What Had Happened Was Trending stories on the intersections of race, sports & culture

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is beyond real

and it might be too much for some people to handle

4:00 PMAfter visiting America’s black history museum Wednesday, I have one major concern. It’s not with the content. That’s incredible. It’s not with the building. It’s majestic. It’s with the application of the reality. The exhibit starts on a subterranean level that takes you back not just to slavery as a loose and overarchingly complex and terrible moment in time, but to a very specific creation of America from a historical standpoint. Many people just plainly might not be able to deal.

It explains how race was an important factor in solidifying the social order that would make such a thing as slavery possible. It points out that slavery among Africans as a system, not dissimilar to systems of servitude that also ruled Europe, was brutal but somehow sustainable. There are multitudes of graphics pointing out very specifically which European nations did what, and how they profited. What’s made clear in no uncertain terms is exactly how white settlers and landowners profited from free labor, and not just in an ethereal “oh, this was horrible” kind of way.

There is a portion that points out why, for many plantation owners, it was literally more profitable to work African slaves to death, rather than keep them alive. Even for someone who’s seen slave-dealing ports in Africa and the Deep South, there is a very jarring historical reality to having it all laid bare in such a clear manner. It wouldn’t surprise me to see people getting into arguments at the museum over the content. And if a white guy named Davenport and a black guy named Davenport are doing it, that’s an awkward reality to confront right there in the exhibit.

Just think of a room full of people doing their best “well, actually” lines in a Smithsonian museum because they can’t deal with the basic reality of their own roots. The tour guides are going to have the hardest jobs in the world. That’s the problem with supremacy and privilege. When it’s challenged or questioned, you begin to believe that you are, in fact, the one dealing with oppression because it’s a dramatic paradigm shift from your world.

So to walk by column after column detailing the hundreds of thousands of people who were brought to each state for a specific reason, there’s no way that the “oh, my grandma’s racist, but she’s not deplorable because she baked me cookies” argument even begins to fly. Reading the numbers of exactly how much wealth was obtained via black backs on a Smithsonian wall is beyond moving. The fact is it’s not about Ku Klux Klan gear-waving white folks or sellout black folks, it’s basically greed that fueled the largest human trafficking operation in history. Reconciling that is not an easy thing to do.

I’m not a historian, but I’ve learned a few things, to borrow and bastardize a relatively famous lyric. There are artifacts and trinkets that will widen the eyes of history geeks. But there are plenty of people who will be moved by the basic amount of information available about this country’s and perhaps more specifically the globe’s original sin. You don’t have to walk up to every placard and read the fine print to get a VAST education on how slavery created the very concept of industry.

Before this, the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam was the best museum-level application of telling the story of slavery I’d ever seen. The NMAAHC outdoes it by a wide margin. Upstairs, there are tons of more fun, enriching and celebratory installations and things to make you smile through the struggle. But that bottom floor is as hardcore as it gets.

If Dabo Swinney and Clemson win the national championship and come to Washington, D.C., to be honored by the president, I hope he and his team make a trip to see it.

All Day Podcast: 9/13/16

Domonique Foxworth fills in for Justin Tinsley this week

4:00 PMAfter visiting America’s black history museum Wednesday, I have one major concern. It’s not with the content. That’s incredible. It’s not with the building. It’s majestic. It’s with the application of the reality. The exhibit starts on a subterranean level that takes you back not just to slavery as a loose and overarchingly complex and terrible moment in time, but to a very specific creation of America from a historical standpoint. Many people just plainly might not be able to deal.

It explains how race was an important factor in solidifying the social order that would make such a thing as slavery possible. It points out that slavery among Africans as a system, not dissimilar to systems of servitude that also ruled Europe, was brutal but somehow sustainable. There are multitudes of graphics pointing out very specifically which European nations did what, and how they profited. What’s made clear in no uncertain terms is exactly how white settlers and landowners profited from free labor, and not just in an ethereal “oh, this was horrible” kind of way.

There is a portion that points out why, for many plantation owners, it was literally more profitable to work African slaves to death, rather than keep them alive. Even for someone who’s seen slave-dealing ports in Africa and the Deep South, there is a very jarring historical reality to having it all laid bare in such a clear manner. It wouldn’t surprise me to see people getting into arguments at the museum over the content. And if a white guy named Davenport and a black guy named Davenport are doing it, that’s an awkward reality to confront right there in the exhibit.

