Mitch McConnell Suffers Widespread Public Embarrassment (Again)

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In a move that would be like a class in German history that glosses over the Holocaust, the GOP has done everything they can to erase the history of slavery and its continued effects in America. While every American publicly educated child learned about the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, the boats that brought the European settlers to the U.S., GOP members are incensed over the idea that the boats that brought black Americans to the U.S. would even be discussed in schools.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recently made statements insisting that 1619 was not an “important point” in history, dismissing the beginnings of slavery and what that history means to black Americans. The University of Louisville, McConnell’s alma mater, rebuked him for those statements on Thursday.

The incident occurred at a University of Louisville event, where McConnell was answering questions. When the question of his thoughts on the 1619 Project was raised, according to local news outlet WDRB in Louisville, McConnell responded by saying:

‘There are a lot of exotic notions about what are the most important points in American history. I simply disagree with the notion that the New York Times laid out there that the year 1619 was one of those years.’

Although the beginnings of the white presence in the States have been discussed in most schools in every history class, somehow the beginnings of the black race in America are “exotic.” His comments privilege a percentage of Americans that the GOP needs for votes, but they won’t win him any among Americans of color.

V. Faye Jones, U of L’s interim senior associate vice president of diversity and equity, said that:

‘To imply that slavery is not an important part of United States history not only fails to provide a true representation of the facts, but also denies the heritage, culture, resilience and survival of Black people in America,” V. Faye Jones, U of L’s interim senior associate vice president of diversity and equity, said in the email.

‘She continued, “It also fails to give context to the history of systemic racial discrimination, the United States’ ‘original sin’ as Sen. McConnell called it, which still plagues us today.’

McConnell’s comments come at a time of reckoning in the United States about its history of racism and the long-term effects of that racism, which includes police brutality that is disproportionately perpetrated on black Americans. Denying their history and experiences is not helpful in this moment and is, at its core, inherently racist.

U of L President Neeli Bendapudi said in October 2020 that:

‘To me, anti-racism is extremely simple. A racist idea is when you say that one race, by itself, is superior or inferior to another. So, anti-racism is the very simple premise that your race does not confer any inherent inferiority, or superiority, to somebody.