One day after President Trump instructed federal agencies to end racial sensitivity training, calling them “divisive, anti-American propaganda,” the president vowed in a Sunday morning tweet that the Department of Education would pull funding from California schools that taught the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which explores the far-reaching influence of slavery in American culture.
Responding to an unverified Twitter account, which claimed, “california has implemented the 1619 project into the public schools. soon you wont recognize america,” Trump tweeted that “Department of Education is looking at this. If so, they will not be funded!”
The 1619 Project (1619 refers to the year the first slave ship arrived on America’s shores and examines the lasting consequences of slavery) was launched by the New York Times Magazine last year, and the Pulitzer Center released a school curriculum based on the project, but it is unknown which schools will formally implement it.
Trump, who has continually defended the Confederate flag, said earlier this summer that a “Black Lives Matter” mural was “a symbol of hate,” and retweeted a video of a white man driving a golf cart adorned with Trump campaign posters, shouting, “White power!”
On Friday, the president banned federal agencies from conducting racial sensitivity training related to “white privilege” and “critical race theory.”
A memo from the director of the Office of Management and Budget states that “these types of ‘trainings’ not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the federal workforce.”
“This is a sickness that cannot be allowed to continue. Please report any sightings so we can quickly extinguish!” Trump wrote Saturday in a retweet of an article entitled “Trump Orders Purge of ‘Critical Race Theory'”
In his Fourth of July speech at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota earlier this year, Trump suggested public schools were partly responsible for the calls across the U.S. to remove statues honoring Confederate generals and other historical figures. “Our children are taught in school to hate their own country and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but that were villains,” Trump declared. “The radical view of American history is a web of lies.” In late July, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas introduced legislation intended to prevent the 1619 project from making its way into public schools. Cotton’s Saving American History Act of 2020 “would prohibit the use of federal funds to teach the 1619 Project by K-12 schools or school districts. Schools that teach the 1619 Project would also be ineligible for federal professional-development grants.”
55%: That’s the percentage of U.S adults who say relations between white and Black Americans are “very bad” or “somewhat bad,” according to a Gallup poll published earlier this week. The percentage of Americans (44%) saying race relations are “good” is the lowest percentage Gallup has recorded in the 20 years they have been tracking this data.
1619 Project (NYT)