619 Comments

"The far right opposes the idea that the United States has ever practiced systemic racism."

I see this as about the same as "The far right opposes the idea that the sun rises in the east."

Since when did verified reality (of centuries of history, in the case of systemic racism) become an "idea" or a "claim"? I see journalists doing this all too often, too. Thank you, Heather, for helping those of us in the "reality-based community" remain in this community -- and sane.

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“‘[S]elf-sacrifice, courage and nobility’ definitely enabled people like Thind, Vaishno Das Bagai and Kala Bagai, and the soldiers of the 442d Regimental Combat Team to assert ‘the clear principles of the nation.’ But it’s hard to see how a teacher can explain ‘missteps, errors, contradictions, and wrongs’ from 1942 that were rooted in a law from 1790 without using the word ‘systemic.’”

Brava, Heather! As a teacher myself, I cannot and will not exclude the word “systemic” when speaking of racism and discriminatory practices in the United States.

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One has to deploy a selective view of history and conveniently forget that our first president was a wealthy slaveholder and that our black troops in WWII fought in "black only" regiments, or were frequently relegated to roles like cook, steward, and other subservient roles rather than "fighter" . When racism was written into the policies of federal agencies like the military, its also hard to find a way to describe it rather than systemic.

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I accidentally ended this comment. Charlie went on to retire as a Navy Captain with a Master degree in hospital administration.

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Nathan, inspite of prejudice and bigotry and choosing to believe the worse about our fellowman.....look at who we are as a nation. We would never have come this far without one another. I stand in awe of all people of color who have had to be so determind.....to survive...... to give their lives, their gifts and talents to make our country what it is. Does the strength and beauty and intellect just scare us white folks? Is that really the truth. The determination of people of color .... just to live, just to worship, to be productive...to have traditions that are personally sacred that produce such

joy.....why ????

Love and respect for one another should not be so hard. America is a big place, there is room for everyone! Why can't those qualities be "systemic?"

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In 1978 my executive officer at the US Navy Hospital Corps School was Black . Charlie was a Godsend, he was a great model for the large number of black male and female students. He entered the navy in 1957 and was assigned to a hospital as a compartment cleaner. One of two jobs open to black recruits (the other was mess cook)

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It’s good to read that the USN had changed somewhat for your XO Charlie. Not for this hero:

Doris Miller, Mess Attendant 2nd, USS West Virginia. Navy Cross Citation, 5/27/1942 “For distinguished devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941. While at the side of his Captain on the bridge, Miller, despite enemy strafing and bombing and in the face of a serious fire, assisted in moving his Captain, who had been mortally wounded, to a place of greater safety, and later manned and operated a machine gun directed at enemy Japanese attacking aircraft until ordered to leave the bridge.” I, and possibly many others, thought he received the Medal of Honor, but despite an ongoing campaign to right this wrong, it still has not happened, https://thedoriemillermedalofhonor.com/ And after his great bravery as noted in the citation, “Miller advanced in rating to mess attendant first class on June 1, 1942. On June 27, the Pittsburgh Courier called for him to be allowed to return home for a war bond tour along with white war heroes. On July 25, the Pittsburgh Courier ran a photo of Miller with the caption ‘He Fought ... Keeps Mop’ next to a photo of a white survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack receiving an officer's commission. The photo caption stated that the Navy felt that Miller was ‘too important waiting tables in the Pacific’ for him to return to the United States.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doris_Miller

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Thanks to all of you who are writing these stories. My intuition from my years of living in four states of the Confederate south, is that it will be my black compatriots who will save our battered democracy. Meanwhile, hooray for our president in Ukraine!

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Representative Jim Comey of SC played an enormous role in swinging our state toward the man who is now our truly wonderful President: Joe Biden.

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Wouldn't it be cool if this body of people (how many of us read and sustain ourselves with HCR's words?) could push the Dorie Miller story and help get him the honor that is due him?

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My thoughts too.

What is the first step?

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I couldnt remember his name but had heard this story before several times. Did NOT know he was felt to be "too important waiting tables" to allow him to return home for a war bond tour.

I wonder what the holdup is to awarding him the Medal of Honor - the wikipedia article stated it had been brought up 2016, 2017 and 2020 but never voted on!

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GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

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Yeah - that says it all!

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That is a disgrace. God Bless Doris Miller.

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If you look back over the history of the New World since the Age of Exploration, it seems to me that the most dangerous people have been white males of European origin. Everyone who was different in any way from them was suspected of being dangerous. How much talent and intelligence has been wasted over the centuries from such greedy, shortsightedness? Incalculable! For the record, I am an old married white woman.

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JennSH, I was born and raised in NC. I left home after graduating from high school and never looked back. Raised by Holocaust victims in a small Southern Baptist town. You know what I mean when I say a church on every corner. Bottom line: white were/are dangerous and cruel. The Southern states promote the madness.

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I call the most dangerous-- rich, old, white men.

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Who systematically marry glamorous, much younger, white women.

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Guns, Germs, and Steel, The Myth of Race. @ books to confirm your statement.

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❤️❤️❤️

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Speaking of black cooks in the military during WW II, take a look at this,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doris_Miller

the story of Doris (Dorie) Miller. Despite the woman's name "Doris", Miller was a black cook on the ship West Virginia anchored at Pearl Harbor. When the ship was attacked, he wound up manning an anti-aircraft machine gun for which he was not trained, and is credited with shooting down at least one Japanese plane. He was cited for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, but died in 1943 on another ship during the war. The wikipedia article has the details. I just found out about this a few days ago.

