JEFM BRINGING BRONZE STATUE INTO THE MEMORIAL

Episode 34: On Crazy We Built a Nation (Seeing White, Part 4)

March 30, 2017

“All men are created equal.” Those words, from the Declaration of Independence, are central to the story that Americans tell about ourselves and our history. But what did those words mean to the man who actually wrote them? By John Biewen, with guest Chenjerai Kumanyika.

Image: Bronze Statue of Thomas Jefferson being erected in Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C., 1947. Photo credit: National Park Service.

Key sources for this episode:

Nell Irvin Painter, The History of White People

Ibram Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning

The Racial Equity Institute

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4 comments on “Episode 34: On Crazy We Built a Nation (Seeing White, Part 4)

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  1. Carol McClain Apr 7, 2017

    This series is great. Love the conversations and the references. I’ve listened to each episode three times (at least). Sharing with everyone I think is willing to learn. Thank you.

  2. Shelly Musgrove May 4, 2017

    Insanity.

  3. Jefferson didn’t make a promise, yet he spoke a truth that transcends who he was and all that here did that was counter to that truth. I believe Dr. King pointed you the truth of Jefferson’s words.

  4. In this episode, the opening excerpt of Suzanne Plihcik’s overview of the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 illuminates one fork of the many twisting paths our forefathers took to define privilege based on race. “Is this crazy or what?” She says. “It get’s crazier. And we need to understand that. Because, folks, on crazy we built a nation. We did. We did.”

    Plihcik’s voice is like a bell-ring that births a fairy: each time I hear it, one more simple contradiction of our past is knocked over — and from where it fell, the pixie dust clears to reveal a maze of power in the background that has historically served to deprive and enable, deprive and enable, over and over again. Like a mechanical function or a Ford-factory-line, the decisions systematically governing race in this country have been on repeat: “yes” to us; “no” to them, “yes” to us; “no” to them, over and over and over again. Until you see it, you don’t see it. Plihcik does a good job of speaking plainly to this complexity. I love her contribution to this podcast series. Thank you.

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