Sometime in May, when headlines about the “Tulsa Massacre” 100th anniversary began to stream in from every outlet from the Washington Post (following the lead of rapper Common in describing “race massacres”) to the Wall Street Journal, obscuring Memorial Day, it became clear what this was about: another “conversation” about race.
President Joe Biden exploited the anniversary by traveling to Tulsa and bragging that he was the first president to do so. As if he just had The 1619 Project read to him, he used the tragedy to ram home the idea that it was emblematic of our nation’s history, and that today racism is still “embedded … systematically in our laws and our culture.”
Biden’s speech directly linked today’s fabricated atrocities with those of 100 years ago. A “through-line” connects the “hate and domestic terrorism” of that event to our situation today, he said, illustrating a way of looking at history that is being promoted in curricula such as The 1619 Project and the Zinn Education Project.
“Remember what you saw in Charlottesville four years ago,” he continued, “Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, the KKK coming out of those fields.” Then he claimed outrageously that “terrorism from white supremacy is the most lethal threat to the homeland today, not ISIS, not Al Qaeda.”
The “history lesson” of Tulsa is also being used for another political goal: to lobby against bills in numerous states that would prevent the use of critical race theory and curricula like The 1619 Project.
One of those lobbying against the bills is columnist Leonard Pitts, who has spent decades presenting the world similar ideological precepts of race. Seizing the opportunity, he claimed that the “massacre,” in which 35 city blocks were “leveled by white mobs” and 300 black Americans were killed, was “not some isolated event” but was “echoed by New York in 1863, Memphis and New Orleans in 1866, Wilmington, North Carolina in 1898, Atlanta in 1906, Springfield in 1908, East St. Louis in 1917,” and so on.
For Pitts and like-minded commentators, such remembrances provide opportunities to hammer home the idea, as Nikole
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