Just think of a room full of people doing their best “well, actually” lines in a Smithsonian museum because they can’t deal with the basic reality of their own roots. The tour guides are going to have the hardest jobs in the world. That’s the problem with supremacy and privilege. When it’s challenged or questioned, you begin to believe that you are, in fact, the one dealing with oppression because it’s a dramatic paradigm shift from your world.

So to walk by column after column detailing the hundreds of thousands of people who were brought to each state for a specific reason, there’s no way that the “oh, my grandma’s racist, but she’s not deplorable because she baked me cookies” argument even begins to fly. Reading the numbers of exactly how much wealth was obtained via black backs on a Smithsonian wall is beyond moving. The fact is it’s not about Ku Klux Klan gear-waving white folks or sellout black folks, it’s basically greed that fueled the largest human trafficking operation in history. Reconciling that is not an easy thing to do.

I’m not a historian, but I’ve learned a few things, to borrow and bastardize a relatively famous lyric. There are artifacts and trinkets that will widen the eyes of history geeks. But there are plenty of people who will be moved by the basic amount of information available about this country’s and perhaps more specifically the globe’s original sin. You don’t have to walk up to every placard and read the fine print to get a VAST education on how slavery created the very concept of industry.

Before this, the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam was the best museum-level application of telling the story of slavery I’d ever seen. The NMAAHC outdoes it by a wide margin. Upstairs, there are tons of more fun, enriching and celebratory installations and things to make you smile through the struggle. But that bottom floor is as hardcore as it gets.

If Dabo Swinney and Clemson win the national championship and come to Washington, D.C., to be honored by the president, I hope he and his team make a trip to see it.

The best and worst of the NFL’s new Color Rush uniforms

See what’s hot and what’s not

4:00 PMAfter visiting America’s black history museum Wednesday, I have one major concern. It’s not with the content. That’s incredible. It’s not with the building. It’s majestic. It’s with the application of the reality. The exhibit starts on a subterranean level that takes you back not just to slavery as a loose and overarchingly complex and terrible moment in time, but to a very specific creation of America from a historical standpoint. Many people just plainly might not be able to deal.

It explains how race was an important factor in solidifying the social order that would make such a thing as slavery possible. It points out that slavery among Africans as a system, not dissimilar to systems of servitude that also ruled Europe, was brutal but somehow sustainable. There are multitudes of graphics pointing out very specifically which European nations did what, and how they profited. What’s made clear in no uncertain terms is exactly how white settlers and landowners profited from free labor, and not just in an ethereal “oh, this was horrible” kind of way.

There is a portion that points out why, for many plantation owners, it was literally more profitable to work African slaves to death, rather than keep them alive. Even for someone who’s seen slave-dealing ports in Africa and the Deep South, there is a very jarring historical reality to having it all laid bare in such a clear manner. It wouldn’t surprise me to see people getting into arguments at the museum over the content. And if a white guy named Davenport and a black guy named Davenport are doing it, that’s an awkward reality to confront right there in the exhibit.

Just think of a room full of people doing their best “well, actually” lines in a Smithsonian museum because they can’t deal with the basic reality of their own roots. The tour guides are going to have the hardest jobs in the world. That’s the problem with supremacy and privilege. When it’s challenged or questioned, you begin to believe that you are, in fact, the one dealing with oppression because it’s a dramatic paradigm shift from your world.

So to walk by column after column detailing the hundreds of thousands of people who were brought to each state for a specific reason, there’s no way that the “oh, my grandma’s racist, but she’s not deplorable because she baked me cookies” argument even begins to fly. Reading the numbers of exactly how much wealth was obtained via black backs on a Smithsonian wall is beyond moving. The fact is it’s not about Ku Klux Klan gear-waving white folks or sellout black folks, it’s basically greed that fueled the largest human trafficking operation in history. Reconciling that is not an easy thing to do.

I’m not a historian, but I’ve learned a few things, to borrow and bastardize a relatively famous lyric. There are artifacts and trinkets that will widen the eyes of history geeks. But there are plenty of people who will be moved by the basic amount of information available about this country’s and perhaps more specifically the globe’s original sin. You don’t have to walk up to every placard and read the fine print to get a VAST education on how slavery created the very concept of industry.

Before this, the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam was the best museum-level application of telling the story of slavery I’d ever seen. The NMAAHC outdoes it by a wide margin. Upstairs, there are tons of more fun, enriching and celebratory installations and things to make you smile through the struggle. But that bottom floor is as hardcore as it gets.

