Race in America with Linda Villarosa | Black America

Race in America with Linda Villarosa | Black America


♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY. I’M CAROL JENKINS, THE PROGRAM IS BLACK AMERICA. IN AUGUST OF 2019, THE NEW YORK TIMES PUBLISHED A MAJOR WORK, THE 1619 PROJECT. COMMEMORATING THE DAY 400 YEARS AGO IN AUGUST OF 1619 THAT THE FIRST ENSLAVED AFRICANS LANDED ON THE SHORES OF VIRGINIA AND WHAT WOULD BECOME AMERICA. SLAVERY WOULD MAKE AND DEFINED THIS COUNTRY FOR 250 YEARS. ITS AFTERMATH STILL PLAGUES OUR SOCIETY. TODAY WE SPEAK WITH ONE OF THE WRITERS OF THE 1619 PROJECT, LINDA VILLAROSA. LINDA DIRECTS THE JOURNALISM PROGRAM AT THE CITY COLLEGE OF NEW YORK. SHE HAS BEEN AWARDED MANY TIMES FOR HER WORK, AND IS THE AUTHOR OF THREE BOOKS INCLUDING “BODY AND SOUL:THE BLACK WOMEN’S GUIDE TO PHYSICAL HEALTH AND EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING.” AND THE NOVEL “PASSING FOR BLACK.” AT THE NEW YORK TIMES SHE IS A CONTRIBUTOR OF MANY MAJOR PIECES INCLUDING A GROUNDBREAKING REPORT ON BLACK MATERNAL HEALTH, DISPARITIES, AND THE 1619 PROJECT. IT’S A POWERFUL PIECE ON THE PERSISTENT BELIEF IN RACIAL DIFFERENCES IN THE CURRENT MEDICAL PROFESSION. IN 2019, DOCTORS ARE STILL BEING TRAINED ON OLD-SCHOOL RACIAL DISPARITIES.>>YES. THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.>>OH! I’M DELIGHTED YOU ARE HERE. WE ALWAYS BEGIN BY ASKING OUR GUESTS TO PLACE THEMSELVES IN BLACK AMERICA, I HAPPEN TO KNOW YOUR MOM, BUT WE CAN TALK ABOUT HER. WE’LL TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HER.>>I’M A JOURNALIST WHO IS BLACK, AND A BLACK PERSON WHO IS A JOURNALIST. A LOT OF TIMES I’M ASKED DO I FEEL PIGEONHOLED BECAUSE MOSTLY I WRITE ABOUT RACE, INEQUALITY, AND AFRICAN-AMERICANS. AND I SAY NO, IT’S THE ONLY THING I CARE ABOUT. I AM DEEPLY ENGAGED IN ISSUES THAT AFFECT US AND OUR COMMUNITY AND THAT’S WHERE I HAVE BEEN FOR MANY YEARS, FIRST AT ESSENCE AND NOW AT THE NEW YORK TIMES AND BOOK WRITING. SO, I’M PROUDLY THAT.>>YOU HAD TWO TURNS AS EDITOR OF ESSENCE MAGAZINE, WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE WE MENTION THAT. YOUR MOTHER WAS VERY INFLUENTIAL AS AN ENTREPRENEUR. TALK ABOUT HER INFLUENCE ON YOUR LIFE.