In 2019, (Nikole) Hannah-Jones launched the New York Times‘ 1619 Project with the goal of re-examining the legacy of slavery in the United States and timed for the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans in Virginia. The project featured contributions by the paper’s writers, including essays on the history of different aspects of contemporary American life which the authors believe have “roots in slavery and its aftermath.” It also includes poems, short fiction, and a photo essay. Originally conceived of as a special issue for August 20, 2019, it was soon turned into a full-fledged project, including a special broadsheet section in the newspaper, live events, and a multi-episode podcast series.
In 2020, she won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary for her work on The 1619 Project.
The editors of The New York Times were not picking an unbiased journalist for this, but one who had a definite agenda. The Federalist dug up Mis Hannah-Jones background:
In Racist Screed, NYT’s 1619 Project Founder Calls ‘White Race’ ‘Barbaric Devils,’ ‘Bloodsuckers,’ Columbus ‘No Different Than Hitler’
By Jordan Davidson | June 25, 2020
In an indication of what was to come, the founder of the New York Times’ 1619 Project penned a lengthy racist screed attacking all white people in 1995.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, the lead essayist on New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, wrote a letter to the editor in Notre Dame’s The Observer stating that “the white race is the biggest murderer, rapist, pillager, and thief of the modern world.”
Hat tip to Stacey Matthews on Le*gal In*sur*rec*tion!
And now The New York Times Magazine has given Mrs Hannah-Jones a big, big article:
If true justice and equality are ever to be achieved in the United States, the country must finally take seriously what it owes black Americans.
By Nikole Hannah-Jones | June 26, 2020
It feels different this time.
Black Americans protesting the violation of their rights are a defining tradition of this country. In the last century, there have been hundreds of uprisings in black communities in response to white violence. Some have produced substantive change. After the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, uprisings in more than 100 cities broke the final congressional deadlock over whether it should be illegal to deny people housing simply because they descended from people who had been enslaved. The Fair Housing Act, which prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, gender and religion, among other categories, seemed destined to die in Congress as white Southerners were joined by many of their Northern counterparts who knew housing segregation was central to how Jim Crow was accomplished in the North. But just seven days after King’s death, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the act into law from the smoldering capital, which was still under protection from the National Guard.
Most of the time these uprisings have produced hand-wringing and consternation but few necessary structural changes. After black uprisings swept the nation in the mid-1960s, Johnson created the Kerner Commission to examine their causes, and the report it issued in 1968 recommended a national effort to dismantle segregation and structural racism across American institutions. It was shelved by the president, like so many similar reports, and instead white Americans voted in a “law and order” president, Richard Nixon. The following decades brought increased police militarization, law-enforcement spending and mass incarceration of black Americans.
Yes, Richard Nixon did run on a law and order platform, but Mrs Hannah-Jones’ ‘history’ is very suspect: Mr Nixon won in large part because President Johnson’s handling of the Vietnam War had been so abysmal, and to not mention that is abysmal history.
In a country erected on the explicitly codified conviction that black lives mattered less, graveyards across this land hold the bodies of black Americans, men, women and children, legally killed by the institutional descendants of those slave patrols for alleged transgressions like walking from the store with Skittles, playing with a toy gun in the park, sleeping in their homes and selling untaxed cigarettes. We collectively know only a small number of their names: Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Kendra James, Breonna Taylor, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Aiyana Stanley-Jones and Tanisha Anderson are just a few.
The truth is a bit more complicated than Mrs Hannah-Jones gave us:
- Trayvon Martin might have been going to get a pack of Skittles, and perhaps George Zimmerman thought he looked suspicious because he was black, but Mr Martin was killed because he attacked Mr Zimmerman, and was bashing Mr Zimmerman’s head into the ground, before Mr Zimmerman was able to get out his weapon and change the outcome of the fight.
- Michael Brown, whom the #BlackLivesMatter crowd took to be a hero, was a thug who had just roughed up a shopkeeper half his size, and had evidence of recent marijuana usage in his blood and urine.
- Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old boy, but he was playing in a park with a realistic-looking toy gun, something which led to a 911 call. When officers responded to the scene, young Mr Rice’s response appeared to the officers to be the drawing of a gun.