If Dabo Swinney and Clemson win the national championship and come to Washington, D.C., to be honored by the president, I hope he and his team make a trip to see it.

New Tupac biopic trailer is haunting

The Benny Boom-directed movie is set for a November release

4:00 PMAfter visiting America’s black history museum Wednesday, I have one major concern. It’s not with the content. That’s incredible. It’s not with the building. It’s majestic. It’s with the application of the reality. The exhibit starts on a subterranean level that takes you back not just to slavery as a loose and overarchingly complex and terrible moment in time, but to a very specific creation of America from a historical standpoint. Many people just plainly might not be able to deal.

It explains how race was an important factor in solidifying the social order that would make such a thing as slavery possible. It points out that slavery among Africans as a system, not dissimilar to systems of servitude that also ruled Europe, was brutal but somehow sustainable. There are multitudes of graphics pointing out very specifically which European nations did what, and how they profited. What’s made clear in no uncertain terms is exactly how white settlers and landowners profited from free labor, and not just in an ethereal “oh, this was horrible” kind of way.

There is a portion that points out why, for many plantation owners, it was literally more profitable to work African slaves to death, rather than keep them alive. Even for someone who’s seen slave-dealing ports in Africa and the Deep South, there is a very jarring historical reality to having it all laid bare in such a clear manner. It wouldn’t surprise me to see people getting into arguments at the museum over the content. And if a white guy named Davenport and a black guy named Davenport are doing it, that’s an awkward reality to confront right there in the exhibit.

Just think of a room full of people doing their best “well, actually” lines in a Smithsonian museum because they can’t deal with the basic reality of their own roots. The tour guides are going to have the hardest jobs in the world. That’s the problem with supremacy and privilege. When it’s challenged or questioned, you begin to believe that you are, in fact, the one dealing with oppression because it’s a dramatic paradigm shift from your world.

So to walk by column after column detailing the hundreds of thousands of people who were brought to each state for a specific reason, there’s no way that the “oh, my grandma’s racist, but she’s not deplorable because she baked me cookies” argument even begins to fly. Reading the numbers of exactly how much wealth was obtained via black backs on a Smithsonian wall is beyond moving. The fact is it’s not about Ku Klux Klan gear-waving white folks or sellout black folks, it’s basically greed that fueled the largest human trafficking operation in history. Reconciling that is not an easy thing to do.

I’m not a historian, but I’ve learned a few things, to borrow and bastardize a relatively famous lyric. There are artifacts and trinkets that will widen the eyes of history geeks. But there are plenty of people who will be moved by the basic amount of information available about this country’s and perhaps more specifically the globe’s original sin. You don’t have to walk up to every placard and read the fine print to get a VAST education on how slavery created the very concept of industry.

Before this, the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam was the best museum-level application of telling the story of slavery I’d ever seen. The NMAAHC outdoes it by a wide margin. Upstairs, there are tons of more fun, enriching and celebratory installations and things to make you smile through the struggle. But that bottom floor is as hardcore as it gets.

If Dabo Swinney and Clemson win the national championship and come to Washington, D.C., to be honored by the president, I hope he and his team make a trip to see it.

Locker Room Lawyer

Locker Room Lawyer, Episode 7: National anthem protests

Which is the better protest: kneeling or raising a fist?

1:24 PMIn this week’s edition of Locker Room Lawyer, Clinton Yates and Domonique Foxworth take the case of national anthem protests by players across the NFL to The Undefeated courtroom.

During Week 1 of the NFL regular season, 18 players followed the lead of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick by protesting the national anthem before games due to injustices black people face in this country. Some, like Kaepernick, knelt while The Star-Spangled Banner was played. Others raised a fist in the air and bowed their heads, a nod to the “Black Power salute” popularized by sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

But which one is the better protest?

Domonique, the Locker Room Lawyer, takes the side of the players who rose their fists. Clinton sides with the players who knelt.

Check out the video, and if you have any professional athlete in mind (past or present) who needs the Locker Room Lawyer’s representation, feel free to email us at allday@theundefeated.com with episode ideas. Also, check out our weekly All Day Podcast.

Daily Dose: 9/13/16

Edward Snowden is going big with the requests

4:00 PMAfter visiting America’s black history museum Wednesday, I have one major concern. It’s not with the content. That’s incredible. It’s not with the building. It’s majestic. It’s with the application of the reality. The exhibit starts on a subterranean level that takes you back not just to slavery as a loose and overarchingly complex and terrible moment in time, but to a very specific creation of America from a historical standpoint. Many people just plainly might not be able to deal.

