Thomas Jefferson, Virginia, Matt discussed on WNYC Programming


In seventeen eighty seven the year of the constitution was drafted Thomas Jefferson published in English his most famous and influential book the notes in the state of Virginia there was a chapter called long from one of the long arms he proposed was the law of colonization Matt enslaved blacks should be free several lines and ultimately sent back to Africa because the idea of a free black person in for him in this country spell on again because because I guess he could not conceive of us creating anti racist policies are of equal opportunity and attacks and ideas back and forth between whites and blacks would ultimately lead to this race war for him the solution was let's just get rid of the black people who of course we brought against their will and let's get rid of them against their will and the repatriation that was proposed wasn't back to the place of the family's origin when black people are told go back to Africa because people will be like exactly where would I go I mean I traveled to West Africa travel to Ghana in I don't feel as if I'm home west Africans don't see me as one of them just as Americans don't see me as one of them and that's why I talked in that piece about this sort of envy after Americans on some level have long been sort of searching for nationality because we have not been made to feel as if we are American Indian there's nowhere else in the world that of course we could consider home in a certain segment of African Americans have said we are American and because we're an American we deserve to be free we deserve equal rights while another segment of African Americans have said we are not Americans because if we were American we would have freedom we would have equal rights where do you fall both ring true to me this go back where you came from trope you say it was right there in Jefferson's book later the American colonization society in eighteen sixteen can colonization society was founded in in Washington DC and a who's who of American power keen to witness its founding the idea that the way to solve this Negro problem was to get rid of black people there was widespread in this organization would become the most powerful race relations organization of the nineteenth century before the civil war Abraham Lincoln even during the civil war was urging African Americans to return to Africa you mention Lincoln he said that colonization had to happen because the black race could never quote be placed on an equality with the white race and he was swiftly corrected by the abolitionist William Lloyd garrison that really got to me he he said back in eighteen sixty two it is not their color but they're being free that makes their presence here intolerable and that's what caused me to ask and my only an American when I act like a slave because what we're really speaking about here in the events of the last week is not just for Congress woman of color these are people who are demanding an equal seat at the table but when we have been willing to submit to white power when we have looked away from racial inequality in rhesus policies people don't tell us to go back to Africa we have a quote from kellyanne Conway forget these for a day represents a dark underbelly in this country of people who are not respecting our troops are not giving them the resources and the respect that they deserve so therefore because they're not giving the respect that they deserve apparently they're supposed to leave I think one of the ways we should understand this is if I was for instance to to go to your house and start belittling everything or many things that I saw you would look at me and say how did you come into my house and the little what you see you might as well leave but what if it was my house to don't you want to make your house better isn't it your responsibility to do so but for people who do not conceive of it as your house too because they conceive of the house is white they're going to say you love it or leave it you lay out in your piece very carefully how we've been here before your colleague in the Atlantic Adam Serwer wrote that he wanted to be very clear that that America has not been here before I mean he stands squarely with the idea that white nationalism has been a governing doctrine for most of our existence as a country that racist demagogues have occupied the White House before but he said we have never seen an American president to make a U. S. representative a refugee an American citizen a woman of color and a religious minority an object of hate for the political masses in a deliberate attempt to turn the country against his fellow Americans who share any of those traits we do think it's something new but I think we should also understand that the wi racism presents itself the way race this present themselves they are centrally changing with the times were trump is doing is as Adam stated unprecedented you know you can simultaneously have a history of white nationalism governing in this country in each generation of white nationalist governing differently or the way in which night nationalism is showing itself can be unprecedented where do you think we are in the continuum of American racism I trying not to actually think of a single continuum but I actually think of a dueling continue on and so one is to continue on a racial progress our for certain people things have progressed but I'm long side racial progress has been researched progress in which ideas and policies have become more sophisticated over time if Obama came to represent for many people racial progress for many people they're seeing trump as the embodiment of racist progress when the press run after Republican lawmakers this week wondering whether what happened would finally be enough to peel some of them away most of them declined to do so or even to call it racism they were trying to **** the blatant remark out of the air and feed it backwards through the dog whistle when here are wraps Liz Cheney and house minority leader Kevin McCarthy recasting trump's racism as something else I want to make absolutely clear that our opposition to our socialist colleagues has absolutely nothing to do with their gender with their religion or with their race it has to do with the content of their policy I believe that I believe this is about ideology this is about socialism versus freedom saying that it was about socialism that felt familiar to me read any biographies of Martin Luther king who of course now is widely east by Republicans let alone Democrats this with someone who was constantly classified by A. B. ideological ancestors of current Republicans as communist for his anti racist activism they are doing the very same thing as the people who they look up to in the sixties at the very moment that they're trying to embrace king but at the same thing happened to abolitionist right you know abolitionist advocating for immediate emancipation were denigrated in view it as if they were attacking the American way of life in attacking what was essential to America and of course that is what also happened during during black lives matter that these people weren't saying you know what we should value life equally we should value block like no they are going after people they're attacking people this is a classic defense that the very people who are engaging in the assaults presenting themselves as the victims in the way police officers normally do it strikes me that the storm comes the same week as the justice department's announcement that it wouldn't be bringing federal civil rights charges against one of the officers involved in Eric garner's death in New York City in Staten Island Ernie general bar made the decision the day before the fifth anniversary of his death I am very angry asking the gate but my father no there will be no peace no justice no peace you've talked about how focusing on ignorance ignores the root of what racism really is about have we been focusing on the wrong news all week we should record mines in and focus on the actual policies that are being justified by these ideas up and go back to your country mass deportations of people I'm talking about people who are being mass incarcerated people were being killed by the police and then police officer never facing justice I'm talking about people who are being disenfranchised and demoralized these are many different forms of policies that are effectively removing people from the body politic of America I see a very clear line between go back to your country and a police officer choking to death an unarmed black man so that young man is essentially gone back into the soil in that is deemed okay obviously because the police officers storm force is a very clear line I see and so it's not surprising that the scene trump administration has decided to not pursue civil rights charges for ever garments killer and he's also telling for Congress women of color to go back to the country you have a book coming out next month called how to be an anti racist and you wrote we know how to be racist you know how to pretend to be not racist now let's know how to be anti racist you think it's possible what our question I think it's possible because of how I define and how we define racist and anti racist again if it's not who a person is there's no tattoo on a person's head world well people but people are not born reflex this is not their identity it is what they are doing it is what they are saying and people can say and do things differently one last question when all of this happened this past week in your article in the Atlantic you talked a little bit about the sort of inner screaming that was going on and I wondered if you could just describe how you felt as the week went on as the week went on which of course was the week that in many ways was representative of a lifetime those constant shower to go back to your country causes some people to ask the question will is this my country and in many ways it's a screen because of course you don't even want to hear that you don't even want to be asking that question because you don't know anywhere else right these types of chance you know affect people cars this internal screen what am I an American am I an American and of course people end up probably say yes I'm an American I'm just as American as anyone else but other people never even have to question whether they are an American I'm sorry you have to keep explaining that it's okay and and I think that's one of the reasons why I wrote that piece because I wanted to give for a window you know wait to get into people's minds how they're taking in the last week specifically looking at America's history so we have to be willing to step into other people's shoes and and to be empathetic that's essential to being anti race thank you very much thank you for having me on the show doctor eve from X. candy is director of American university's anti racist research and policy center and author of the book how to be an anti racist out next month coming up Porter Rico often services Americans laugh can a crisis in leadership on.

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