The New York Times Sunday published a major project marking the 400th anniversary of the arrival of slaves on the shore of what is now the United States.

The entire Sunday magazine and a special print section were devoted to the topic. You probably could count, too, an extended look at the influence of black people in professional basketball in the sports section.

The core message seems indisputable: No aspect of the country has been untouched by slavery and the fallout resounds today. As one article put it in linking current politics to past plantation practices:

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America holds onto an undemocratic assumption from its founding: that some people deserve more power than others.

No kidding. The right-wing reaction to the work (white men leading the way) has been something to behold. It’s divisive to bring up slavery, say social media voices on the right. The work attacks the greatness that is America. Doesn’t the Times know we now live in a color-blind, post-racial world? Never mind voter ID laws and other vote suppression tactics; race-based immigration policies; income disparity; education disparity and more.

Here’s Newt Gingrich, who knows something about the politics of divisiveness:

 


The right-wingers see the effort, I gather, as embroidery of the exposition of Donald Trump’s history of racism. It’s much larger than that, though Trump is certainly a relevant point in the story. It’s worth a look.