It explains how race was an important factor in solidifying the social order that would make such a thing as slavery possible. It points out that slavery among Africans as a system, not dissimilar to systems of servitude that also ruled Europe, was brutal but somehow sustainable. There are multitudes of graphics pointing out very specifically which European nations did what, and how they profited. What’s made clear in no uncertain terms is exactly how white settlers and landowners profited from free labor, and not just in an ethereal “oh, this was horrible” kind of way.

There is a portion that points out why, for many plantation owners, it was literally more profitable to work African slaves to death, rather than keep them alive. Even for someone who’s seen slave-dealing ports in Africa and the Deep South, there is a very jarring historical reality to having it all laid bare in such a clear manner. It wouldn’t surprise me to see people getting into arguments at the museum over the content. And if a white guy named Davenport and a black guy named Davenport are doing it, that’s an awkward reality to confront right there in the exhibit.

Just think of a room full of people doing their best “well, actually” lines in a Smithsonian museum because they can’t deal with the basic reality of their own roots. The tour guides are going to have the hardest jobs in the world. That’s the problem with supremacy and privilege. When it’s challenged or questioned, you begin to believe that you are, in fact, the one dealing with oppression because it’s a dramatic paradigm shift from your world.

So to walk by column after column detailing the hundreds of thousands of people who were brought to each state for a specific reason, there’s no way that the “oh, my grandma’s racist, but she’s not deplorable because she baked me cookies” argument even begins to fly. Reading the numbers of exactly how much wealth was obtained via black backs on a Smithsonian wall is beyond moving. The fact is it’s not about Ku Klux Klan gear-waving white folks or sellout black folks, it’s basically greed that fueled the largest human trafficking operation in history. Reconciling that is not an easy thing to do.

I’m not a historian, but I’ve learned a few things, to borrow and bastardize a relatively famous lyric. There are artifacts and trinkets that will widen the eyes of history geeks. But there are plenty of people who will be moved by the basic amount of information available about this country’s and perhaps more specifically the globe’s original sin. You don’t have to walk up to every placard and read the fine print to get a VAST education on how slavery created the very concept of industry.

Before this, the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam was the best museum-level application of telling the story of slavery I’d ever seen. The NMAAHC outdoes it by a wide margin. Upstairs, there are tons of more fun, enriching and celebratory installations and things to make you smile through the struggle. But that bottom floor is as hardcore as it gets.

If Dabo Swinney and Clemson win the national championship and come to Washington, D.C., to be honored by the president, I hope he and his team make a trip to see it.

Adam Jones supports NFL protests

Orioles outfielder calls baseball ‘a white man’s sport’

4:00 PMAfter visiting America’s black history museum Wednesday, I have one major concern. It’s not with the content. That’s incredible. It’s not with the building. It’s majestic. It’s with the application of the reality. The exhibit starts on a subterranean level that takes you back not just to slavery as a loose and overarchingly complex and terrible moment in time, but to a very specific creation of America from a historical standpoint. Many people just plainly might not be able to deal.

It explains how race was an important factor in solidifying the social order that would make such a thing as slavery possible. It points out that slavery among Africans as a system, not dissimilar to systems of servitude that also ruled Europe, was brutal but somehow sustainable. There are multitudes of graphics pointing out very specifically which European nations did what, and how they profited. What’s made clear in no uncertain terms is exactly how white settlers and landowners profited from free labor, and not just in an ethereal “oh, this was horrible” kind of way.

There is a portion that points out why, for many plantation owners, it was literally more profitable to work African slaves to death, rather than keep them alive. Even for someone who’s seen slave-dealing ports in Africa and the Deep South, there is a very jarring historical reality to having it all laid bare in such a clear manner. It wouldn’t surprise me to see people getting into arguments at the museum over the content. And if a white guy named Davenport and a black guy named Davenport are doing it, that’s an awkward reality to confront right there in the exhibit.

Just think of a room full of people doing their best “well, actually” lines in a Smithsonian museum because they can’t deal with the basic reality of their own roots. The tour guides are going to have the hardest jobs in the world. That’s the problem with supremacy and privilege. When it’s challenged or questioned, you begin to believe that you are, in fact, the one dealing with oppression because it’s a dramatic paradigm shift from your world.