>>WHAT MY MOTHER DID WAS INTRODUCE ME AND MY SISTER AND OUR FAMILY TO BLACK LITERATURE. I HAD TAKEN A BLACK STUDIES COURSE, IT WAS CALLED AFRO AMERICAN STUDIES COURSE IN COLLEGE. AND I STARTED READING BOOKS LIKE TONI MORRISON, ALICE WALKER, TONI CADE BAMBARA, ALL KINDS OF WONDERFUL AUTHORS. AND MY MOTHER OPENED HER BOOKSTORE, HUE-MAN BOOKS, FIRST IN DENVER, THEN IN HARLEM. IT WAS OUR FAMILY BUSINESS. IT WAS COMMON FOR US — I WAS AT ESSENCE — PART OF IT AND I WOULD SAY MOM HAVE YOU HEARD OF TERRY MCMILLAN? AND SHE WOULD SAY WHO IS THAT? I WOULD TELL HER ABOUT PEOPLE AND SHE WOULD TELL ME ABOUT PEOPLE AND SHE STARTED A BOOKSTORE IN HARLEM AND SHE RAN THAT FOR NUMBER OF YEARS. I HAVE CHILDREN AND THE CHILDREN WOULD GO UP AND SAY IS GRANDMA FAMOUS? [LAUGHTER]>>A LOT OF FAMOUS PEOPLE COME. I SAID THOSE ARE FAMOUS AUTHORS. AUTHORS COME TO HER BOOKSTORE, BECAUSE IT’S WONDERFUL AND IT’S A PLACE WHERE YOU FEEL NURTURED.>>WE MISS HER, WE MISS THE STORE AND WE THANK HER FOR THE STORE. AND NOW YOU FIND YOURSELF IN A POWERFUL POSITION AT THE NEW YORK TIMES, WRITING MOSTLY ABOUT MEDICAL ISSUES BUT OTHER THINGS TOO. TELL US ABOUT THE 1619 PROJECT, HOW THAT CAME ABOUT AND ITS TREMENDOUS IMPACT.>>THE 1619 PROJECT CAME ABOUT BECAUSE OF NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES. SHE HAS BEEN THINKING ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS TO AMERICA FOR YEARS AND YEARS. SHE PITCHED TO THE MAGAZINE –>>SHE’S A WRITER AT THE TIMES.>>A BLACK WOMAN WRITER AT THE TIMES, AND A MACARTHUR GENIUS AWARD WINNER. AND A NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARD WINNER. SHE’S REALLY SMART. I GOT CALLED INTO A MEETING WHICH I KNEW WAS ABOUT SLAVERY AND ABOUT THIS ANNIVERSARY. I WAS IN THE MEETING AND HEARING HER TALK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF LOOKING AT THE 400 YEARS, FROM THE BEGINNING OF SLAVERY, THE TIME OF SLAVERY, AND WHAT HAPPENED AFTER, THE CONTRIBUTIONS AND THE CORRUPTION AND PAIN OF SLAVERY AND HOW ITS EFFECTS HAVE LASTED. AND RIGHT AWAY I THOUGHT WHAT COULD I DO. I WANT TO BE IN THIS. BY THE TIME I HAD CONTRIBUTED MY PIECE, ABOUT MEDICAL MYTHS THAT HAVE PERSISTED, IT HAD SPREAD BEYOND — THE 1619 PROJECT HAD GONE BEYOND JUST THE MAGAZINE SO THAT IT WAS ALSO IN THE NEWSPAPER. THERE WAS A LAUNCH EVENT. THE SMITHSONIAN WAS BROUGHT IN. THERE IS A CURRICULUM. TO SAY THAT SLAVERY IS NOT TAUGHT VERY WELL IN HIGH SCHOOLS AND SCHOOLS ACROSS THE COUNTRY — NOW IS THE TIME. IT’S TIME NOW TO TEACH IT BETTER.>>WE WILL TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE CLASSROOM AVAILABILITY OF THIS, BECAUSE THAT IS SO ESSENTIAL THAT TEACHERS CAN HAVE THIS AT THEIR DISPOSAL, THE TRUE HISTORY OF AMERICA. MOST PEOPLE DON’T GO BACK THAT FAR, THAT SHIP LANDING IN VIRGINIA AND THE IMPACT OF ENSLAVING PEOPLE IN A SUPPOSEDLY DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY FROM THE VERY BEGINNING AS NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES’ QUOTE SAYS, IT WAS A LIE, THE WHOLE IDEA OF DEMOCRACY WAS UNTRUE.