Category: prejudice

    Children Watching

    “The Children Were Watching,” dir. Robert Drew and Richard Leacock, USA 1961, 25 min. – This documentary doesn’t feel as old to me as I wish it did. In part that’s because I watched it in Trump’s America during an especially difficult year, but something deeper is at play. The film’s ongoing relevance represents an ambiguous answer to its directors' main question: What were the children of a New Orleans neighborhood learning as they watched their parents during the conflicts surrounding school integration in November 1960?

    An Encounter between our Enslaved and our Immigrant Pasts

    I know of no rights of race superior to the rights of humanity, and when there is a supposed conflict between human and national rights, it is safe to go to the side of humanity.

    Frederick Douglas, quoted in Patrick Young, “When a Ban on the Chinese Was Proposed and Frederick Douglass Spoke Out,” Long Island Wins, February 8, 2017.


    After fleeing the Nazis, many Jewish refugee professors found homes at historically black colleges. And they were shocked by race relations in the South.

    Heather Gilligan on Timeline, February 10, 2017

    Don’t be a Sucker (1947)

    There is an infectious simplicity about this film, which rings true politically in these times, even if the history it tells was more complicated.

    Source: U.S. War Department, Prelinger Archives, hosted by the Internet Archive.

    Hate Speech and Fresh Air

    ‘Black Man Driving’

    A woman I met way back when my son and her daughter were still in kindergarten or the first grade has written a piece that drives home the unfortunate contradictions in what passes for a national conversation in these United States. It's not preachy or partisan, just personal, the kind of thing that can make you think, even if you don't happen to know the man in question.

    My husband of twenty-seven years is a police officer. He’s a decent man, a kind man, the kind of police officer you’d want if you were in trouble. He’s also a black man. A black man who I worry about more when he is out of uniform than when he is wearing one.

    Read the whole piece: Black Man Driving.

    Human Rights in the History Survey

    I have been teaching History 100, the one-semester survey of Western Civilization that is required for all students at George Mason University. Yes, really. One semester. As I mentioned earlier, this semester I decided to abandon the old chronological approach and follow a thematic one instead. I organized the course into six major themes, plus an introductory unit on historical thinking. One of those themes was "Politics and Human Rights."

    If one looks at Western Civ textbooks or the reading lists from my days as a graduate student, human rights are not going to be an obvious subject of study, especially not for a history survey that can only afford to choose six major topics. Yet they are not only important to learn about, they also offer a powerful integrative vehicle for talking about a variety of issues that have been central to the history of the West since the eighteenth century.

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