So to walk by column after column detailing the hundreds of thousands of people who were brought to each state for a specific reason, there’s no way that the “oh, my grandma’s racist, but she’s not deplorable because she baked me cookies” argument even begins to fly. Reading the numbers of exactly how much wealth was obtained via black backs on a Smithsonian wall is beyond moving. The fact is it’s not about Ku Klux Klan gear-waving white folks or sellout black folks, it’s basically greed that fueled the largest human trafficking operation in history. Reconciling that is not an easy thing to do.

I’m not a historian, but I’ve learned a few things, to borrow and bastardize a relatively famous lyric. There are artifacts and trinkets that will widen the eyes of history geeks. But there are plenty of people who will be moved by the basic amount of information available about this country’s and perhaps more specifically the globe’s original sin. You don’t have to walk up to every placard and read the fine print to get a VAST education on how slavery created the very concept of industry.

Before this, the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam was the best museum-level application of telling the story of slavery I’d ever seen. The NMAAHC outdoes it by a wide margin. Upstairs, there are tons of more fun, enriching and celebratory installations and things to make you smile through the struggle. But that bottom floor is as hardcore as it gets.

If Dabo Swinney and Clemson win the national championship and come to Washington, D.C., to be honored by the president, I hope he and his team make a trip to see it.

Daily Dose: 9/12/16

Hillary Clinton’s health becomes an issue on the campaign trail

4:00 PMAfter visiting America’s black history museum Wednesday, I have one major concern. It’s not with the content. That’s incredible. It’s not with the building. It’s majestic. It’s with the application of the reality. The exhibit starts on a subterranean level that takes you back not just to slavery as a loose and overarchingly complex and terrible moment in time, but to a very specific creation of America from a historical standpoint. Many people just plainly might not be able to deal.

It explains how race was an important factor in solidifying the social order that would make such a thing as slavery possible. It points out that slavery among Africans as a system, not dissimilar to systems of servitude that also ruled Europe, was brutal but somehow sustainable. There are multitudes of graphics pointing out very specifically which European nations did what, and how they profited. What’s made clear in no uncertain terms is exactly how white settlers and landowners profited from free labor, and not just in an ethereal “oh, this was horrible” kind of way.

There is a portion that points out why, for many plantation owners, it was literally more profitable to work African slaves to death, rather than keep them alive. Even for someone who’s seen slave-dealing ports in Africa and the Deep South, there is a very jarring historical reality to having it all laid bare in such a clear manner. It wouldn’t surprise me to see people getting into arguments at the museum over the content. And if a white guy named Davenport and a black guy named Davenport are doing it, that’s an awkward reality to confront right there in the exhibit.

Just think of a room full of people doing their best “well, actually” lines in a Smithsonian museum because they can’t deal with the basic reality of their own roots. The tour guides are going to have the hardest jobs in the world. That’s the problem with supremacy and privilege. When it’s challenged or questioned, you begin to believe that you are, in fact, the one dealing with oppression because it’s a dramatic paradigm shift from your world.

So to walk by column after column detailing the hundreds of thousands of people who were brought to each state for a specific reason, there’s no way that the “oh, my grandma’s racist, but she’s not deplorable because she baked me cookies” argument even begins to fly. Reading the numbers of exactly how much wealth was obtained via black backs on a Smithsonian wall is beyond moving. The fact is it’s not about Ku Klux Klan gear-waving white folks or sellout black folks, it’s basically greed that fueled the largest human trafficking operation in history. Reconciling that is not an easy thing to do.

I’m not a historian, but I’ve learned a few things, to borrow and bastardize a relatively famous lyric. There are artifacts and trinkets that will widen the eyes of history geeks. But there are plenty of people who will be moved by the basic amount of information available about this country’s and perhaps more specifically the globe’s original sin. You don’t have to walk up to every placard and read the fine print to get a VAST education on how slavery created the very concept of industry.

Before this, the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam was the best museum-level application of telling the story of slavery I’d ever seen. The NMAAHC outdoes it by a wide margin. Upstairs, there are tons of more fun, enriching and celebratory installations and things to make you smile through the struggle. But that bottom floor is as hardcore as it gets.

If Dabo Swinney and Clemson win the national championship and come to Washington, D.C., to be honored by the president, I hope he and his team make a trip to see it.

