John Kelly Echoes the President's Warped View of History

Last week, Chief of Staff John Kelly offered what may be the official White House position on historiography."I think we make a mistake as a society ... when we take what is today accepted as right and wrong and go back 100, 200, or 300 years or more and say what Christopher Columbus did was wrong," Kelly told Laura Ingraham in an interview on Fox News. It is true that one of the tasks of history is to understand the past on its own terms, to see the world of our predecessors with their eyes, and to grapple with them as moral agents, with the same capacities -- with the same humanity -- as ourselves. W.E.B. DuBois captured this in his prologue to Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880, when he informed readers that he intended to tell the story of the post-Civil War years "as though Negroes were ordinary human beings," a challenge to his white contemporaries who often treated them as historical objects for theories of race hierarchy, not humans acting and reacting as humans do.  Continue reading...

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