generation before the same thing was done to Japanese Americans. The Blacks were punished for THEIR community being ransacked and burned and 300 murdered. I’m just sick watching this.
Read 4 tweets
30 May
Yes, how dare the Tulsa massacre survivors ask for 10 percent of the $30 MILLION raised by a committee that wants to display them onstage at an event ABOUT THEIR SUFFERING so it will seem credible and they can raise MORE money for a tourist museum... deadline.com/2021/05/tulsa-…
I’d love to know how much $ the committee spent on talent fees, sound system etc vs the $100k they planned to toss at the Tulsa survivors — expecting them to be grateful while the descendants of those who burned Greenwood to the ground keep profiting/ exploiting them for tourism.
Another question: why did the organizers allow the media and the public to believe that the cancellation was connected to that DHS security warning, when that now does not seem to be the case? And what is the plan for that $30 million? There are more questions here than answers.
Read 4 tweets
29 May
A-They enslave you
B-They reluctantly free you & say “pull yourself up by your bootstraps because we owe you nothing”
C-Somehow you build a community
D-They get mad and burn it down
E-They mock your neighborhood’s poverty & blame YOUR character
F-They erase A from history books
Repeat this formula all across this country for a couple of centuries and you begin to see where the racial disparities, as well as the war on history, come from.
Read 4 tweets

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