LeBron James’ empire grows in the TV world

He’s got another show on deck

4:00 PMAfter visiting America’s black history museum Wednesday, I have one major concern. It’s not with the content. That’s incredible. It’s not with the building. It’s majestic. It’s with the application of the reality. The exhibit starts on a subterranean level that takes you back not just to slavery as a loose and overarchingly complex and terrible moment in time, but to a very specific creation of America from a historical standpoint. Many people just plainly might not be able to deal.

It explains how race was an important factor in solidifying the social order that would make such a thing as slavery possible. It points out that slavery among Africans as a system, not dissimilar to systems of servitude that also ruled Europe, was brutal but somehow sustainable. There are multitudes of graphics pointing out very specifically which European nations did what, and how they profited. What’s made clear in no uncertain terms is exactly how white settlers and landowners profited from free labor, and not just in an ethereal “oh, this was horrible” kind of way.

There is a portion that points out why, for many plantation owners, it was literally more profitable to work African slaves to death, rather than keep them alive. Even for someone who’s seen slave-dealing ports in Africa and the Deep South, there is a very jarring historical reality to having it all laid bare in such a clear manner. It wouldn’t surprise me to see people getting into arguments at the museum over the content. And if a white guy named Davenport and a black guy named Davenport are doing it, that’s an awkward reality to confront right there in the exhibit.

Just think of a room full of people doing their best “well, actually” lines in a Smithsonian museum because they can’t deal with the basic reality of their own roots. The tour guides are going to have the hardest jobs in the world. That’s the problem with supremacy and privilege. When it’s challenged or questioned, you begin to believe that you are, in fact, the one dealing with oppression because it’s a dramatic paradigm shift from your world.

So to walk by column after column detailing the hundreds of thousands of people who were brought to each state for a specific reason, there’s no way that the “oh, my grandma’s racist, but she’s not deplorable because she baked me cookies” argument even begins to fly. Reading the numbers of exactly how much wealth was obtained via black backs on a Smithsonian wall is beyond moving. The fact is it’s not about Ku Klux Klan gear-waving white folks or sellout black folks, it’s basically greed that fueled the largest human trafficking operation in history. Reconciling that is not an easy thing to do.

I’m not a historian, but I’ve learned a few things, to borrow and bastardize a relatively famous lyric. There are artifacts and trinkets that will widen the eyes of history geeks. But there are plenty of people who will be moved by the basic amount of information available about this country’s and perhaps more specifically the globe’s original sin. You don’t have to walk up to every placard and read the fine print to get a VAST education on how slavery created the very concept of industry.

Before this, the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam was the best museum-level application of telling the story of slavery I’d ever seen. The NMAAHC outdoes it by a wide margin. Upstairs, there are tons of more fun, enriching and celebratory installations and things to make you smile through the struggle. But that bottom floor is as hardcore as it gets.

If Dabo Swinney and Clemson win the national championship and come to Washington, D.C., to be honored by the president, I hope he and his team make a trip to see it.

Daily Dose: 9/9/16

Brandon Marshall in support of Colin Kaepernick

4:00 PMAfter visiting America’s black history museum Wednesday, I have one major concern. It’s not with the content. That’s incredible. It’s not with the building. It’s majestic. It’s with the application of the reality. The exhibit starts on a subterranean level that takes you back not just to slavery as a loose and overarchingly complex and terrible moment in time, but to a very specific creation of America from a historical standpoint. Many people just plainly might not be able to deal.

It explains how race was an important factor in solidifying the social order that would make such a thing as slavery possible. It points out that slavery among Africans as a system, not dissimilar to systems of servitude that also ruled Europe, was brutal but somehow sustainable. There are multitudes of graphics pointing out very specifically which European nations did what, and how they profited. What’s made clear in no uncertain terms is exactly how white settlers and landowners profited from free labor, and not just in an ethereal “oh, this was horrible” kind of way.

There is a portion that points out why, for many plantation owners, it was literally more profitable to work African slaves to death, rather than keep them alive. Even for someone who’s seen slave-dealing ports in Africa and the Deep South, there is a very jarring historical reality to having it all laid bare in such a clear manner. It wouldn’t surprise me to see people getting into arguments at the museum over the content. And if a white guy named Davenport and a black guy named Davenport are doing it, that’s an awkward reality to confront right there in the exhibit.

Just think of a room full of people doing their best “well, actually” lines in a Smithsonian museum because they can’t deal with the basic reality of their own roots. The tour guides are going to have the hardest jobs in the world. That’s the problem with supremacy and privilege. When it’s challenged or questioned, you begin to believe that you are, in fact, the one dealing with oppression because it’s a dramatic paradigm shift from your world.

