IN THE NEWS #BigIsms #Whitewash #HistoricalAmnesia

Four Things Schools Won’t Be Able to Do Under ‘Critical Race Theory’ Laws
Eesha Pendharkar, June 30, 2021, Education Week


Conservatives and liberals are at loggerheads over what critical race theory is, if it’s taught in schools, and whether it should be permanently banned from classroom discussions.

While the debate over critical race theory has driven the passage of laws restricting how teachers talk with students about America’s racist past, only eight of the 26 bills actually refer to critical race theory, according to an Education Week analysis of proposed and passed legislation and state school board policies.

Portions of many states’ bills are vague and myopic about what will and will not be allowed in schools. But other sections lay out in sweeping language exactly what administrators and teachers will no longer be allowed to do.

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The Whitewashing of Empire and Britain’s Radical Historical Amnesia
Pieter van der Houwen, June 26, 2021, The Elephant


It was only when I settled in the United Kingdom that I realised how very different it was to the Netherlands. The genuine fabric of British society had eluded me during the occasional holiday. Both countries qualify as European yet the UK seemed to mirror the United States, its raw and undiluted capitalism, a privatised public transport system condemned to a rundown infrastructure, all the result of a neoliberal philosophy that considers government investment in the public domain a taboo. A harsh binary political environment, bolstered by a biased right-wing media, this all seemed to echo America, far removed from the cushioned social democracy I had left behind, where the political machine is lubricated with coalitions and compromise. 

However, overtime I became aware of one distinguishing disparity; the UK was so much more diverse than the Netherlands.  An introduction to the illustrious National Health Service (NHS) confirmed this beyond doubt.  My medical predicament introduced me to an Iranian surgeon, a Chinese lung specialist, a Pakistani cardiologist and a Kenyan head matron who commanded an army of nurses made up of Ugandans, Malawians, Zimbabweans, Bangladeshi, Indians, Filipinos and countless other nationalities. My bank manager was Nigerian, television paraded an endless stream of people of colour clearly all experts in their fields deliberating everything from cancer research to space travel.  This was a far cry from the Netherlands where authoritative voices were predominantly white and where people of colour were only invited on television to discuss music, sport, or problems within ethnic communities.

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The Unknown History of Black Uprisings
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
June 24, 2021, The New Yorker


Since the declaration of Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s birthday as a federal holiday, our country has celebrated the civil-rights movement, valorizing its tactics of nonviolence as part of our national narrative of progress toward a more perfect union. Yet we rarely ask about the short life span of those tactics. By 1964, nonviolence seemed to have run its course, as Harlem and Philadelphia ignited in flames to protest police brutality, poverty, and exclusion, in what were denounced as riots. Even larger and more destructive uprisings followed, in Los Angeles and Detroit, and, after the assassination of King, in 1968, across the country: a fiery tumult that came to be seen as emblematic of Black urban violence and poverty. The violent turn in Black protest was condemned in its own time and continues to be lamented as a tragic retreat from the noble objectives and demeanor of the church-based Southern movement.

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When a Black boxing champion beat the ‘Great White Hope,’ all hell broke loose
Chris Lamb, June 30, 2021, The Conversation


An audacious Black heavyweight champion was slated to defend his title against a white boxer in Reno, Nevada, on July 4, 1910. It was billed as “the fight of the century.”

The fight was seen as a referendum on racial superiority – and all hell was about to break loose in the racially divided United States.

Jack Johnson, the Black man, decisively beat James Jeffries, nicknamed “the Great White Hope.” Johnson’s triumph ignited bloody confrontations and violence between Blacks and whites throughout the country, leaving perhaps two dozen dead, almost all of them Black, and hundreds injured and arrested.

“No event yielded such widespread racial violence until the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., fifty-eight years later,” Geoffrey C. Ward wrote in his biography of Johnson, Unforgiveable Blackness.

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Searching for the Lost Graves of Louisiana’s Enslaved People (video)
Alexandra Eaton, Christoph Koettl, Quincy G. Ledbetter, Victoria Simpson and Aaron Byrd, June 27, 2021, The New York Times


There are thousands of enslaved people buried in Louisiana’s industrial corridor. But their locations have remained a mystery. Until now. Using historical maps and aerial photos, we can locate these possible graves.

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Research offers possible location for burial site of William & Mary’s enslaved
Terry Meyers, July 2, 2021, Virginia Gazette

In its first decade, William & Mary’s Lemon Project has done well and done good as it guides the college on a difficult journey of reconciliation.

But one frustration has been in not finding where the college buried those it enslaved during its first 172 years.

We have records of college expenses for a few deaths — for the burial of a Black child in 1766 and for a coffin for Lemon in 1817. In June 1830, the W&M president, upon the death of Ned, was authorized to “pay the necessary expenses of His funeral.”

But we have no records of where such interments took place.

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Dominica fights to save Creole forged by slaves in Caribbean
By DÁnica Coto, July 1, 2021, The Washington Post

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The elementary school student stood up, pulled down her face mask and leaned into the microphone. She swallowed hard before trying to spell the word “discover” in French Creole.

“D-E-K-O-V-I” she tried as she clasped her hands behind her back while standing in front of a row of gleaming trophies.

Seconds later, the teacher announced: “Sorry, that’s incorrect.” The word, she said, is “dékouvè.”

The student pursed her lips and sat down, temporarily felled at a Creole spelling bee in the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica. Her difficulty with the language is far from unique on the tiny nation, which is trying to preserve and promote that centuries-old creation by Africans who melded their original tongues with those of the European plantation owners who held them in slavery.

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