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You'd probably be fired in Florida ... or moved out of the classroom. Of course it is 'systemic.' It is time to stop catering to the the undemocratic, and indeed un-American positions of the far-right. It is time for some Florida teacher to make reading today's Letter From an American a class assignment, and when the State pounces on him or her, for doing that, for us to support their courage with organized support. In a backward State like Florida, voting isn't enough. It must go to the courts, and ultimately to the Supreme Court. This will take money, and donations to organizations like the ACLU will be needed to support their courage.

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As a retired educator who taught history, government, and expository writing as well as serving mainly as the librarian, I can't help but wonder what would happen. I had one set of parents who took their son out of my history class, so he and they could attend something about American history from their religious viewpoint. He was supposed to come make up a test and when I looked out the window, he was across the street shooting baskets. That grading period he got a not very good grade. The class was ancient history and when he took one of the tests, he wrote about what he had learned about American history which didn't fly. Yes, mother came to see me because the grade wasn't good for his GPA. She tried to accuse me of discriminating against his religion which also didn't fly. I did mention what was going on across the street which did leave her speechless. Imagine what would happen these days. I would probably have people demonstrating in front of my house and lots of on line invective at the very least. So glad that I am long retired. Here in Salem we now have a progressive candidate for the school board in the upcoming election, thankfully.

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Can a teacher not sue the State of Florida for wrongful termination by arguing the factual, accepted definition of “Systermic” accurately describes the history? I’m thinking of a “Rosa Parks” of history education type case.

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Takes money and organization to sue! It has to be a clear-cut case. And remember, lawyers can postpone actions almost forever.

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Even though this is the case…………being on the look out for a possible case is worth it. Rosa Parks was not some “regular bus rider”. It was a long-game crafted action to judicially challenge the Jim Crow laws. We could do this with someone. And although it could “take a long time.”, it’s not the the whole point. The heightened discussion and coverage of the issue would educate along the way. “Why do republicans get to decide what systemic means?” The definition of systemic has an originalist, long-accepted meaning, defined clearly in Merriam-Webster. SCOTUS being the “originalist-lovin’-folk they are, should understand the merits of the case.

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Sure, 'heightened discussion and coverage of the issue would educate along the way,' and hopefully, that would bear fruit in whom gets elected, but sooner or later the 'long game' has to result in action to deal with the foes of democracy.

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Attny David Lane

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Agreed, Wendy! David Lane represented our group of arrestees, the Dairy Queen Dozen, from 2003-2006: In March 2003, on the day of worldwide protests against George W.'s impending illegal invasion of Iraq, 13 of us were arrested in a strip mall in Colorado Springs. (We were there to use the facilities in the Dairy Queen; we weren't protesting and hadn't been except at a rally across town.)

Lane sued the police and sheriff's departments for violating our civil rights. It took three years, but we won: The police and sheriff's departments wrote us a letter of apology and had to take classes on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

I have great respect for David Lane!

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No they can't - it's the court that schedules cases and the court that grants adjournments.

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Attorneys can ask for, and are usually granted continuances for all kinds of reasons.

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https://youtu.be/UN8bJb8biZU

You're thinking of Slap Suits. That's something that T and other rich people use all the time.

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Given the makeup of this SCOTUS, I doubt any suits will proceed to a just judgment.

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When you go through one door, another one opens, and after that, still another. And you end up wondering about the parts of our Constitution which, in order to get the support of slaveholding States back in 1789, included clearly undemocratic principles like the Electoral College, the composition of the Senate, and the leaving of too much power to the States. Sooner or later we'll be in that room, and there will be still another door at its far end, with a sign on it reading 'Remember 1861 Before Opening.'

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Agreed. I am sure the ACLU would step in, but the Supremes seem to think that they are living in the 18th century and would Sammy burn witches.

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Agree 💯 and that is why I’ve donated to the ACLU every month since Nov. 2016.

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Florida teacher fired for video of empty bookshelves after DeSantis complaint

https://popular.info/p/florida-teacher-fired-for-video-of?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

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I read about this. Awful. And the reasoning behind the firing shows us how DeSatan and his minions work.

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Yes! What a beautifully composed argument.

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Russell, is your wife Lisa? Sorry if I'm being intrusive, but I had to ask.

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No, there's no Lisa. i don't mind your asking.

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Thanks for your response. You now know that you're not the only Russell Meyer in the country, and so do I.

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The dates, facts and the history of our past citizens of which Heather writes about in this chapter of history that many, if not most of us are reading at this moment, are examples of “systemic”. As has often been the case, for my own knowledge, I will look for myself to see these facts in other recorded histories, not because I doubt Professor HCR, but to see for what has been kept from us for generations. In my 70th decade, I realize again what we don’t know . . . .

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Wow! You've set some sort of record for longevity. You might mean your seventh decade (ages 61 to 70) or if in your 70s, your eighth decade. I am familiar with the place, having been there before, a couple of decades ago. Seriously though, more younger generations should be following HCR or other academics who understand reality, like Tim Snyder.!

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Jack, Oh I have a grandma that nearly reached 99, her mother 97 and great grandmother on my dad’s side 103. I think I have a few good years left. The key is to nurture the communication lines with my daughters, grandkids and eventually their kids.

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Keep up the good fight. Your genes will keep you on the battleground for a long time! Stay well!

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Teachers that grew up "Republicans and White Supremist Christians"are the ones! I know a few!

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Brava!

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ZINN EDU CATION PROJECT: TEACHING PEOPLE'S HISTORY

'Lessons the Right Wing Does Not Want Taught'

'A look at people’s history that is being censored. Judge for yourself: “indoctrination” or an exploration of U.S. history that helps students think for themselves and shape a more just future?'

