The spilling of public rage over the legitimacy or otherwise of Confederate statues, highlights a racist past that has festered, visible yet invisible, known yet unknown, pushed aside from rather than woven into a mainstream narrative. And the shattering of trust in the institutions of the American mainstream includes history itself. This has been revealed in recent weeks by historians wondering how to combat the new politics of memory after Charlottesville, coming out in defence of their value. But nostalgia for a past as a basis of the American dream endures.
This shift has made the traditional business models of newspapers obsolete
And that past is mostly remembered, edited, and erased by a society that is institutionally white. The phrase is itself an echo, as both Ronald Reagan and George H. The question that needs asking is when was America great and what else was at stake when America was great? But how then can a racist past be functionally retold and refolded into the present? The problem with history is that some of its very foundations — it archives and images — are always already toxic, reproducing rather than revealing its white lines.
For instance, the curator and producer Mark Sealy shows how existing fissures in the record of post-war black America is re-institutionalised over time. This includes images of black and white couples and those not focused on the conflict of the civil rights movement. How might putting your hope in God and believing He is bandaging your wounds help your heart begin to blossom again?
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Broken idols and a broken past
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