- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
The other day I saw a tweet that asked how can students expect to learn about Juneteenth when states are banning critical race theory from classrooms. It’s a salient question, especially now that Juneteenth is a federal holiday.
How can history be taught without acknowledging its impact on the present?
Even worse, what kind of country do we live in where historical facts are up to interpretation?
Take Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s recent statements to the New York Times, for example:
“The idea of democracy and majority rule really is what goes against our history and what the country stands for,” Paul said. “The Jim Crow laws came out of democracy. That’s what you get when a majority ignores the rights of others.”
For a moment, let’s ignore the fact that Black people, women and non-landowners couldn’t vote when this country was founded. That point in and of itself means the good ole’ US of A wasn’t really a democracy for most of its history — though many of my fellow countrymen and women aren’t ready to accept that. What’s really troubling is Paul’s suggestion that Jim Crow laws were the product of democracy when, as New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait wrote, “they were the product of its violent overthrow.”
Jim Crow-era policies might’ve been reflective of the South’s majority but not the country at large. To conflate the two tells me a whole lot about who Paul thinks deserves to hold power. And though elected officials have a duty to represent their constituents, it’s difficult not to see this as an attack on democracy at a time when demographics are shifting towards those who’ve historically been underrepresented in positions of power. Disputing historical fact, by a sitting congressman at that, sets a very dangerous precedent.
INSIDE THE 305
Shout out to Miami-Dade College for noticing an issue and promptly addressing it.
Back in May, our Editorial Board wrote about the declining number of Black students at MDC. The college acted quickly, creating a Rising Black Scholars Program that intends to support students of color. MDC held a ceremony on Tuesday celebrating the 130 Black high school seniors who made up the program’s inaugural class.
“We believe in you. We believe in your dreams,” MDC President Madeline Pumariega told scholars during the beginning of the ceremony. “Every single one of us at MDC... is invested in your success.”
The students will receive free tuition for up to 30 credits per year, stipends, a laptop and scholarship opportunities.
“College tuition has outpaced middle-class paychecks, so it is hard for parents to send their kids to college. So, young men and young ladies you are blessed,” U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson said.
Few things anger me more than Black and brown people being used as pawns for a political agenda. Yet it continues to happen anytime elected officials want to “appeal” to us.
The latest example came courtesy of Republican Rep. Tom Leek of Ormond Beach, who recently told the Miami Herald that protecting minorities was behind his and other members of the Florida GOP’s support of a vaccine passport ban that has put Gov. Ron DeSantis at odds with the cruise industry.
“If you accept as I do that, the most vaccine hesitancy are minority populations, then, to allow any business — cruises or otherwise — to condition the provision of services based on a vaccine passport is to allow a disparate impact on our minority population,’’ Leek said. He later asked, “Is it socially acceptable to have a policy that you know is going to exclude people based on their race?”
Really? You don’t want a policy that’s “going to exclude people based on their race?” That’s difficult to believe coming from someone who helped pass legislation that critics say will make voting even more difficult for Black and brown people.
So to Leek and other like-minded politicians, please stop using us whenever its convenient for you.
A Tired Black Man
OUTSIDE THE 305
My knee begins to shake uncontrollably anytime I’m pulled over by the police. I could not begin to imagine the panic attack that would ensue if the cops came to my place of business accusing me of poisoning one of their own.
But that’s exactly what happened to Marcus Gilliam, a former Shake Shack manager who has sued N.Y.P.D. unions after they falsely claimed he had spiked three officers’ milkshakes with bleach.
“Tonight, three of our fellow officers were intentionally poisoned by one or more workers at the Shake Shack,” the detectives’ union tweeted in June, according to the New York Times. “Fortunately, they were not seriously harmed.”
The officers had ordered milkshakes from Gilliam’s Shake Shack earlier that day. They complained to Gilliam about the drinks’ taste, for which he apologized and gave them free meal vouchers. Hours later, about 20 officers descended upon the store to investigate their peers’ accusations, the Times reported.
Gilliam and other workers were later taken to the precinct where they were interrogated for hours. Filed Monday, Gilliam’s lawsuit claims their accusations caused “emotional and psychological damages and damage to his reputation,” according to the Times.
Belinda Sutton. Callie House. Audley “Queen Mother” Moore.
If you don’t know those names (and I certainly didn’t), this article is for you.
With Juneteenth on Saturday, I want to challenge you to do something that expands your world view. To think Juneteenth is just a “Black holiday” precludes other Americans from being accountable to their history. In actuality, the holiday should be a celebration of America’s growth. Read a book. Watch a video. Just do something that will help you better understand American history.
If you want some book recommendations, The Atlantic’s Clint Smith, who recently authored “How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America,” put together a Twitter thread of works that influenced his understanding of slavery in America.
Where does “The 44 Percent” name come from? Click here to find out how Miami history influenced the newsletter’s title.