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Meacham: Founders Wanted Critical Race Theory, ‘1619 Project’ to Be ‘Part of the Conversation’

Historian and author Jon Meacham said Friday on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut” that America’s Founding Fathers wanted ideas like critical race theory and “The 1619 Project” to be part of the national conversation.

Anchor Joy Reid said, “Yesterday, the  Tennessee general assembly banned critical race theory in the state. Arizona is on its way to doing the same, threatening to fine teachers already underpaid $5,000 if they break the law. None of this should shock you. Why would the Republican Party want to have a factual conversation about race, gender and equity?”

Meacham said, “I will say this, as a native Tennesseean and a resident of the state, in 1925, we decided to not teach another theory called evolution, and that didn’t work out very well in the long run. So whenever the Tennessee legislature gets into trying to ban free speech and the exploration of new ideas, we should be very wary.”

He continued, “Look, it’s possible that the pendulum, the spectrum for informed, reason-based conversation, could be out of whack. But it’s been out of whack on the white, prevailing white narrative for more than two-and-a-half centuries. So the fact that critical race theory and ‘The 1619 Project are part of the conversation now is, in fact, what the Founders wanted. Right? The American revolution was not least about giving reason a fighting chance in the arena of ideas and governance, with appetite, ambition and passion.”

Meacham added, “You should not be banning and shutting down conversations that you find uncomfortable.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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