'Best Defense Against Anti-CRT Chilling Effect: Teaching for Black Lives Study Groups'

'Teaching for Black Lives study groups not only deepen participants' knowledge and improve their practice — they also increase their resolve to continue teaching honestly. And they provide a community of accountability and mutual support. '

'Counter the Bans: Free Books for Teachers in Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Virginia and More States

In the face of growing attacks on the teaching of history, The New Press is partnering with the Zinn Education Project to send books to teachers and teacher educators in Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.'

'Teach Truth Day of Action June 10'

'We invite educators, students, parents, and community members to rally across the country and pledge to #TeachTruth on June 10, 2023.' See link to ZINN EDUCATION PROJECT below.

https://www.zinnedproject.org/

'About the Zinn Education Project'

'The Zinn Education Project promotes and supports the teaching of people’s history in classrooms across the country. Since 2008, the Zinn Education Project has introduced students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of history than is found in traditional textbooks and curricula. With more than 150,000 people registered, and growing by more than 10,000 new registrants every year, the Zinn Education Project has become a leading resource for teachers and teacher educators.'

'The empowering potential of studying history is often lost in a textbook-driven trivial pursuit of names and dates. We believe that through taking a more engaging and more honest look at the past, we can help equip students — and all of us — with the analytical tools to make sense of and improve the world today. For a more complete description of our approach, read why teach people’s history.'

'Our website offers free, downloadable lessons and articles organized by theme, time period, and grade level. Based on the approach to history highlighted in Howard Zinn’s best-selling book A People’s History of the United States, our teaching materials emphasize the role of working people, women, people of color, and organized social movements in shaping history.'

'Our daily This Day in History posts highlight stories ignored in most textbooks and are shared on social media where we have more than 500,000 followers.'

'We also produce a regular If We Knew Our History column that features articles by teachers, journalists, and scholars that expose the myths told in corporate curricula and offer ideas for teaching outside the textbook.'

'We offer professional development workshops in collaboration with school districts, teacher unions, and at teacher conferences.'

'We have several campaigns including Teach Reconstruction, Teaching for Black Lives, and Abolish Columbus Day.'

'The Zinn Education Project is coordinated by two non-profit organizations, Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change, that have spent decades developing and providing social justice resources for teachers.' For link to ZINN EDUCATION PROJECT see link below.

https://www.zinnedproject.org/

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Thanks Fern! I know so many people who do not understand that hiding from their past causes sometimes violent twists in the present, and it shapes dangerous, often self-defeating attitudes.

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I think that trying to hide the past can also bring about great disillusionment and anger to those who find out they've been lied to.

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I have reported this before, but I have a ex-classmate who is both "Christian" and a R. She told me she would hate to be as well educated as I am. Now that is denial. They don't want to know because it would impinge on the white wash or our history. These types often find a black family who rejects the story and then for them, that becomes the truth.

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I also had a long debate with someone about Jefferson who mistakenly thought that I held him up as some kind of hero. My take on Jefferson is that he was a complicated man who could write soaring words in the Declaration and then turn around and have slaves including his own children. It took forever, but the person finally admitted that he was a fan of Zinn which was fine with me, but why hide it. I personally like to see people in the context of their times and like Jill Lapore's recent history of the United States...These Truths. She explains very clearly the problem that slavery caused in writing the Constitution for starters. I don't think any of this should be hidden. As i also mentioned before I am reading Indigenous Continent, a history from a Native America perspective (yes, written by a Finn who is an Oxford don which has caused criticism in certain quarters) which clearly shows how the Europeans were often not in control. And thank you, Fern, for your info on the Zinn Education Project which I did not know anything about.

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Fern! Thank you. What a terrific resource for our Historical Trauma In America series. My colleagues may know about all these offerings, but I did not. I have listened to much of “A People’s History” and love that Democracy Now references and celebrates Zinn, but did not realize the depth of resources available. This is terrific.

I would love to reconnect, and always appreciate your thoughts, views, comments.

Peace and truth. And truth is, ultimately, peace.

❤️🦋❤️🦋

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🌻🪴🍁🌿😊

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Fern, I don't know how you manage to keep up with so much! I try, but you are always WAAAAY ahead of me. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and research! You are doing a great service to all of us. Thank you!😊❤

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Thank you, Cheryl. We're all here to drive Democracy home. Cheers!

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Thanks for this, Fern. I have signed up as a supporter of the Zinn Education Project due to your inspiration.

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Jeff, the Zinn Education Project inspired you. You've lifted the morning. Thank you.

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Fern, Thank you for introducing a number of people to the Zinn Education Proejct! I work with the project and we are doing all we can to support teachers who are teaching people's history and teaching outside the textbook (like these three teachers we heard from recently with stories that show what is possible and the type of critical thinking that concerns the right: https://www.zinnedproject.org/news/lessons-the-right-wing-does-not-want-taught/) with appreciation, Deborah

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Deborah, I am so grateful for the work of the Zinn Education Project and the enlightenment you are providing us with in other areas. Thank you for contacting me. I will be contributing as well. Salud!

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You are already contributing with your outreach! Please send your mailing address to zep@zinnedproject.org so we can send you a Zinn Centennial mug and our Reconstruction report in appreciation.

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I recall reading Zinn's "A People's History..." (had to be a good 35 or 40 years ago?) and how it impacted forever how I look at my country. Thank you for the reminder and this link, Fern.