Mrs Hannah-Jones’ relating of ‘history’ is so one-sided as to raise the obvious question: who is she trying to fool? Informed people already knew at least the outlines of the killings of Messrs Brown, Martin and Rice, so I can only conclude that she was attempting to fool the ignorant.
After a long section in which the author makes a litany of claims about how poorly black people have been treated in the United States, she gets to her point: she wants money paid to black Americans!
Reparations are not about punishing white Americans, and white Americans are not the ones who would pay for them. It does not matter if your ancestors engaged in slavery or if you just immigrated here two weeks ago. Reparations are a societal obligation in a nation where our Constitution sanctioned slavery, Congress passed laws protecting it and our federal government initiated, condoned and practiced legal racial segregation and discrimination against black Americans until half a century ago. And so it is the federal government that pays.
Uhhh, the federal government is supported by the taxes paid by Americans. How would the taking of money from all taxpayers and then giving it only to black ones not be the punishing of white, and other non-black, Americans?
Reparations would go to any person who has documentation that he or she identified as a black person for at least 10 years before the beginning of any reparations process and can trace at least one ancestor back to American slavery.
Rachel Dolezal ‘identified’ as a black person, remember? And, how convenient for Mrs Hannah-Jones, who is herself the daughter of a mother who was white, of Czech and English ancestry.
Reparations should include a commitment to vigorously enforcing existing civil rights prohibitions against housing, educational and employment discrimination, as well as targeted investments in government-constructed segregated black communities and the segregated schools that serve a disproportionate number of black children. But critically, reparations must include individual cash payments to descendants of the enslaved in order to close the wealth gap.
How much? Mrs Hannah-Jones does not give us a figure. Robert L Johnson put the appropriate figure at $14 trillion earlier this month, while Yahoo Finance guesstimated a high of $17.1 trillion a few years ago.
The gross domestic product of the entire United States is $21.44 trillion, so we’re looking at figures that are 2/3, or more, of everything we produce in a year.
The People’s Republic of China is the world’s second largest economy, with a nominal GDP of $14.14 trillion; the reparationists are looking for a payment to just 13% of our population the size — if not more — of the entire Chinese economy.
The world’s third largest economy is Japan’s, with a nominal GDP of $5.15 trillion, barely a third of what the reparationists want. Heck, the gross domestic product of the entire world is less than $90 trillion, but the high end reparation estimate would take 20% of the output of the entire world, of 7.8 billion people, to give to 40 million black Americans, to 0.5% of the world’s population, who happen to live in the wealthiest country in the world.
The idea of reparations is, in effect, the silliness that everybody is somehow owed something because someone did something bad to their ancestors. If Americans who had nothing to do with slavery, or even Jim Crow — while there are some survivors of the Jim Crow era, they are all now elderly — somehow owe the descendants of slaves, then does Her Majesty the Queen somehow owe me, because her royal predecessors persecuted and forced out the Pilgrims, pushing them to an untamed continent where they were lucky to survive at all . . . and only half of them did?¹ Does the government of Portugal somehow owe me money because it was so nasty to people that my paternal ancestors were forced to migrate to Hawai’i, to work in the sugar cane plantations?
All of our ancestors had difficult times, surviving wherever they were, before electricity, before industrialization, and if slavery was horrible, so was much of life among the free men. If black Americans are owed reparations for what has happened to their ancestors, then we are all owed reparations, because of the terrible things all of our ancestors bore.
¹ – Out of 102 passengers who boarded the Mayflower, only 53 survived the first winter. Of the 19 women among the passengers, only 5 survived. My Mayflower ancestor, Richard Warren, left his wife Elizabeth and five daughters in England, sending for them only after he believed the colony securely enough established that it was safe; they arrived on the Anne in 1623. My descent goes through his fifth daughter, Abigail Warren Snow, who was born about 1619, one of the five daughters left behind. Had Mr Warren taken his family with him, the odds are that Abigail would have perished, being only a year old during the Mayflower’s journey, and you wouldn’t have to suffer through my writings today.
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