>>WHAT I LIKE ABOUT HER PIECE IS THAT SHE SAYS THAT BLACK PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY ARE THE PEOPLE THAT CARE THE MOST ABOUT DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM. BECAUSE WE HAD IT TAKEN AWAY FROM US AND NOW WE HAVE IT AND WE VALUE IT. AND I LIKE THAT POSITIVE SPIN, TO SAY THAT WE HAVE BEEN VICTIMIZED IN THIS COUNTRY, YET WE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO HONOR THE VALUES THE BEST AND THE MOST.>>YOU WRITE ABOUT HEALTH DISPARITIES AND MISCONCEPTIONS. I WAS LOOKING AT THE VIDEO OF YOU AT THE LAUNCH — CAN WE HAVE A LISTEN TO THAT CLIP?>>MY STORY BEGINS WITH JOHN BROWN. JOHN BROWN WAS AN ENSLAVED MAN, AT A PLANTATION IN GEORGIA IN THE 1820s, 1830s, AND 1840s. HE WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO ESCAPE AND WRITE A BOOK. READING HIS STORY IS COMPELLING BECAUSE HE TOLD IT IN HIS OWN WORDS AND VOICE. HE WAS LOANED TO ANOTHER ENSLAVER WHO WAS A MEDICAL DOCTOR. THAT DOCTOR WAS TRYING TO FIND A CURE TO SUNSTROKE. SO HE TOOK JOHN BROWN AND PUT HIM IN A PIT OF HOT COALS THAT REACHED 100 DEGREES AND TORTURED HIM, ONLY HIS HEAD WAS OUT. HE FED HIM DIFFERENT REMEDIES UNTIL HE PASSED OUT AND HE DID IT AGAIN AND AGAIN TO CREATE A BOGUS SUNSTROKE REMEDY. DR. HAMILTON WAS TRYING TO PROVE HIS OBSESSION WITH BLACK SKIN BEING THICKER THAN WHITE SKIN, SO HE BURNED JOHN BROWN UNTIL HE WAS SCARRED AND IN SO MUCH PAIN THAT HE COULD NO LONGER WORK IN THE FIELDS, WHICH HE WAS DOING DURING THIS EXPERIMENTATION. IT WAS HARD TO DEAL WITH, IT WAS HARD TO READ AND ABSORB, AND THERE WERE A LOT OF EXAMPLES OF THIS. BUT BECAUSE YOU TWO TAKE UP SO MUCH SPACE WITH YOUR ESSAYS ON POLITICS AND MUSIC. [LAUGHTER]>>KEEP IT COMING LINDA. [LAUGHTER]>>I LIMITED THE MEDICAL MYTHS I WAS LOOKING AT TO TWO AND, ONE WAS THE IDEA THAT BLACKS HAVE EXTREMELY HIGH PAIN TOLERANCE AND A KIND OF SUPERPOWER AGAINST PAIN, AND THE SECOND ONE WAS THAT WE HAVE DIMINISHED LUNG CAPACITY THAT WAS ACTUALLY HELPED BY WORKING IN THE FIELDS. I KNOW. THE IDEA ABOUT DIMINISHED LUNG CAPACITY CAME FROM THOMAS JEFFERSON. HE WAS NOT A MEDICAL DOCTOR BUT HE WAS WIDELY RESPECTED AND IN 1787 HE WROTE THIS LONG PIECE ABOUT A LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS, BUT ALMOST AS A THROW AWAY HE MENTIONED THIS IDEA ABOUT DIMINISHED LUNG CAPACITY IN BLACK ENSLAVED PEOPLE. AND MEDICAL DOCTORS AND SCIENTISTS JUMPED ON THAT IN THE SOUTH BECAUSE THEY WERE LOOKING FOR A WAY TO LEGITIMIZE ENSLAVING PEOPLE, BUT ALSO TAKING A STEP FURTHER TO SAY IT’S GOOD, BEING OUT IN THE SUN AND WORKING HARD WILL BUILD UP THE LUNGS.