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My three and half years in Sierra Leone forever changed the way I look at this country. Then in grad school, I had this class in 19th century American history where I had to read five books per term in an addition to the 4-5 we all were supposed to read. I have mentioned this before too and I read 14 books on slavery and one on Jefferson. Part of the perspective I gained was how slavery was written about early on and the gradual change.

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Donated! Thanks for reminding me of the professor who awoke me to the truth. I was privileged to take a course from Howard Zinn when I worked at the BU library. I have gifted his book, A Peoples History, to many friends and family members ever since.

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Barbara, thank you for sharing your knowledge of Howard Zinn. It would be our good fortune if you ever wish to tell us more about your experiences.

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Barbara, Please share a story about Howard Zinn as a professor for this collection, here: https://www.howardzinn.org/about/howard-zinn-favorite-teacher/ Much has been written about his role as a historian and activist, but not as much about his teaching. Although there is this wonderful piece from the archives: "My Grades Will Not Be Instruments of War" see https://www.howardzinn.org/collection/grades-not-instruments-of-war/

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As always, thank you for the link to ZINN. Yet another source to explore in pursuit of learning. So much information is there to be help us find the light of truth for the people we can become if we are willing to follow the information to where it can take us.

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Fern, my wonderful friend, I sent this link to a woman who is in our city’s school board. Between this and SPLC’s “Teaching Tolerance” materials, our public school kids in CA should not be clothed in denials of our state’s past history.

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Oh, Marlene, please let me know how she responds. Cheers, to pal Marlene!

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I used everything Zinn as resource in teaching my 4th and 5th graders. Also, "Lies My Teacher Told Me" by James Loewen.

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Fern, I just returned to See the responses to this morning's Letter post from Heather. What a surprise to discover the response of threads you have instigated. Good Job on Ya. this is what substack is all about. So much conversation offering so must recognition of issues needing consideration. My Audible wish list grows larger every day. For those who require help in participating, I share these suggestions from friends here to help me explore this subject more than I thought I could: Audible is the Amazon.com audiobook store, and the Window's Narrator (ease of access in Windows Settings} and Grammarly help me feel more included on the substack site. Thanks for including folks like us and encouraging us with all the helpful links.

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Rebekha, Thank you very much for letting us know that we are reaching people who will reach more people. You seek knowledge, understanding and for the hands of your sisters and brothers. Wonderful work, Rebekha.

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Thank you for this link Fern. I'm getting ready to retire and this now goes to the top of my list to check out. I always look forward to reading your comments. You have such a wealth of knowledge. Thank you.

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Jeanne, I read your kind words as the sun was rising. Thank you. It sounds as though you are preparing for the discoveries ahead.

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Fern, that is wonderful message. I remember reading Zinn's book as a younger man and slapping my head and thinking Holy s'''t.

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I enjoyed your reply, George. I could see your hand slapping your head and hear what you uttered. Thank you.

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Again, thank you for the info re the Zinnd Project. I've shared it to my progressive FB Groups.

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Thanks, Fern. What a great resource!

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Feb 20, 2023·edited Feb 20, 2023

Any time, friend, so are you, and absolutely fabulous at spreading the word!

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Thank you so much, Fern. In 1980 as a high school senior, I read the first edition of A People's History of the United States. But somehow I had entirely missed this nonprofit 2008 onward. Kudos and great work!

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Thank you, Eric Doub.

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Thank you Fern! I did not know about this or Zinn's book. I donated and posted to twitter. And I'm going to find the book. Blessings,

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Thank you for pursuing The Zinn Education Project, Chaplain Terry Nicholetti.

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Hey, three years ago when my book "MiG Alley" was published, I was accused by an Amazon reader/reviewer of writing "woke history" for writing about the fact that as 7th Fleet Commander Admiral J.J. Clark said at the time "the air interdiction campaign in Korea didn't interdict anything." He didn't like that the book took all the unexamined wartime propaganda that had since fossilized into "fact-like matter" and told him he was wrong to believe we "won." His 1-star review got 80 "likes" (And all the other 5-star reviews mean if you go look it up on Amazon, it has a 4.8 rating).

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It's bizarre to me that anyone would use the word "woke" as a pejorative. The antithesis of being woke (or awake) is asleep, or unaware or unconscious. But dictionary definitions aren't trending anymore, I guess.

WOKE is past tense and past participle of WAKE

1. a: to be or remain awake

b: archaic : to remain awake on watch especially over a corpse

c: obsolete : to stay up late in revelry

2: AWAKE, WAKE UP

They woke early.

So when an idiot like DeSantis criticizes people for being woke, he apparently wants them to go back to sleep so he can get away with whatever Orwellian or Nazi crap he wants to pull.

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"When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less. ' 'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things. ' 'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.”

The dictionary and reality just get in the way of those who are trying to take control. Orwell said it too, but Carroll is much more fun to read. "Off with their heads."

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As an educator, Ron DeSantis plays “air guitar”

As a Political Dystopian, he’s a rock star

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Embrace Awakened not woke, educated not indoctrinated.

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Feb 20, 2023·edited Feb 20, 2023

The right loves to glam on to words and make them into pejoratives. That way all the uneducated can throw words around like they know what they mean. It allows them to own libruls without having to know anything. And if you demonstrate that you do have actual facts at hand, then you are an elitist. I have gone many rounds on the words socialism and Marxism and communism. Not one person I have encountered knows anything about what Marx, for instance, was describing.

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Welcome to my world. I’ve come to believe that everyone who moved here in the past two years is a MAGA trumpet, and not-my-governor Dictator DeSantis knows it. In addition to that, we’ve been abandoned by the DNC. Hard to have Hope down here.

