Professor Eddie Glaude used the massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s “Black Wall Street” to bust the American myth. His statement is one we must understand.
Professor Glaude makes the case
Andrea Mitchell started the segment off with a rather prescient statement.
“White Americans, maybe some black Americans,” said Mitchell. “Ignorant of what happened 100 years ago.”
Professor Dr. Eddie Claude explained succinctly.
“Well Andrea,” Eddie Glaude said. “There’s a kind of willful ignorance. And the willful ignorance is aimed at, kind of protecting our innocence. You see we don’t want to tell ourselves the truth. I mean, connect this to the arguments around the 1619 Project, the arguments against Critical Race Theory. You know, governors trying to punish school districts who will teach anything that’s divisive with regards to our history.”
And then he gives the reason.
“So the idea is that we don’t want to confront what we’ve done because,” Glaude continued. “We’re comfortable with who we are and so we grab, our, we clutch our pearls when we have these moments of revelation. Is this who we are? Of course, there are those of us who have lived under the brunt of it, all right.”
Glaude then points out the importance and urgency to prevent the seemingly never-ending regrowth of what seems like a metastasized cancer.
“So when we think about this anniversary of Tulsa, we need to understand it as one among many,” the professor said. “Next year or the in two years we will have the anniversary of Rosewood. Another event. A massacre of sort of this magnitude. So I think it’s really important that President Biden is the first president to acknowledge this because as Brian Stevenson says, you know truth-and-reconciliation is sequential. First, you have to tell the truth which is a precondition for reconciliation, which is the basis for repair. So we have to confront what we’ve done. Andrea, honestly, so that we can finally, finally imagine ourselves differently or we will stay on this hamster wheel for another generation. But some of this is that it is wiped out of history books.”
Eddie Glaude went to explain because of whitewashed textbooks, Stonewall Jackson was one of his heroes. And then he made this prescient statement.
“There are redactions in our history, Andrea, in order to uphold the myth of who we take ourselves to be,” Glaude said. “That America must be the shining city on the hill and in order for us to keep that myth intact we have to turn a blind eye to the ugliness that makes us who we are. That’s not to beat ourselves on the back. It’s not to wallow in guilt. It’s just simply to confront the truth of our history so that we can actually imagine ourselves otherwise.”
It is clear we have a long way to go. But we can do it.