Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute and host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast, comments on an article from the World Socialist Web Site by scholar Tom Mackaman, “American Historical Association President Issues Groveling Apology after Racialist Social Media Attack.” Here we have “the president of the American Historical Association, Professor James Sweet of the University of Wisconsin,” making a soft criticism of The 1619 Project and ending up having to publish “a groveling apology.” Sweet had criticized “the dominance of ‘presentism’ in historical writing.” According to Sweet, presentism is the “tendency to view history ‘through the prism of contemporary social justice issues—race, gender, sexuality, nationalism, capitalism,’ while minimizing ‘the values and mores of people in their own times.’” Mackaman comments that “the subject is certainly worthy of discussion, not apology and retraction.” Sweet had also suggested that “The 1619 Project’s insinuation that slavery was a uniquely American ‘original sin’” wasn’t quite right. He pointed to “a slaving site he’d recently visited in Ghana, Elmina,” regarding which “‘[l]ess than one percent of the Africans passing through…arrived in North America.’ Most of the other 99 percent, presumably, were bound to destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean.” So, the US was hardly exceptional in this regard. But in the face of social media criticism like, “as a ‘white man’ he has no right to make critical commentary on Black or African History,” Professor Sweet “crumpled in record speed,” as Mackaman put it, tweeting out an apology containing sentiments such as “I take full responsibility;” “I am deeply sorry;” “I sincerely regret;” “I hope to redeem myself.”
See also Mary Grabar, Debunking The 1619 Project: Exposing the Plan to Divide America (Regnery History, 2021).
See Tom Mackaman, “American Historical Association President Issues Groveling Apology after Racialist Social Media Attack,” World Socialist Web Site, August 23, 2022, https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/08/24/ogzj-a24.html; James H. Sweet, “Is History History? Identity Politics and Teleologies of the Present,” Perspectives on History, August 17, 2022, https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/september-2022/is-history-history-identity-politics-and-teleologies-of-the-present.
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