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Miami-Dade County became "Red" this last election. :(

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Exactly!

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When you are asleep, your eyes are usually closed. And to borrow the title of that Kubrick (?) film, 'Eyes Wide Closed.' some who think their eyes are open have really been already blinded by lies, so they are in effect, closed. (This is an easy argument to reverse, so be careful with it.)

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Not to be picky, but it was "Eyes Wide Shut". Same thing, of course. But I remember the film because my admiration for Nicole Kidman was growing while my interest in Tom (Mr. Scientology) Cruise was diminishing.

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Since we're being picky about word meanings this morning, the nominal difference between closed and shut is that shut implies volition while closed is simply a statement of current condition. Good catch on the title, that got my attention too.

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Thanks ... I should have googled it before I commented.

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Bill:

We just need a new dictionary listing new meanings for old and properly used words.

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I've said the same thing about "woke"

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Awakened Is a more appropriate wording for our uses. And of course, Educated is more preferable to Indoctrinated. (At least most of us here)

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What a small-minded racist!

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I didn't see it as "racist", merely politically ignorant by a dumbass who didn't like someone pointing out that "USA The Best" isn't usually the case.

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Just the term “woke history” smacks of racism.

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Having a small mind is essential to being a bigot of any sort.

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TCinLA:

We also didn't learn much from that loss by the French in Vietnam. So we too went on to Vietnam in later years. And did so after Korea and after the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu. We did not interdict or win there either.

People do wake up to the facts after a while. Your antagonist was still fighting a lost war. It is good you have the facts down in print.

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You nailed it on the history in your first paragraph.

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The the US never practiced systemic racism? The enslavement of Africans and their progeny wasn’t systemic racism? Apparently, It was one of those missteps that is completely overshadowed by our country’s exceptional moral superiority.

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Not to mention the broken treaties, deliberate destruction of food sources and other atrocities committed against the indigenous populations.

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Yet, there are so many who drape themselves in the flag of "patriotism," oblivious to our true history-- whose foundations decimated and marginalized the Native Peoples and then trafficked human beings by stealing them from their homelands and buying, selling abusing and raping them as slaves. All in order to become as powerful and wealthy as possible. Crimes against humanity built this country. Hardly anything to be patriotic about, but noble to want to end that kind of impoverishment of people...and the soul of our country. We can do much, much better than our ancestors---but first we have to know real history in order not to repeat the crimes.

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Pensa, I found your post be incredibly powerful and inciteful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with all of us.

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I am so glad that it moved you, Rebekha! Thanks for letting me know!

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Absolutely. We definitely need to mention it more often and thanks for the reminder. We also need to teach that history to our children. And you can’t teach the facts in a context of “but we are the greatest country on earth and look at what we’ve done for the world,” without giving the message that it must be OK (or at least not nearly as bad) for white people to break their word to people with darker skin.

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Ah yes, Conquest replete with it's incumbent "Collateral Damage." Oh, how we love to be creative in putting together excuses for our violation of "Moral Human Behavior". (Republicans muttering " Ya but" in the background while looking for who to blame.

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Eric, I simply would add that disappearing the term “systemic” is fundamental to preserving the belief (more accurately myth) that everyone has an equal chance to succeed. Hence, success in the United States requires no more than hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance. Ip-so facto, what we make of ourselves as a result of our efforts is not a subject of public concern; it is entirely up to us.

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When the “system” starts Trust Fund Babies off at Third Base and Minorities off in the On Deck Circle while America is “told” (via the Constitution) that we all start at the Plate, the “systemic” myth is perpetuated

Let EVERYONE start from scratch then, if we’re all so able to pull our own bootstraps up. Prohibit family wealth from being passed down. Everybody starts at the plate. Batter up

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Dave, Were I to reframe your statement based on my understanding of how the “systemic myth is perpetuated”it would read as follows: While the government’s role is not to undo all harms, but to secure equal rights, what one makes of those rights does not translate into a public responsibility involving government. Rather the status one obtains is subject to one’s efforts.

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Your last sentence captures my sentiment, with an eye poke to those who inherited wealth yet claim that starting at Third base has nothing to do with their station in life, as they proclaim that America is the land of opportunity

As many enterprising minority families were systemically denied the opportunity to accumulate and pass down wealth, the Tucker Carlson’s of Privilege lecture those same people that they should rise to the occasion

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Dave, Beautifully stated! I merely would add, in my view, the ideologies that mythologize the disproportionate amounts of wealth, power, and influence serve to justify the division between those who own and control and those who don’t.

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"Pull yourself up by your bootstraps" perpetuates the lie that everyone in America can succeed if they only try hard enough. We all know that's not true, but even Joe Biden still believes the myth.

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@Marycat2021, In my view, had Biden subscribed to the myth, he wouldn’t have partnered with Bernie Sanders in late Spring 2020, after becoming the Party’s presumptive Presidential nominee, to arrive at a compromise package (BBB) that Sanders had said, if implemented, would have made Biden “the most progressive President since FDR.”

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Nevertheless, he made remarks to that effect in his SOU speech. Perhaps he meant them to be aspirational. And yes, I agree with you. In fact, I'm very glad Biden has found common ground with Bernie and with progressive causes.

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Thanks for articulating what I was thinking!

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Wish it were so.

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Jeri, My point was to show how by disappearing the term systemic, parties vested in self-serving impulses could cover over the reality of institutionally oppressive forces that keep people down.

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(plus our color, heritage, and looks).

