The New York Post had a piece Saturday suggesting that the riots that exploded after the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis be called the “1619 riots.” Charles Kesler writes:
The justified indignation over George Floyd’s killing has led to calls for policing reform and for the country to do better at fulfilling its principles. But the reaction hasn’t stopped with those worthy and noble objectives. It has surged well beyond to an attack on the principles themselves, which allegedly give rise to “systemic racism.”
So who else can they get at? Well, an easier target is one particular set of privileged, white males: the American Founders. The system at the root of systemic racism, the radicals argue, is the American one, beginning with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. America, they claim, was born a racist nation and remains one today.
The most prominent proponent of the argument is The New York Times’s 1619 Project, named after the year the first black slaves arrived in America. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Times reporter who leads the project, has argued that “the year 1619 is as important to the American story as 1776.”
Her editor, Jake Silverstein, has backed her to the hilt. Black slavery “is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin,” he asserted, “but it is more than that: It is the country’s very origin. Out of slavery — and the anti-black racism it required — grew nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional,” especially “its astonishing penchant for violence” and “its endemic racial fears and hatreds.”
In other words, 1619 is not “as important” as 1776; it is far more important and more revealing.
To which Nikole Hannah-Jones replied she’d be honored if she had some influence on the naming of the riots: