Right now, the cotton in the clothes you are wearing may have originated from slave labor of the Uighurs of Xinjiang (not) Autonomous Region of China. The Chinese Communist Party puts out propaganda which shows happy smiling dancing Uighurs. People happy to be relocated to “reeducation” camps where they must speak Mandarin Chinese and not their own quite different language. I know this not just because I heard it on a great YouTube channel, China Uncensored. I know it because I know the history of the Americas and because those same things happened here.
First lets review the unbiased facts of US history. There are some who would conflate these with “critical race theory” because it is not favorable to their “group”.
Critical Race Theory and The American Culture War.
It is thanks to China Uncensored a , China focused channel, and others such as ADV China, Naomi “sexy cyborg” Wu and to an extent Peak Prosperity’s Chris Martenson that I knew about COVID 19 and was masked up like Darth Vader before it was cool. I will never forget being called a racist for being concerned about this virus. I am not here to call anyone or any point of view “racist”.
This thought that drives this article was provoked, in a good way, I like having thought provoked, by a video from another channel by the China Uncensored.
The new culture war as become about “Critical Race Theory”. With the 1619 project and in a way the mere fact that unfree African labor was brought to English America in 1619 being deemed “critical race theory” and Marxist. As this report from AFP shows most in the US have no idea what Critical Race Theory even is and seem to think just about any honest telling of the atrocities that went on here is CRT.
I share their POV in full in video because I know this bunch acts in good faith. Afterall, they will talk dirty about the USA too. They are not fooling and their critiques have merit but also miss the mark because of how they can be used to suppress uncomfortable history.
The 1619 project is not " rooted in Marxism ". It is simply a historical fact that the first Black people brought to English America, to Jamestown were here in 1619. By no later than 1750 their descendants if not already established as free people of color would become slaves and remain slaves for hundreds of years. I myself wrote about this a long time ago. This is literally the history of my very own family. We now have DNA testing that supports our story of being “Early Virginia African Americans” with some American Indian ancestry and cultural heritage.
This is NOT to say that the New York Times 1619 project is itself factual history.
Like all histories and all things done by all people there is some bias in it. Like most products of the modern academe the analysis of it, as well as the things people propose to do in repairing the historical wrongs are at least socialist. My bias in this comes from the fact that, for me and my family this is not some abstract history of the USA. This is the very real history of the people whose activities lead to me existing. I have done the work to know quite a few of them by name, where they lived, how they lived, and so on. For those unnamed it is most likely due to slavery and Indian removal. Slaves did not get birth certificates they got bills of sale. American Indians got nothing much of the time... at best a name on a census roll if that.
That said the 1619 project got a lot wrong.
For example, they project how slavery was just prior to the civil war back into the early colonial period. Full blown post Dredd Scott decision chattel slavery did not come along until just before the war. Chattel slavery where slaves still had some EXTREMELY limited rights… like being able to sue… as Dredd Scott did exist from 1750. Before that point it was very possible for a Black person to gain freedom. After that point slavery became the fully racialized institution we think of in America. Do not take my word for it. This particularly good work gives a nuanced review of how slavery changed over the centuries.
Nothing can undo the past. We can only teach it honestly, learn from it, never forget .
We can only learn from the past if we learn about it. Consider the following, a myth that slave owners posited was that slaves were happy smiling dancing people. Better off on the plantation. This is how the good old history taught in 1954 was. Black people had it great during slavery… the master would barbque for them.
Sounds a lot like the Chinese propaganda we see now.
History does not repeat it often rhymes.
I am an African American because of the unfree transportation of my ancestors to these shores to provide unfree labor. We have the like of it in video from China
The culture of the American Indian was “educated” out of my ancestors, in one case in one of the infamous boarding schools in Kansas. We have seen the like of it in videos from Xinjiang
Anyone could culturally become American but needed special DNA to be an Indian culture be dammed. Such was used to justify taking land for others to be slaves on. Unless they had enough white DNA and were not culturally American Indian. In China studies they call a similar thing sinicization.
Until 1860 daily atrocities were something the USA allowed to go on. Then the USA decided it was enough, after secession and war that it was enough. Since then the USA has suffered and struggled to deal with this past. The Indian wars not ending until Wounded Knee in 1890 with boarding schools, and forced adoption until the 1970’s. We see the like of it happening to the Uighurs right now.
Only by learning this history can we be so sure we know what we see. Our country, our United States of America did similar things in the past. We know the dire wage of that sin. Don’t make it Marxist, don’t make it cater to some segment of white people who make Robin DiAngelo’s book title “White Fragility” seem correct. (#notALLwhitepeople). Don’t make it afrocentric history just tell it. The facts speak for themselves.
Let our history be a warning to the world, to any country, like China, which may think they can just do this and it’ll be ok. We know what we see going on there because we’ve seen it here. In living memory we have seen some of it here. Videos of people in traditional dress dancing only look more damning in light of US history. Far from it proving US wrong it lets us know what is really going on.
NEVER FORGET, NEVER BE SILENT. Learn real history.
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One more thing ...
Racist African people do exist. Racism is discrimination with the power to impose it on a whole society usually by being the majority group. African Americans and American Indians wanting our history taught from our point of view too is not racist, or Marxist.