I understand what you mean by equal chance, hard work, not a matter of public concern, and being entirely up to us. Just adding to it . . .

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It is easier to work hard when the obstacles to success have been bulldozed out of the way for you

Overcoming roadblocks like an education system imbalance between haves and have nots is but one example

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Dave:

Definitely. I was just adding to Barbara's comment. I failed to did not add her name in the beginning like I normally would in all my comments. If you are of the right color, of the right heritage, and have acceptable looks, the likelihood of success increases. In job interviews this plays out.

Education is a good example. It has become expensive. My Masters from Loyola of Chicago was far less than the $85,000 told to me by my Econ Prof of 30-something years ago. Maybe a tenth if I count in the parking, commuting at night, etc.

If you lived in the poorer section of Chicago and could not get to one of the better schools, your education may not be as thorough and complete. I was a city kid of lesser means and was very fortunate. The VA and state grants paid for much of my education.

I write for Alan Collinge of "Student Loan Justice." Those who are stuck with student loans of tens of thousands of dollars will never be able to pay them off. The accumulated interest and attached fees are ridiculous. That is another topic. Thanks for your comment.

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Bill, While I tend to think in terms of class, race, and gender compounding the effects of one another, I get your point.

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I woke up this morning and the sun still rose in the East. Great analogy, Eric.

Isn't it ironic that the country that produced Nazi's and exterminated millions of people has faced it's past and have pledged to acknowledge and never repeat it. Most Germans are very "woke", very aware of the deeds of their "fathers and mothers". Most are suitably ashamed and now work to be better humans.

Americans need to stand together and admit that almost all of our parents and grandparents, to varying degrees, held racist views and acted in racist ways. If not, we are liars and we won't have a moral leg to stand on. We should fall to our knees in shame when we see an American flag.

If one is offended by the word "woke" one has not acknowledged the truth and will be doomed to repeat the same horrors of the past. Isn't it pretty simple? If we are not "woke" then we are clearly still racists. Do we learn and grow from our shameful past? Or do we deny it so we can repeat it?

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Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, Senator Tim Scott...Ron DeSantis, Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence...Brian Kemp, Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Chris Christie of New Jersey...individual cogs making the system more systemic...vying for the votes of the ignorant morons ready and willing to just say no to our fragile democracy...ready to join a new world order of authoritarian despots...Putin, Xi, Modi, Orbán, Meloni...Assad...Erdoğan...

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Ray Greenfield....No thinking necssary....just follow the group....

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Think Izzy Stone or Peter Falk's Colombo...the dots are all out there, from day one, waiting to be connected. This "recipe," created by idiots for ignorant idiots eager to consume...

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Eric The Immigration Act of 1924 is a monument to official systemic immigration discrimination.

The purpose was to prohibit or severely restrict immigration from any non-Western European locale. In part this was a reaction to the influx of millions of immigrants from Eastern Europe between 1890 to 1914.

Scholars have provide chapter and verse on the the specifics of this systemically biased legislation, which was redrafted and redirected in the Immigration Act of 1965.

Perhaps the quotation on Miss Liberty by Emma Lazarus should have read: GIVE ME YOUR TIRED, YOUR POOR, ESPECIALLY IF THEY ARE FROM WESTERN EUROPE.

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Yep. Thank you.

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Ironically, that immigration act enabled among others, Blacks to get ahead. And get ahead they did for almost 60 years, through the Civil Rights movement, and beyond. And they got ahead financially. Until ***too much*** immigration began holding them back again.

In 1980, Black workers predominated in meat packing. After 60 years of organizing, they were earning good middle class wages. But a decade later, immigrants predominated in meat packing, earning barely above minimum wage.

This pattern had been repeating itself for more than 150 years, in a variety of trades and jobs. In the 1800s, companies, wanting to avoid hiring Black workers, and wanting to reduce wages, actually sent boats to Europe to bring back white workers. And in more modern times, companies and others, including the Koch organization, Facebook (with Fwd.US) and others pushed for more immigration, as an oversupply of cheap labor makes it easy to reduce wages. Two fast food execs once spent an hour with Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), long the primary exponent of reducing immigration on Capitol Hill (personal communication).

This is described in a recent book, Back of the Hiring Line: A 200-Year History of Immigration Surges, Employer Bias, and Depression of Black Wealth, by Roy Beck ($13 on Amazon). The book is solid--covering all the relevant academic economic literature, Black periodicals, statements from Black leaders, beginning with Frederick Douglass, and gov't commissions on immigration reform (296 footnotes). Yet, it reads well, as the author was an environmental journalist for three decades.

The book gives the lie to the notion that there are no jobs Americans won't do, only wages they shouldn't have to accept. The author spent some time with Black poultry workers who'd been fired from their jobs on the Eastern Shore. Would they take their jobs back if they could, he asked them? No, because on the wages being paid to their immigrant replacements, they'd have to live in their cars, or many to a room.

Immigration is hurting Democrats, according to David Leonhardt in The Morning (an email feature from the NYT). He states:

"After all, the Democratic Party’s upscale liberalism has alienated voters of color, too. Latinos have become more Republican in the past few years; one recent analysis of the Latino vote found that liberals’ stridency on Covid precautions and their lack of concern about border security have harmed Democrats. Many Black voters, for their part, hold more moderate views on crime, immigration and gender issues than liberal professionals do."

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Well said, thank you.

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The Twitter posting RW cites affords access to the February 15 remarks of Judge Susan Eagan as she pronounced sentence on the white supremacist who took the lives of ten African Americans in East Buffalo, NY May 14, 2022. It's eleven minutes long and powerful.

