On the day the country celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, the Trump administration released a scathing rebuke of the civil rights movement, activists and projects that have railed against racial injustice and inequality.
Entitled “The 1776 Report,” the document said programs like affirmative action which were created as a result of the civil rights movement “ran counter to the lofty ideals of the (American) founders.”
The report is the work of a commission established by President Donald Trump in 2020 to promote “patriotic education” and counter The New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning work “The 1619 Project” — which teaches about American history from the vantage of the arrival of the first slaves from Africa to the American colony.
The administration’s document argues that viewing America’s Founding Fathers as hypocritical because they owned slaves is inaccurate.
“The most common charge levelled against the founders, and hence against our country itself, is that they were hypocrites who didn’t believe in their stated principles, and therefore the country they built rests on a lie. This charge is untrue, and has done enormous damage, especially in recent years, with a devastating effect on our civic unity and social fabric,” the report reads.
The report further posits the movement by educators to teach a more accurate, less white-washed version of history are guilty of revisionist history. A White House statement further added such efforts were “reckless re-education attempts.”
“Historical revisionism that tramples honest scholarship and historical truth, shames Americans by highlighting only the sins of their ancestors and teaches claims of systemic racism that can only be eliminated by more discrimination, is an ideology intended to manipulate opinions more than educate mind,” the report says of curriculums that teach history which deviates from traditional American textbooks. “Educators should teach an accurate history of how the permanent principles of America’s founding have been challenged and preserved since 1776.”
The report also says the current fight for equity has become “a system of explicit group privilege that, in the name of ‘social justice,’ demands equal results and explicitly sorts citizens into ‘protected classes’ based on race and other demographic categories.”
Such actions help shore up “identity politics,” the report continues, noting the result is “the opposite of King’s hope that his children would ‘live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.’”
The report also compared civil rights activists to slavery apologists, stating, “Indeed, there are uncanny similarities between 21st century activists of identity politics and 19th century apologists for slavery.”
The commission is chaired by Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn, who came under fire for calling Black and brown students “dark ones” in 2013 and co-chaired by Carol Swain, who said Islam “poses an absolute danger to us and our children,” CNN reported.
Politico and other outlets reported on how substantial sections of the propaganda product appear to have been plagiarized. In many cases large sections of the document were lifted in toto from various commission members’ previous writings without due citation to the earlier publications.
Twitter users pointed out how “on brand” such a report was for the Trump administration, noting it seemed it is determined to promote racism until its final hour.
“Racist propaganda on the way out. Sickening timing,” user @Erasmu77 responded. “Not missing one last chance to show how racist he is,” user @AllanMargolin wrote.
“The 1776 Commission’s report reads like it’s straight from a white supremacist’s manifesto. I’m not exaggerating. It’s riddled with nods to the Great Replacement theory,” user @AhmedBaba_ wrote.