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Saturday, June 5, 2021

Tom Hanks spreads the word about Tulsa and other massacres

One hundred years after the Tulsa massacre it is finally being acknowledged on a wide scale - from President Biden to Tom Hanks.

Hanks in the NYTimes today:

 How different would perspectives be had we all been taught about Tulsa in 1921, even as early as the fifth grade? Today, I find the omission tragic, an opportunity missed, a teachable moment squandered. When people hear about systemic racism in America, just the use of those words draws the ire of those white people who insist that since July 4, 1776, we have all been free, we were all created equally, that any American can become president and catch a cab in Midtown Manhattan no matter the color of our skin, that, yes, American progress toward justice for all can be slow but remains relentless. Tell that to the century-old survivors of Tulsa and their offspring. And teach the truth to the white descendants of those in the mob that destroyed Black Wall Street.

Today, I think historically based fiction entertainment must portray the burden of racism in our nation for the sake of the art form’s claims to verisimilitude and authenticity. Until recently, the Tulsa Race Massacre was not seen in movies and TV shows. Thanks to several projects currently streaming, like “Watchmen” and “Lovecraft Country,” this is no longer the case. Like other historical documents that map our cultural DNA, they will reflect who we really are and help determine what is our full history, what we must remember.

Although this comment on Twitter is probably true:

I commented on the piece, which was published in the NYT:

Bravo to Tom Hanks for joining with others, including President Biden, during this past week in recognizing the tragedy of 1921. But missing from Hanks' piece is the year 1619. While many of us, of all ethnicities are struggling to understand how the story of the Tulsa massacre could be buried so thoroughly, Republicans and their race pseudo-science loving friends of the "Intellectual Dark Web" are attacking those associated with the 1619 Project, published in the NYTimes, exactly because the Project revealed how much slavery and its aftermath have shaped the United States. We should all talk about the suppression of knowledge of the 1921 massacre and we should also fight the attempts to suppress the 1619 Project.

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