One can only hope that Gov. Desantis might not only listen for the rich flesh Judge Eagan puts to the bones of 'systemic' but realize the demonstrative ignorance of his AP attack but the comprehensive expression of how, and how long, the concept of race has been and stiill is systemic in America's past and present.

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For being the world's richest and most powerful superpower, we sure panic easily, don't we? The "Yellow Peril" and the "Red Scare" and the "Pinkos" and the problems with Blacks and Browns and "Redskins" ...

Maybe we're just afraid of colors.

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White people certainly seem to be afraid of color when that color is skin pigment. The evidence is that we have a history of laws designed to disadvantage or exclude people considered non-white, some, usually the older ones, very explicitly and others more implicitly. Those are facts about the United States legal system and by definition systemic to American life. A person can “oppose” the fact that this is true, but they can’t make it false. So, pretending it didn’t happen and making everyone around you pretend is the next best thing.

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It's the pretending it didn't happen that irks me so much.. A culture secure in its identity would freely admit we did terrible things to so many people for centuries, but we're working hard to become better and have made progress.

Why righties are so afraid to admit that we decapitated so many human beings with the ax of racism, I haven't a clue. What scares them so much about truth? They claim to be tough hombres and nobody should get in their way, because, Nobody's Badder Than Us. So why do they have such a hard time admitting our culture was vile to so many people for so many years?

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They believe if they can deny that 'it' ever existed, then they are not guilty...

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Well said.

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Thanks, Anne-Louise, appreciate it.

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A horribly bad conscience that must at all costs be suppressed, together with the truth, when truth underlies and explains that bad conscience.

Ideally, these people would have liked to remove all signs of that historical reality, together with the very visible human beings whose existence draws attention to to it. But as that is a physical impossibility, they are to be relegated to "their place" and kept in it under a tight leaden lid.

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I'm currently reading "How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America," by Clint Smith -- a contemporary portrait of America as a slave-owning nation. Smith is a staff writer for The Atlantic. Highly recommend.

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Well, slavery still exists on a large scale and is explicitly permitted by the US Constitution.

I am not going to explain the above statement. If you didn't know the facts, go check them out. And give due thought to the forms which this reality has taken in today's America.

Down in the ravine under Reagan's "Shining City on a Hill" the city's Gehenna...

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Ann...Excellent book! I highly recommend it too. There are parts of the book (you will know which ones) where I thought how brave Smith was to cover.

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And still is.

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Feb 20, 2023·edited Feb 20, 2023

Exactly this. Because the systems, and results of these systems, are on-going. See: police brutality, reproduction laws, dismantling of public schools/voucher movements, etc.

Their entire agenda is to uphold this system.

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If righties think the 1619 Project reflects poorly on white folks, they must have fully missed the 1491 Project. Okay, not its real name, rather, a fine curriculum put out by the Zinn Education Project, based on Charles Mann's epic "1491."

Recent archeology analysis in New Mexico pushes the Americas' indigenous populations back some 30,000 years, 15,000-ish years before previously estimated, and the scientists are still digging.

Though I'm not indigenous, I am fully sick of the Poacher Turned Gamekeeper™️ energy from the RW, lately. We live on stolen land, commodified by enslaved people. That should make us uncomfortable. To paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut (his son, really), feeling well-adjusted in a sick culture is not the flex you think it is.

https://www.zinnedproject.org/materials/before-columbus

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They may be afraid of retribution.

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Sure, sure... and they're not mistaken in their fears... Nature puts all things back in perspective, and maybe Nature will prove the equality of homo sapiens sapiens... while eliminating the entire species, both those who assaulted it and those who respected.

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It's not nice to fool Mother Nature!

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It always comes arrowing back to the same thing: ownership of the slave.

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Shakespeare again: "Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all".

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Maybe the only thing "exceptional" about the United States is the exceptional moron stupidity of about 60% of the white people here.

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I don't believe that a majority of white Americans are stupid morons. Some are, certainly. But this paints with too broad a brush.

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Consider that a majority of white people in America are Republicans and voted for Trump. Twice. I rest my case.

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If His Royal Orangeness becomes any more orange, his votors are going to mistake him for a "non-white" and have an existential crisis at the polls in 2024, if he hasn't been relegated to an orange jumpsuit by then.

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I Laughed Out Loud. Loudly!

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Here's hoping...

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TC, can you tell me where you got that 60% number? I am going to hide under the bed until I find out. Terrifying...

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Google just told me that 89% of the RepubliQuan party identifies as "non-Hispanic white". As a nation, we are 75% white. I don't "do" numbers well enough to figure out the percentages, but I think that TC's assessment is pretty accurate.

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Thanks for doing the math.

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60%?

Pretty generous assessment there.

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The continuous revisions of our great country explain both the desire for inclusion that the Constitution promises and, alternately, the reactive fear of "the other" our baser instincts inspire. The ebb and flow of this history is deep and abiding within this country. We have been the invaders and the conciliators moved by the tide of public fear and/or hope. We are again in the throws of very un-Civil War, being fought by those of the reactive fear mindset and those hoping to realize the promise of conciliation. This is basic. This is a Big Deal. Thank you Dr. Heather for championing a broad and enduring vision that brings us together and eschews the division of the fearmongers.

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Maybe it's time to stop thinking of our county as ¨great´. The land and waters are - or were - magnificent before the industrialization age. The myths must be acknowledged, and the truths taught.

