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July 7, 2015

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I have a hard time wrapping my head around the dichotomy between 'heritage' and 'hate' in these discussions. Why exactly are these two ideas supposed to be mutually exclusive? I guess it's mainly because we've never really tried to reckon with slavery since the mid 1870s, and the effects of our collective head in the sand explain pretty much all of the so-called 'problems with race' since.

We've got dozens of Holocaust memorials and museums in the United States, which I think is a reflection both of the long history of Jewish culture in the US and of the role the US played in ending the Holocaust. On the other hand, we've got very few memorials to slaves, and virtually no museums to teach this important, painful, and essential part of our nation's history.

Germany has also got some Holocaust memorials and museums to help them sort out what that period means in their history. Eric Foner pointed out that if Germany had built a big bunch of memorials and museums to American slavery before they built any for the Holocaust, it might look as if they were trying to hide something.

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