The 1619 project

I bought the hardcover edition of The 1619 Project. It is very well-written for a scholarly work, and after the first chapter I had already learned quite a bit.
However, its editing was abysmal, such a horrible job I wondered if it was edited at all. Its editor was embarrassingly incompetent. By the end of the first chapter I had already found three errors. The first was a homophonic spelling error; of course, spell checkers can't catch them. "Basis" was spelled "bases". Oddly, I found no errors after the first chapter except the continuation of one of them.
The second error was grammatical and appears to be repeated throughout the book. A race's name, like Caucasian, Hispanic, etc. should be capitalized. The Black race is capitalized in the book, but not the White race. This simple grammar error will lead many readers to believe that the author is a racist! Abysmal.
These types of errors hinder comprehension. On page 116 it reads "...a fresh wave of white terrorism..." which when dissected suggests that there is actually a good form of terrorism. It should have read "...a fresh wave of White terrorism..." leaving no doubt that this was evil terrorism by White people, not some kind of good terrorism.
The third error, on page 38 is two run-on words; "shall be" was printed "shallbe". It quoted an old text, and if that is how the original text was written, it should have been followed by "[sic]" or simply corrected.
My education was in the visual arts (handy for cover design), and the closest thing to a college level English or writing class I took was one on verbal logic. Any writing skills I possess were learned by example; I've probably read tens of thousands of books, some very well written and some had terrible writing. An example is True Grit, one of only two poorly written books I've read that the movie was much better than; in this case, both movies. It was a good story, poorly written.
When I say 1610 was well-written, I mean for a scholarly work. I worked with government scientists for decades and read a lot of scientific and government reports. They were all horribly written. One in particular stands out in my memory decades later: a paper with various forms of the word "enumerate" a dozen times in the first sentence, without once using the word "count".
I saw the excellent movie We Were Soldiers, and since the book a movie's script is from is almost always better, I bought the book. Its writing was almost as bad as a government report; the writing followed all of the rules and was still abysmal. It's hard to imagine a war story that can be boring, but that one was. I shelved it after forty pages.
1610 is slightly better written than the average college textbook, but every bit as informative as any textbook I've ever read. It's obvious its writer is an avid reader, but as nonfiction texts go, she's no Isaac Asimov. He himself, my favorite writer, was no Stephen King.
Halfway through the book I realized where the noise about "critical race theory", something that is only taught in law school, came from. What the racist right calls "CRT" is really this book. As former US Vice President Al Gore might say, it is full of inconvenient truths that are either missing or glossed over in public school history classes.
When I was in public school, the treatment of the indigenous peoples of the Americas wasn't really mentioned; maybe two sentences about the Trail of Tears. 1610 has a long chapter about how horrible our treatment of them was, especially under President Jackson, a truly evil man.
It appears that in this century they're at least starting to teach about slavery in grade school. When my youngest daughter was eight or ten, her best friend was a black girl who lived in the neighborhood, whom she had gone to school with since first grade. When they learned about slavery, Patty asked her friend how could she not hate White people? Navisha answered that it was White people who freed her ancestors from slavery.
But it's easy to see how 1610, better known as "CRT", would make it look as if every White person in history was evil, because of what 1610 leaves out. When Patty told me that, I informed her that on my mom's side of my family, there were abolitionists who started the underground railroad. The book mentions Harriot Tubman, and from the book you might think that the railroad was an all Black thing. Of course, it couldn't be, the safe houses were all owned by Whites, the only way it could work. Jones would have you think that every White person in history was an evil racist, including Abraham Lincoln. The truth is that we all have evil in us.
Ms. Jones barely touched on classism, which is what racism is based on. India has had institutional classism for its entire history. Its "untouchables" were America's Blacks. She mentioned our racial hierarchies without mentioning class at all, and both racism and classism is because of money.
Both racism and classism go all the way back to our prehistoric roots, as does slavery and all other evils. The Jewish Torah, the Muslim Quran, and the Christian Bible all document the Egyptians' enslavement of the Jewish people, who have been hated by racists for millennia and probably since Moses' children himself.
All in all, it's an excellent book. I especially think every White racist in America should be forced to read it, at gunpoint if necessary.

A little advice for a Terrorist War Criminal
Waking Up Is Hard to Do
1984 China
The Robots
Marijuana Myths
A Gift from God?
Last year's stories and articles

Share on Facebook

You can read or download my books for free here. No ads, no login, just free books.