Black People : Khalil Gibran Muhammad:Both blacks and whites avoid facing contraditions in society

Mad Skillz

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In a blistering Independence Day weekend interview with PBS’s Bill Moyers, historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad dissected the contradictions between the American belief in equality and freedom and its actual treatment of its own citizens.
Muhammad, who is the head of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, told Moyers, “History is all around us. … People’s ideas about the past … shape their own sense of identity and shape how they imagine the world should be. … History is the building block of all knowledge in our society, and it is the most important part of the most significant tradition that human beings have, which is story-telling.”
He spoke in particular of the role of the founding fathers in perpetuating slavery, saying “they had a great responsibility for building what would become American democracy, and in that regard they failed miserably.”
“We were never taught,” Moyers commented. “that these men actually created a government, a constitution designed to protect the further acquisition of property for the privileged classes.”
Muhammad agreed, noting that Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal,” was one of the first to argue on scientific grounds that black people could be treated differently because they were biologically inferior.
He noted, however, that when he was a kid in Chicago, black people celebrated the Fourth of July just like white people, with fireworks and barbecue and with no concern for the historical problems. “That’s one of the other amazing contradictions in Americans,” he explained. “Americans — black, white, Asian-American, Latino-American — want to believe in this experiment, want to participate in this experiment, don’t want to carry the baggage of the past. They don’t want to live it, they don’t want to breathe it — it’s depressing.”


A full transcript of this program is available here:
http://billmoyers.com/wp-content/themes/billmoyers/transcript-print.php?post=10176

 

Fieldpea

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Oct 15, 2005
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In a blistering Independence Day weekend interview with PBS’s Bill Moyers, historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad dissected the contradictions between the American belief in equality and freedom and its actual treatment of its own citizens.
Muhammad, who is the head of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, told Moyers, “History is all around us. … People’s ideas about the past … shape their own sense of identity and shape how they imagine the world should be. … History is the building block of all knowledge in our society, and it is the most important part of the most significant tradition that human beings have, which is story-telling.”
He spoke in particular of the role of the founding fathers in perpetuating slavery, saying “they had a great responsibility for building what would become American democracy, and in that regard they failed miserably.”
“We were never taught,” Moyers commented. “that these men actually created a government, a constitution designed to protect the further acquisition of property for the privileged classes.”
Muhammad agreed, noting that Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal,” was one of the first to argue on scientific grounds that black people could be treated differently because they were biologically inferior.
He noted, however, that when he was a kid in Chicago, black people celebrated the Fourth of July just like white people, with fireworks and barbecue and with no concern for the historical problems. “That’s one of the other amazing contradictions in Americans,” he explained. “Americans — black, white, Asian-American, Latino-American — want to believe in this experiment, want to participate in this experiment, don’t want to carry the baggage of the past. They don’t want to live it, they don’t want to breathe it — it’s depressing.”


A full transcript of this program is available here:
http://billmoyers.com/wp-content/themes/billmoyers/transcript-print.php?post=10176



Great stuff. Wall to wall insight. I watched it all, and portions of it had my stomach muscles twisting and twinging.


One Love, and PEACE
 

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