Correction: Adam Serwer is a staff writer for The Atlantic.
My additional comments about Ross Douthat’s op-ed, “Odd Juncture on Race,” (title is headline as it appeared in the (Scranton, PA) Times-Tribune) are blunt and to the point.
Mr. Douthat attacks the 1619 project, plus many other very positive and good things about America and its multi-cultural history. My families arrived on the shores of what became the USA, the nation for which I have loved because of the resulting melting pot and multi-cultural society we have, in 1638. I love such a nation and do not like it when people like Douthat believe they are doing America a service by being negative about attempts to fix systemic racism. Systemic racism does exist in America, ladies and gentlemen.
My Cornwell / Cornell family arrived in the Boston Colony from Saffron Walden (County Essex), England. It is figured they arrived here on a boat during the Great Migration in 1638. Mr. Douthat attacked changes in education because of the teaching about the firsts Africans arrival in 1619, prior to my own family’s arrival. My Albro family and various other ancestors arrived in New England about the same period of the Great Migration, perhaps earlier than my Cornwells and perhaps earlier than the first Africans in Virginia. I really don’t care about the time frame because I had a few others who “coming to America” was in the 19th Century.
My progenitor, Thomas Cornell, arrived with his family in 1638. Thomas Cornell, Jr., has the line in which Stephen Cornell was derived. Follow this line to the 19th Century and we have the line consisting of Ezra Cornell, one of the founders of Cornell University and Western Union.
On the other hand, my Cornwells descend from a brother to Thomas, Jr., (Richard Cornwell) who had departed for Flushing at the time the Dutch were in control in the jurisdiction now known as New York City. Ezra Cornell was one of the first Republicans and a TRUE Republican. Ezra Cornell was an abolitionist in Upstate New York.
Early in the time sequence of the history of Cornell University, during the time of Jim Crow in the South, it had an integrated population of students, which included Simon Haley, the father of Alex Haley. On the opposite side of Ithaca, from Cornell University, was Ithaca Conservatory of Music, now Ithaca College. This was where Alex Haley’s mother, Bertha Palmer Haley graduated in 1925 (according to the footnotes in Haley’s book, Roots). This was the same year my grandmother graduated from Ithaca Conservatory of Music. Within two or so years following my grandmother’s graduation, she gave birth to her first son, my uncle. Alex Haley, too, was born about that same time. My grandmother’s line is an English line which came to New England and then to New Jersey and Philadelphia in the early 1600s as well. One who watched the mini-series, Roots, would know that Bertha Palmer Haley descended from Kunta Kinte, an African slave forced to these shores on a boat with squalid and horrific conditions.
Yet, Mr. Douthat apparently believes my grandmother was better than Simon and Bertha Haley. With Douthat’s foolish account, we are led, falsely, to the true account the history applicable to the Haleys should not be shared in the public schools. To which I say, Mr. Douthat is nothing but a fool for saying this. As a college student of the 1970s, in upstate New York, we were assigned portions of Haley’s book to read, as it was published in sections in The Reader’s Digest. In high school in upstate New York, we had units we could choose in black literature. All of this was a great learning experience and no foolish cruel Republicans or Douthat should be smearing such education. I resent such fools doing this. And, a further note. The Haley book was given to me as a birthday present when it was published. The note in the front was a teaser written by the person giving me the present, stating, “bet in a year you will not have completely read this book.” Wrong. In just a month or two, I read that book and I have continued to read that book many times over.
I have heard white genealogists condemn Haley for errors in the book. It is a piece of historical fiction. It is very clear with the documentation Mr. Haley provided at the end of the book that there are records used to support the information in the book. Historical fiction, though, can be based on true facts, but the fiction part of it indicates there may be fiction to fill the voids in the historical evidence. A white man like Bernard Cornwell writes historical fiction and he does the same thing.
Yet, the 1901 author, Rev. John Cornell, of supposed non-fiction, the genealogy of the Cornell family, has many errors in the genealogy and unsubstantiated facts. One such error is the claim that Thomas Cornell accompanied Roger Williams in seeking the charter for Rhode Island before the British Parliament. Genealogical researchers about a decade ago, determined they were not able to find anything to substantiate the fact that Thomas Cornell was on that boat. A piece of historical fiction, but not identified as “historical fiction” and written by a white man of the clergy class in America. It was a nice feeling to have, thinking my ancestor was one who helped obtain the charter for Rhode Island, but it is fake news and there are those who are able to validate it as such.
Douthat is foolish in defending those who are actually with a complex of white superiority and proclaiming, “there is no systemic racism.” They all are liars who entice other white idiots who feel insecure. Perhaps Douthat needs to read what New York Times staff writer and author of a forthcoming book titled, The Cruelty is the Point: The Past, Present, and Future of Trump’s America, Adam Serwer, says in the New York Times op-ed, “The Cruel Logic of the G.O.P.” It is no surprise that I feel as if I am the focus of Trumpicans who can behind the scenes cause trouble on my computer and cell phones because I speak out against the Trumpicans. Yet, people who follow the line of Democrats at times (plus I follow the line of logical and intelligent, reasonable Republicans who don’t follow Trump – yes, they do exist, but they are in hiding, out of fear and are being “disenfranchised, according to Serwer) and believe in the true multi-cultural history of America, noticing that Thanksgiving is more than what is described in New England, but also about Spanish-speaking people of St. Augustine, FL, of the late 1500s, and a Thanksgiving with pork, not turkey.
The title of Douthat’s op-ed is: “Odd Juncture on Race” (headline used by the (Scranton, PA) Times-Tribune. The one who is odd is Douthat and any followers of him who have white skin and are insecure out of fear that their culture might be changed, due to the skin color of Americans in the wonderful melting pot we have. The people of this melting pot have also helped settle and build this wonderful nation of ours beginning in the late 16th Century and continuing to today. We need to give all people of any race, color, creed, ethnicity, sex, or sexual identity credit for this. Changing history to reflect this part of our history more accurately and effectively will do the job.
This nation is not great because of white people who control the nation with a dictatorial iron fist over the others using vigilante groups with Jim Crow lynching and the shooting of black slaves (justified by the 2nd Amendment). This nation is not great due to a dictatorial iron fist of control and shutting up those of us who are white who find life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in such a melting pot of a nation.
In spite of white Republicans who may have ruined our finances and our happiness about living in this nation, we move on. It just happens that I am blessed because when a white Republican I name as “Rick the Prick” Scott devastated my finances in a dictatorial way and against the will of the voters – the PEOPLE – of Florida, I suffered due to it. I had to pick myself up by my bootstraps and move on. The incident does leave a sour taste in my mouth when we should have leaders and politicians who try to gain support with honey, not lemons and “cruel logic” with lies (referring to the Serwer op-ed, titled, “The Cruel Logic of the G.O.P.”). The honey, too, can be better for all, rather than feeding people sour crap after the Republican-supported white fat pigs at the top trickle down what they think is necessary for us to survive. Perhaps I should be positive and say, at least it’s sour lemons which trickle down, right? But is that not exactly the way these fat white pigs want us all to feel?
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