>>THERE’S SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT IN THAT. ALL OF IT IS INCREDIBLE. THOMAS JEFFERSON, NOT BEING A MEDICAL DOCTOR BUT GIVING A JUSTIFICATION FOR THE ABUSE OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS IN THE FIELDS.>>IT SEEMS REALLY ABSURD TO US NOW, FOR ME IT WAS EASY TO FIND BECAUSE THERE WAS NO SHAME IN THIS. TO SAY THEY HAVE DIMINISHED LUNG CAPACITY WITH ABSOLUTELY NO PROOF WAS TAKEN AS FACT. AND IT BECAME THIS WAY IN MEDICAL JOURNALS, CONFERENCES, AT TULANE UNIVERSITY AND MAJOR COLLEGES — THIS WAS VERY LEGITIMATE. AND IT WAS NOT CRACKPOT DOCTORS, IT WAS PEOPLE WHO HAD BEEN HIGHLY EDUCATED WHO WERE WELL RESPECTED AND WHO WERE NOT CONSIDERED CRUEL, BUT MANY WERE ENSLAVERS THEMSELVES, SO THEY HAD SOMETHING TO GAIN, OR THEY WERE GUARDING THAT SYSTEM.>>AND THE WHOLE NOTION THAT BLACKS DID NOT SUFFER PAIN TO THE DEGREE THAT WHITE PEOPLE DID. TALK ABOUT THAT. BECAUSE A LOT OF THAT TORTURE WAS MEANT TO PROVE THAT.>>EXACTLY. AND IT WAS ALSO THE REASON THAT DR. HAMILTON WOULD DO EXPERIMENTS LIKE THAT, UNDER THE ASSUMPTION THAT THIS WAS NOT HURTING THIS PERSON BECAUSE HE WAS NOT FULLY HUMAN. THERE WAS A LOT OF THIS. THE WELL-KNOWN CASE THAT WE KNOW NOW IS JAMES MARION SIMS, THE SO-CALLED FATHER OF MODERN GYNECOLOGY WHO USED THREE ENSLAVED WOMEN TO PERFECT A KIND OF SURGERY TO REPAIR FISTULA WHICH IS AN EXTREME PROBLEM THAT HAPPENS IN CHILDBIRTH. SO HE TORTURED THESE THREE AND MORE WOMEN, BUT THREE WELL-KNOWN ONES, UNDER THE ASSUMPTION THAT THEY WERE NOT EXPERIENCING THE SAME AMOUNT OF PAIN. DESPITE THEM SCREAMING, WRITHING, HAVING TO BE HELD DOWN DURING THE SURGERIES WITHOUT ANESTHESIA. IT WAS TAKEN AS FACT THAT THIS WAS REAL.>>ONE OF THE DOCTORS REMOVED THE LEG OF ONE OF THEM WITHOUT ANY ANESTHESIA. THE PATIENT PARTICIPATED IN THE OPERATION. SO ALL THOSE MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS WE WANT TO THINK IT’S BACK IN THE DAY, BUT THEN THERE WAS THE TUSKEGEE EXPERIMENT. TALK TO US ABOUT THAT CONTINUATION OF WILDLY DISCOUNTING THE LIVES OF BLACK PEOPLE, IN THIS CASE BLACK MEN.>>THE TUSKEGEE EXPERIMENT WAS IN THE 20TH CENTURY. IT HAPPENED IN ALABAMA. IT WAS MEN WHO HAD SYPHILIS AND THEY WERE LEFT UNTREATED. THE MEN SUFFERED FROM SYPHILIS AND THERE WAS A TREATMENT BUT THEY WERE LEFT UNTREATED TO SEE THE PROGRESSION OF THE DISEASE. THE ASSUMPTION WAS THAT SYPHILIS IS HORRIBLE, NASTY, AND THESE MEN ARE ALREADY DISEASED. THE HARD PART ABOUT THAT WAS IT WAS STATE SANCTIONED. