Rich Lowry’s whiny column in The Sentinel (“Throwing America under the bus on racism,” Aug. 22) endorses a weak, fragile patriotism that cannot tolerate any criticism of our great nation and refuses to consider a complete historical record.
It contains within itself evidence that his complaints are simply wrong. The 1619 Project that Mr. Lowry and other aggrieved white persons disparage is necessary because the complete story of African Americans in the United States has not been taught in most public and private schools or discussed in news media. We need a more complete national history. We cannot celebrate the many great things about the nation we love without acknowledging the decisions, actions and events that have been wrong or evil.
Mr. Lowry’s one-sided selection of historical information illustrates the biased story we have been told.
The Sentinel’s 400-word limit permits only two incomplete examples. President Lincoln did emancipate enslaved persons (only in the parts of the Confederate states not under Union control), but he also wrote on Aug. 22, 1862, “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. ... I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free.”
As Mr. Lowry notes, over time there were increasing numbers of abolitionists opposing slavery. However, many of them, including Lincoln, favored removing freed persons to Africa. Lincoln stated in debate with Stephen Douglas: “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races.”
Mr. Lowry is correct that the painful compromises of the Constitutional Convention expunged the word “slavery” from the final document. However, Article I, Section 2 (“three fifths of all other persons”); Section 9 (migration or importation permitted at least to 1808); Article IV, Section 2 (so-called fugitive slave clause); and by omission Amendment V clearly address the legal status of chattel slavery in the United States.
He should read, among others, Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow,” Gates’ “Stony the Road,” Railton’s “We the People,” Rothstein’s “The Color of Law,” and Savoy’s “Trace.”
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