So to walk by column after column detailing the hundreds of thousands of people who were brought to each state for a specific reason, there’s no way that the “oh, my grandma’s racist, but she’s not deplorable because she baked me cookies” argument even begins to fly. Reading the numbers of exactly how much wealth was obtained via black backs on a Smithsonian wall is beyond moving. The fact is it’s not about Ku Klux Klan gear-waving white folks or sellout black folks, it’s basically greed that fueled the largest human trafficking operation in history. Reconciling that is not an easy thing to do.

I’m not a historian, but I’ve learned a few things, to borrow and bastardize a relatively famous lyric. There are artifacts and trinkets that will widen the eyes of history geeks. But there are plenty of people who will be moved by the basic amount of information available about this country’s and perhaps more specifically the globe’s original sin. You don’t have to walk up to every placard and read the fine print to get a VAST education on how slavery created the very concept of industry.

Before this, the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam was the best museum-level application of telling the story of slavery I’d ever seen. The NMAAHC outdoes it by a wide margin. Upstairs, there are tons of more fun, enriching and celebratory installations and things to make you smile through the struggle. But that bottom floor is as hardcore as it gets.

If Dabo Swinney and Clemson win the national championship and come to Washington, D.C., to be honored by the president, I hope he and his team make a trip to see it.

An ode to Serena Williams

My favorite athlete of all time

4:00 PMAfter visiting America’s black history museum Wednesday, I have one major concern. It’s not with the content. That’s incredible. It’s not with the building. It’s majestic. It’s with the application of the reality. The exhibit starts on a subterranean level that takes you back not just to slavery as a loose and overarchingly complex and terrible moment in time, but to a very specific creation of America from a historical standpoint. Many people just plainly might not be able to deal.

It explains how race was an important factor in solidifying the social order that would make such a thing as slavery possible. It points out that slavery among Africans as a system, not dissimilar to systems of servitude that also ruled Europe, was brutal but somehow sustainable. There are multitudes of graphics pointing out very specifically which European nations did what, and how they profited. What’s made clear in no uncertain terms is exactly how white settlers and landowners profited from free labor, and not just in an ethereal “oh, this was horrible” kind of way.

There is a portion that points out why, for many plantation owners, it was literally more profitable to work African slaves to death, rather than keep them alive. Even for someone who’s seen slave-dealing ports in Africa and the Deep South, there is a very jarring historical reality to having it all laid bare in such a clear manner. It wouldn’t surprise me to see people getting into arguments at the museum over the content. And if a white guy named Davenport and a black guy named Davenport are doing it, that’s an awkward reality to confront right there in the exhibit.

Just think of a room full of people doing their best “well, actually” lines in a Smithsonian museum because they can’t deal with the basic reality of their own roots. The tour guides are going to have the hardest jobs in the world. That’s the problem with supremacy and privilege. When it’s challenged or questioned, you begin to believe that you are, in fact, the one dealing with oppression because it’s a dramatic paradigm shift from your world.

So to walk by column after column detailing the hundreds of thousands of people who were brought to each state for a specific reason, there’s no way that the “oh, my grandma’s racist, but she’s not deplorable because she baked me cookies” argument even begins to fly. Reading the numbers of exactly how much wealth was obtained via black backs on a Smithsonian wall is beyond moving. The fact is it’s not about Ku Klux Klan gear-waving white folks or sellout black folks, it’s basically greed that fueled the largest human trafficking operation in history. Reconciling that is not an easy thing to do.

I’m not a historian, but I’ve learned a few things, to borrow and bastardize a relatively famous lyric. There are artifacts and trinkets that will widen the eyes of history geeks. But there are plenty of people who will be moved by the basic amount of information available about this country’s and perhaps more specifically the globe’s original sin. You don’t have to walk up to every placard and read the fine print to get a VAST education on how slavery created the very concept of industry.

Before this, the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam was the best museum-level application of telling the story of slavery I’d ever seen. The NMAAHC outdoes it by a wide margin. Upstairs, there are tons of more fun, enriching and celebratory installations and things to make you smile through the struggle. But that bottom floor is as hardcore as it gets.

If Dabo Swinney and Clemson win the national championship and come to Washington, D.C., to be honored by the president, I hope he and his team make a trip to see it.