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SANCTIONED THE TORTURE OF THESE MEN. THERE HAS BEEN AN APOLOGY, IT’S BEEN CONSIDERED TORTURE AND INHUMANE NOW. BUT AT THE TIME IT WASN’T. BECAUSE OF THE ASSUMPTION THAT BLACK LIVES WERE NOT WORTH THE SAME AS –>>THEY DIDN’T MATTER. AND MANY DIED. AND THIS VERY DAY, YOU WROTE THAT MAGNIFICENT PIECE ON BLACK MATERNAL HEALTH, WHERE BLACK WOMEN ARE DYING AT EXTREMELY HIGH RATES AND THEIR CHILDREN ARE AS WELL. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED SINCE THE PUBLICATION OF THAT PIECE? ANY CHANGES?>>DEFINITELY CHANGES, BECAUSE OF MY PIECE AND MANY OTHER PIECES — BROUGHT AWARENESS TO THIS ISSUE. A LOT OF PEOPLE WEREN’T CLEAR ABOUT THIS. EVEN WHEN I FIRST HEARD ABOUT THIS A FRIEND WAS SAYING DID YOU KNOW WOMEN IN THE UNITED STATES HAVE A HIGH RATE OF MATERNAL MORTALITY. I SAID NO, THAT’S NOT A THING. AND SHE SAID YES, IT IS. AND I SAID I COVER MOSTLY BLACK HEALTH AND SHE SAID THIS IS ABOUT BLACK WOMEN. AND I SAID THIS, IS IT A PROBLEM OF WOMEN WHO ARE POOR WITHOUT HEALTH CARE? AND SHE SAID A BLACK WOMEN WITH A MASTERS DEGREE AND PHD IS MORE LIKELY TO DIE OR LOSE HER BABY THAN A WHITE WOMAN WITH AN EIGHTH-GRADE EDUCATION. THAT’S WHY I WAS INTRIGUED. I’M EXCITED BY THE SPOTLIGHT ON THIS ISSUE BECAUSE THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.>>AND SERENA WILLIAMS HAS TAKEN IT UP AS WELL. AND THAT IS A GIFT TO US.>>BECAUSE SHE ALMOST DIED. AND FOR GOODNESS SAKE, SHE KNOWS HER BODY BETTER THAN ANY OTHER HUMAN BEING, SHE IS STRONG AND SHE HAD ACCESS TO ALL OF THE BEST MEDICAL CARE, AND HER HUSBAND WAS WITH HER. IT IS SHOCKING THAT THAT HAPPENED AND I’M SO GRATEFUL TO HER FOR TELLING THE TRUTH.>>ONE OF THE THINGS THAT PEOPLE SAY THAT BLACK WOMEN, NO MATTER WHAT THEIR ACADEMIC OR WEALTH OR ANY OF THAT, IS BECAUSE OF THE STRESS — GENES, DISCRIMINATION, POST-SLAVERY, DOES THAT HOLD WATER AS FAR AS YOU HAVE BEEN ABLE TO RESEARCH?>>THERE’S A WOMAN AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, A SCIENTIST AND COLLEGE PROFESSOR CALLED ARLINE GERONIMUS, SHE COINED THE PHRASE WEATHERING. HER IDEA IS THAT THE LIVED EPERIENCE OF BEING A BLACK PERSON, PARTICULARLY A BLACK WOMAN IN THE UNITED STATES, ACTUALLY AGES THE BODY. AND THE STRESS AGES THE BODY, AND SHE’S LOOKED AT DIFFERENT SYSTEMS, INCLUDING YOUR HEART RATE, PULSE RATE, NEUROLOGICAL SYSTEM, AND FOUND THAT THE EVERYDAY WEAR AND TEAR BECAUSE OF DISCRIMINATION IS IMPLICATED IN THIS MATERNAL AND INFANT MORTALITY PROBLEM. AND IT’S NOT JUST PEOPLE WHO DIE. IT’S FOR EVERY WOMAN WHO DIES IN CHILDBIRTH, A HUNDRED MORE WOMEN ALMOST DIE.