Luke Harris and Joe Torres on America’s Racist Legacy

This week on CounterSpin: The crises we face right now in the USa nominally democratic political process that’s strangled by white supremacist values, a corporate profiteering system that mindlessly overrides human needs to treat the environment as just another “input”are terrible, but not, precisely, new. People have fought against these ideas in various forms before; and some strategies have been useful, others less so. The front line for us now is the fact that we have powerful actors who don’t just want to argue for particular ideas to guide us forward, but want to shut down the spaces in which we can have the arguments. And where a vigorous free press should be, we have corporate, commercial media that don’t have defending those spaces as their foremost concern.

One crucial thing we now know we need to pro-actively fight for: our right to learn and teach real US history.

Luke Harris

Listeners will have heard of the campaign against ‘critical race theory,’ a set of ideas of which rightwing opponents gleefully acknowledge they know and care nothing, but are using as cover to attack any race-conscious, that’s to say accurate and appropriate, teaching .

CounterSpin put that cynical but impactful campaign in context last July with Luke Harris, co-founder and

deputy director of the African American Policy Forum.

Late last June we talked about just the kind of story we would all know if our learning was inclusive and

Joe Torres

unafraid, the kind of story that would play a role in our understanding of the country’s growth—the 1921 massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in which 300 overwhelmingly Black people were killed, and some 800 shot or wounded. It’s a part of a sort of ‘hidden history’ that the press corps have a role in hiding, as we discussed with Joe Torres, senior director of strategy and engagement at the group Free Press, and co-author with Juan Gonzlez of News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media.


CounterSpin spoke with Luke Harris in July of 2021.


We spoke with Joe Torres in June 2021.

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