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a lot of America isn’t spoiled. Still have great universities, and community colleges. Still have hardworking people, still have scientists and educators and artists making a difference in peoples lives. Still have great music venues, small and large, and cultural opportunities abound. Yes the emphasis is everywhere to succeed and make that money but that’s life. A lot of folks help each other out. One can live a decent life if one decides to pursue that life and become productive.

I write this while acknowledging all the systemic racism that we all know has shaped this country.

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Some of us never did really think of America as "great". We just did the best we could in the mess that it is.

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And some of us understand that America, like all nations modern and ancient, are a combination of great, not-so-great, horrifying, blah, meh, great promise, and giant pitfalls. We are not Reagan's "shining city on a hill," nor are we Albright's "indispensable nation." But we are not a hellbeastian dystopia, either.

On balance, we're a pretty damn good nation with serious issues that need to be addressed, and a corrupted political system that needs to be overhauled so We the People can properly regulate corporations and institutions that harm us.

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Well Said! Wonderful synopsis. Brief and accurate.

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Thanks you, Rebekha, much appreciated.

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We are a great country. That doesn't mean we don't have serious problems to address, because we do. But we have tackled many of them over the decades, are working hard on others, and will (I hope) live up to the promise that is America.

But our faults don't make us a lousy nation. Every nation has greatness and faults.

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Shane.

We are a great country.

For some.

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We are not the world's richest superpower.

We are, currently, one of the most indebted countries on earth. Maybe the most indebted....stealing wealth from our grandchildren to buy $80,000 pickup trucks that will ruin the atmosphere for those same grandchildren.

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Mike S really appreciate the truth....looking in the mirror is hard but we can not improve unless we are honest with ourselves.

Thanks to Heather for encouraging us to observe the truth which will hopefully propel us to action.

I am inspired by many of you for your years of service to promote freedom.

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Thank you.

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Feb 20, 2023·edited Feb 20, 2023

The world has two superpowers: the United States and Russia. Three if you want to include China. We are the richest of all three, and therefore the world's richest superpower.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/rankings/power

But how did you manage to miss the point of my comment, which was not about our immense wealth but our even more immense pile of fear, panic, and insecurity?

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Shane.

I think a case can be made that there is one world superpower.

China.

China has:

1. 3 billion Human Resources compared to our 380 million.

2. Worlds largest and most diverse manufacturing base.

3. Worlds second and possibly first military power if you include the Human Resources available to it.

4. Much less debt than the USA.

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Shane, Ya got something there. Don't forget the Rainbow Flag.

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What'd I write, Rob? This thread is so confused I can't find what the comment of mine you're responding to!

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"...The "Yellow Peril" and the "Red Scare" and the "Pinkos" and the problems with Blacks and Browns and "Redskins" ...

Maybe we're just afraid of colors. "

I put my comment in the reply right under that and it disappeared about a page down. That's when I put your name in it so ppl would know to whom I referred.

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Got it, thanks! I lost track of the thread after awhile :-)

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lol ~ that's it Shane ! You've cracked the 'code'...

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Like all racially-segregated US Army units before 1948, the 442nd RCT had white officers. In their case, these officers were Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Greek, Irish and Jewish in ancestry - all the ethnicities not considered "white" in America prior to December 7, 1941, when they were made "honorary white people." After World War II, all those ethnicities - which also happened to not be Protestants - became "white" on the basis of their service in World War II.

Interestingly, the men of the 442nd, who came out of concentration camps, were the first unit to liberate the concentration camp at Dachau 78 years ago this coming April 29.

One of the Jewish officers in the regiment was by his own description a "secular" Jew. He had little Brownie camera and took three rolls of film of what he saw in the camp that day of liberation. After that experience, he had a religious awakening and came home and became a Rabbi. In 1958, he was the Rabbi of Temple Emmanuel in Denver, the first Jewish religious building raised in South Denver, when everyone knew the Jews lived in East Denver. That summer a young Congregational minister asked him to come to the church's camp, to speak of his experience. He came and he told me and the other kids that story, and then he showed us the photographs - which were *very* explicit - and that is how I learned about the Holocaust.

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Wow, TC. Temple Emmanuel in Denver remains a leader for social justice. Here’s their current rabbi Joe Black singing a song he wrote titled “Praying with Our Feet,” about the importance of peaceful protest:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yNF5GLIgqeM

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That's really nice to know. As you know, it's on a hill overlooking South Colorado Blvd. In 1958, when it was built, we protestant white kids had no problem calling the hill "Kike's Peak," something that stopped for those us who went to that Congregational church that summer.

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I just finished reading an incredible book, The Great Escape' by Jonathan Freedland. It's about a young, deported at 14 and the life (and deaths) at Auschwitz. I could not put it down for 2 days. It was excruciating to read. The story of his escape and his life once he did are equally as gripping and I'm still shaken to my core. The fact that he was a contemporary of ours jolted me as I tend to think of the world during the 2nd World War as so long ago, and yet being born in 1951 makes me on the cusp of that whole nightmare.

And the nightmare continues, but it's constantly being disguised and whitewashed.

One of the questions that is ringing in my head is whether we in the land of the 'free' are any different than any other country anywhere... then or now.? I don't think so but I'm afraid the answer would devastate me and depress me even more.... sigh

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Feb 20, 2023·edited Feb 20, 2023

Very well said, Cynthia...!

a footnote: It's titled "The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World"

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I just finished reading "The Escape Artist," too. Highly recommended.

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Thank you!

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Yes, that's the question.

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Great story! Transformative experiences transform the way we see the world. Knowledge breaks the cycle that is “systematic”.

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Incredible, from the horses mouth. All our little “tribes” on the “pale blue dot” oblivious to the fact that we are all earthlings.

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