The 1619 Project: What it is and why you should not let your child read it
This politically advantageous doctrine supposes much more than any revolutionary civil rights issue. In fact, a complete upheaval of American history is more on par with this trend.
By Maria Buenano
Date: Jan. 26, 2020
At the heart of nuanced social justice training lies a subset of ideologies most infamously aligned with Critical Race Theory and the Marxist movement. This training is known as the 1619 Project, and the notably Marxist ideologies which support its founding principles would make any well-read scholar write off the project as political doctrine that cannot exist outside the realm of metaphorical fiction. Despite its lack of historical accuracy, the doctrine has been introduced academically and professionally across America. As parents protest the adoption of this material by their local schools, schoolchildren are getting a taste of the true intentions behind the social justice movement.
The 1619 Project was founded by Nikole Hannah-Jones, an American investigative journalist and contributing writer for the New York Times. In the recent past, Hannah-Jones has been very vocal regarding her opinions on contemporary civil rights issues and has even gone as far as to publicly demand reparations for American minorities, herself included. This politically advantageous doctrine supposes much more than any revolutionary civil rights issue. In fact, a complete upheaval of American history is more on par with this trend. “Most schoolchildren can recite the founding date of the United States of America: July 4, 1776. But a searing project from the New York Times Magazine changes that date to August 20, 1619—the day 20 enslaved Africans first arrived on Virginia soil.”1 The Times covered this essay by Hannah-Jones, describing the 1619 Project as “an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”2
However, thousands of copies of 1619 Project curriculum have been taught in schools across the nation, leaving countless American children with the notion that their country is racist.
The author of the project herself openly verified its fabrications, admitting that “she got it wrong when she reported that ‘one of the primary reasons’ the colonists revolted against England was to preserve the institution of slavery. Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones claims now that she meant to say ‘some of’ the colonists fought to preserve slavery, not all of them.”6 The truth of the matter is, the disillusionment which encompasses the 1619 Project knows no bounds, leaving even the most rational of historical tales and testaments to America’s founding twisted and radicalized to suit the whims of revisionists. Upon admitting to the doctrine’s faults, the 1619 Project’s founder and the New York Times have released statements regarding the misrepresentations and have since issued corrections to the project. However, thousands of copies of 1619 Project curriculum have been taught in schools across the nation, leaving countless American children with the notion that their country is racist. This curriculum, produced by the Pulitzer Center is available to all schools for free.
The main function behind implementing this type of an ideology to young students has long been thought to introduce the Marxist principles of collective responsibility, intersectionality, and victim mentality. Interestingly enough, not all socialists support the 1619 Project’s implications. The World Socialist Website labels the Project as a “fraud,” criticizing the repeated alteration and dishonesty of the project. 3 It is clear that none of the claims perpetuated by the 1619 Project hold legitimate historical accuracy, and it is questionable whether or not its founders even believe the doctrine which they perpetuate. Unfortunately, even though the flagrant fabrications and political motivations that fuel this curriculum are well-reported, its presence in K-12 curriculum is not. “[T]he poisonous errors and coarse misinterpretations of Nikole Hannah-Jones and her colleagues will be transmitted, like a disease, to young Americans.”4
Florida Citizens’ Alliance reached out to public schools in all 40 Florida districts requesting a public records release regarding whether or not Critical Race Theory (CRT), the 1619 Project , or the ideologies therein were being taught in Florida classrooms.Very few school districts issued a response about the matter. The few answers FLCA did receive included vague statements regarding the state’s lack of official CRT requirements and the teachers’ free will on the matter. It comes down to this—if a teacher wants to teach CRT or The 1619 Project as supplemental material, their students are subject to learning it.
There may be teachers who find themselves struggling under peer pressure. Ultimately, without careful critique and consideration, no theory or project ought to hold academic weight.“[T]he fact remains that history is complicated and requires patient study, a willingness to weigh and assess confusing, fragmentary, and sometimes contradictory evidence, and the sophistication to understand that historical events and actors are shaped by many factors, of which race, while often important, is only one. Students really ought to be taught to emulate scholars who understand this, rather than to follow a venomous twenty-first-century Madame Defarge intent on reducing American history to a dismal story of racists and their victims.”4
Institutionalizing a habit of academic carelessness is the biggest threat which the 1619 Project perpetuates. “The 1619 Project curriculum is actually worse than the dishonest and deceptive material on which it is based. A mature adult reader of the 1619 Project may be equipped to apply critical reasoning to its claims—particularly Hannah-Jones’ claim that the purpose of the American Revolution was to perpetuate slavery. We cannot reasonably expect middle school and high school students, to whom we ought to be teaching critical reasoning skills, to bring the same kind of skepticism to their reading of works we assign them.”4 It is the blind acceptance of twisted and falsified information taught as historical fact that is the most destructive force facing any community of learning today. Reaching far beyond history, this curricula has infiltrated the sciences and math departments of learning as well.5 The 1619 Project applies CRT to topics ranging from the “broken healthcare system” to traffic to American popular music to the wealth gap.7 This curriculum teaches children that racism is everywhere they look, including inside themselves.
“The premise of the curriculum is that Nikole Hannah-Jones has discovered a fundamental truth about American history that has eluded the historical profession: that the central, defining feature of American history and culture is racism. The exercises that make up this curriculum are all based on this premise.”4 This premise is anything but enlightening. “The New York Times shot for the moon on the 1619 Project. Its goal was nothing short of fundamentally changing the way Americans view the history of their country from a slow painful pursuit of freedom, to a deadly attempt to continue slavery and the oppression of minorities.”6
What do parents have today say about this anti-American curriculum? One Wallstreet Journal author notes that “only parents, not the government, can ensure that this critical knowledge will be carried from generation to generation.” They go on to highlight that this doctrine “has grown increasingly hostile to patriotism and parental authority. Its greatest enemies are true diversity, tolerance and the nuclear family structure.”7 The main concern parents should have regarding the 1619 Project curriculum is its decisive uprooting of parental authority within the family and the culture of shame and victimhood which is perpetuated by the project. Parents have voiced their concerns across the country regarding the adoption of this curriculum by their local schools. In a “poll conducted for The Heritage Foundation by Braun Research is based on a representative national sample of 1,001 parents plus 566 school board members. It suggests that school boards may be more conservative than parents when it comes to teaching history and civics—and that reframing teaching U.S. history with slavery as an animating force might face more resistance than some have assumed.” When these parents and board members were “asked whether schools curricula ‘should promote the view that our founding ideals of liberty and equality were false when they were written by the Founders,’ a claim made by the 1619 Project, a strong majority of board members—over 70 percent—said ‘no.’ Parents were more evenly divided, answering in the affirmative 47 to 46 percent, with the rest undecided or preferring not to say.” 8 The most important factor remains crystal clear—parents do not want the 1619 Project in their children’s classrooms.
“The 1619 Project curriculum is not an educational enterprise. It is a tool of political indoctrination. No school system should endorse it. No teacher should use it. And no student should be misled by it, nor punished for rejecting its fatally flawed premise.”4
Ultimately, historians have found important errors throughout the 1619 Project, and these errors are grave enough to unhinge the entire basis of the theory. The project is a political doctrine that has no place in any K-12 classroom. There is much more than meets the eye with this particular curriculum due to its manipulative nature and affiliation with Marxist ideologies. Establishing a culture of victimhood for schoolchildren is the most dangerous aspect of this entire evaluation. Academics has become a watered-down version of what learning was meant to be, leaving today’s children in the dust of adult political debacles. It’s time that parents and community members take a stand against extreme bias in academia to protect our children.