>>SO THAT’S RESIDUAL OF SLAVERY IN AMERICA AND THE CONTINUING DISCRIMINATION. THERE ARE SO MANY WRITERS, SOME OF OUR BEST, WHEN I SAY OUR, I MEAN OF AMERICA’S BEST WRITERS CONTRIBUTED TO THIS MAGAZINE PIECE. BRYAN STEVENSON WAS TALKING ABOUT SLAVERY AND HE SAID, “SLAVERY GAVE AMERICA A FEAR OF BLACK PEOPLE AND A TASTE FOR VIOLENT PUNISHMENT, BOTH STILL DEFINE OUR PRISON SYSTEM.” TALK ABOUT THAT CONTRIBUTION, BECAUSE YOU ALL DISCUSSED THAT AS WELL THAT THE FACT MASS INCARCERATION AFFECTS THE BLACK COMMUNITY SO DRASTICALLY.>>HOW NIKOLE CONCEIVED THIS WAS TO SAY WHAT ARE THE PARTS OF AMERICA THAT BEGAN IN THE SLAVERY DAYS BUT STILL RESONATE TODAY? AND MASS INCARCERATION IS ONE OF THEM WHERE THERE IS REALLY NO REASON — BLACK PEOPLE ARE HIGHLY INCARCERATED. THE STATISTICS TELL THE STORY. IT’S A STORY THAT CONTINUES TO NEED TO BE TOLD, WHEN IT STARTED WITH THE NEW JIM CROW, THAT’S A BRILLIANT BOOK THAT LAID THIS OUT. AND AVA DuVERNAY’S “13TH.” I SHOWED THAT FILM TO MY STUDENTS IN MY BLACK STUDIES CLASS AND MANY OF THEM HAD TROUBLE GRASPING AND THEY WERE LIKE, IT’S BECAUSE BLACK PEOPLE COMMIT CRIMES, AND THESE ARE PEOPLE OF COLOR. BUT THE STATISTICS SHOW THAT EVEN WHEN WE COMMIT THE CRIME LESS WE ARE INCARCERATED MORE. IN AMERICA WE ARE UNDER THE ASSUMPTION THAT EVERYTHING IS FAIR. THAT’S THE WAY AMERICA IS CONCEIVED.>>FALSE ASSUMPTION.>>FALSE ASSUMPTION. IT’S HURTFUL FOR PEOPLE TO HEAR THAT TRUTH, BUT IT’S IMPORTANT WE UNDERSTAND IT.>>WE WERE TALKING BEFORE THE SHOW, WHEN MOST OF US THINK OF SLAVERY, WHEN I THINK OF SLAVERY AND I’M FROM ALABAMA WHERE WE GREW COTTON ON OUR FAMILY FARM, I THINK OF COTTON AS THE BAD ACTOR IN SLAVERY. KHALIL GIBRAN MUHAMMAD WROTE A PIECE IN THE 1619 PROJECT ABOUT SUGAR AND HE SAYS, “THE SUGAR THAT SATURATES THE AMERICAN DIET HAS A BARBARIC HISTORY AS THE ‘WHITE GOLD’ THAT FUELED SLAVERY.” I NEVER THOUGHT OF SUGAR THAT WAY, WE KNEW THERE WERE SUGAR PLANTATIONS AND IT’S KILLING AMERICANS TO THIS DAY. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT IT?>>THE OTHER FRAME OF THAT PIECE WAS KING COTTON, QUEEN SUGAR. WEALTH WAS ACCUMULATED FROM COTTON, BUT SUGAR MADE PEOPLE RICH AND PEOPLE KEPT BEING RICH. BUT THAT’S WHY SLAVERY WAS SO NECESSARY, IT WAS HOW COULD YOU MAKE THAT MUCH MONEY IF YOU HAD TO PAY WORKERS TO DO IT? AND I DID NOT KNOW AS MUCH ON SUGAR, BUT SUGAR WAS MORE IN NEW ORLEANS AND LOUISIANA, BUT COTTON WAS IN OTHER PLACES. AND THE MILLIONAIRES MADE MONEY FROM EITHER COTTON OR SUGAR BUT I WAS COMPELLED BY HOW MANY MADE MILLIONS THROUGH SUGAR. THEY HAD SO MUCH STAKE IN THAT OF KEEPING SLAVERY IN PLACE AND USING ENSLAVED PEOPLE TO MAKE WEALTH AND GENERATE WEALTH. A WEALTH THAT STILL EXISTS TODAY.