Unchartered Territory

Ryan and I are working our way through the podcast series “Seeing White.” I’m impressed with the quality of the podcast, captivated by the storytelling, and appalled at the history I’ve only partly known.

A few thoughts/notes from Part 4, “On Crazy We Built a Nation”:

  • John and Chenjerai discuss the rhetoric of Martin Luther King, Jr., specifically his use of the Declaration of Independence to claim promised, but as yet undelivered, rights for African Americans. Chenjerai expressed concern for the way that this rhetoric sacrifices or looses the awareness of Jefferson’s actual intentions and of America’s true foundation — not equality for all people regardless of skin color, but economic freedom of whites from Britain.
  • I have sometimes heard the Founding Fathers discussed as tragic figures: they wanted to give freedom to slaves, but in order to unite the colonies, they needed to compromise on that issue. This episode calls that perspective into question.
  • “We are trying to become something this country has never been.”