>>THE PROJECT IS TRULY INCREDIBLE. THIS IS THE MAGAZINE, APPARENTLY PEOPLE WERE LINED UP AT THE NEW YORK TIMES WHEN THEY ANNOUNCED SOME COPIES WOULD BE AVAILABLE TO NONSUBSCRIBERS. WHEN THIS SHOWED UP, I THOUGHT I COULD NOT BELIEVE THIS. IT IS SUCH A HUGE CONTRIBUTION. AND YOU ARE SAYING YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO GET PHYSICAL COPIES.>>I’M NOT SURE AND I DON’T WANT TO DISAPPOINT. BUT IT WILL BE AVAILABLE TO TEACHERS IN A DIGITAL FORM. TALK ABOUT THAT, BECAUSE THAT’S THE PERSISTENCE OF THIS PROJECT, THAT IT WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR CLASSROOMS, TO TELL THE REAL STORY OF AMERICA AND THE FACT THAT THE DEMOCRATIC IDEAL WAS FALSE. AND THE BARBARIC TREATMENT OF PEOPLE STILL LINGERS IN OUR COUNTRY AND THIS IS WHY.>>I REALLY LIKE THE CURRICULUM PART OF IT. PART OF IT IS THAT THERE IS SO LITTLE REAL LEARNING ABOUT THIS IN SCHOOLS. SO IT ADDS TO WHAT SOME PEOPLE ARE ALREADY DOING BUT ALSO CREATES A WAY FOR TEACHERS TO BE ABLE TO TEACH ABOUT SLAVERY. IN MY LIFETIME I LEARNED ABOUT IT THROUGH ROOTS. AND I REMEMBER, MANY OF US GATHERED AROUND THE TELEVISION TO WATCH ROOTS AND WE WERE IN SHOCK. AND I REMEMBER SAYING TO MY PARENTS THIS HAPPENED? THIS IS REAL? I WAS STUNNED. BUT THAT’S HOW I LEARNED, NOT IN SCHOOL. AND MY CHILDREN WHO WENT TO PUBLIC SCHOOL, WE WENT TO GETTYSBURG, AND I WAS THE CLASS MOM. AND I ASKED THE TEACHER WHAT ELSE ARE YOU GOING TO TEACH ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR, HOW ARE YOU TEACHING ABOUT SLAVERY? AND SHE SAID THIS IS IT AND I’M THINKING THIS CAN’T BE IT. AND TWO BLACK PARENTS PUSHED BACK, WE DID NOT SUCCEED, BUT WE SAID YOU CANNOT JUST IGNORE SLAVERY. I’M REALLY GRATEFUL THAT THERE WILL BE RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS AND OTHER EDUCATORS AND PARENTS TO TALK ABOUT SLAVERY AND THE PERSISTENT EFFECT, AND ALSO THE IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTIONS THAT SHOULD BE HONORED.>>I HAVE NOT HAD A CHANCE TO LOOK AT THE ENTIRE CURRICULUM, BUT I REMEMBER BEING AT THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSEUM IN WASHINGTON WITH MY 10-YEAR-OLD GRANDDAUGHTER, WE WERE ON THE SLAVERY FLOOR AND YOU START AT THE LOWEST LEVEL AND YOU COME TO CURRENT TIMES. AS I WAS WALKING WITH HER SHE HAD THE SAME REACTIONS, YOU ARE NOT TELLING ME THAT THIS HAPPENED TO THESE PEOPLE WHO LOOK LIKE ME. IN HER QUOTE FROM IT IS THAT MY GRANDMOTHER BELIEVES IN REPARATIONS BECAUSE WHEN YOU SEE THE DEVASTATION TO PEOPLE. I’M CONCERNED ABOUT THE WAY BLACK CHILDREN RECEIVE THIS INFORMATION. IT’S OFTEN CRIPPLING TO THEM IN A WAY, BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE FACT THAT THEIR SKIN HAS BEEN A NEGATIVE THING IN SO MANY WAYS.>>I THINK WHAT’S IMPORTANT IS TO TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS, BUT TO TELL THE IMPORTANCE OF RESILIENCE. HOW WE HAVE SURVIVED AND THRIVED IN MANY AREAS. WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE 1619 PROJECT, IS THE LAST PIECE, THE PIECE ABOUT THE HOWARD UNIVERSITY LAW STUDENTS. THEY HAD THEIR ANCESTRY TRACED, THEY LOOKED AT THEIR LAST ENSLAVED ANCESTOR, THAT WAS BEAUTIFUL TO SEE, MANY WERE HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL AFTER THEY WERE FREED AND THEY THRIVED. THERE WAS SO MUCH PRIDE IN THESE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO WERE LEARNING ABOUT THEIR ANCESTORS WHO SURVIVED, THEY DID WELL, THEY WERE SUCCESSFUL, THEY HAD LAND AND BUSINESSES. IN OUR OWN FAMILY THEY TELL THE STORY OF AUNT BETTY, MY MOTHER’S GREAT AUNT WHO WAS ENSLAVED. SHE WAS FREED AT A YOUNG AGE AND SHE STAYED ON THE PLANTATION BECAUSE SHE WAS NOT SURE WHAT ELSE TO DO. IN OUR FAMILY THERE WAS SOME SHAME AROUND THAT UNTIL I TOLD MY DAUGHTER ABOUT AUNT BETTY. AND MY DAUGHTER IMAGINED THIS BEAUTIFUL TALE WHERE SHE WAS IN CHARGE OF THE PLANTATION WHERE SHE WORKED FORMERLY. AND I LOVE THAT. IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A STORY OF DEVASTATION AND TERRIBLENESS. IT CAN BE A STORY OF PRIDE AND SURVIVAL AND RESILIENCE.>>WE ALWAYS ASK OUR GUESTS ABOUT THE POWER AND STRENGTH OF BLACK AMERICA, HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THAT?>>I WOULD DEFINE THAT AS WE ARE HERE, WE HAVE MANAGED TO OVERCOME, TO BE HAPPY, OUR CULTURE INFUSES — NOT JUST AMERICAN CULTURE BUT GLOBAL CULTURE — WE ARE SUPERSTARS IN MANY AREAS, SPORTS, MUSIC, INTELLECT, TEACHING, WRITING. ONE OF THE BIGGEST PARTS OF PRIDE IN THIS PROJECT IS THE CONTRIBUTORS PAGE –>>THANK YOU SO MUCH. AND PLEASE COME BACK SO WE CAN TALK MORE ABOUT THIS AND THANK YOU FOR THIS IMPORTANT CONVERSATION. YOU CAN FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE 1619 PROJECT AND ITS USE IN CLASSROOMS AT THEIR WEBSITE. THANKS TO YOU ALL FOR JOINING US TODAY. I AM CAROL JENKINS AND THE PROGRAM IS BLACK AMERICA. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

One thought on “Race in America with Linda Villarosa | Black America

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *