The 10 Most Absurd Claims From Hulu’s ‘1619 Project’ Series

February 17th, 2023 9:15 AM

All six episodes of The 1619 Project series are out on Hulu, and some of the claims and statements made in the show’s episodes are so ridiculous and offensive they will probably leave your head-spinning.

Activist "journalist" Nikole Hannah-Jones’ along with Oprah Winfrey, who served as an executive producer, and some handpicked historians and commentators brought Hannah-Jones’ revisionist history to the screen and it’s just as bad, if not worse, than her original writings of The 1619 Project that were published by The New York Times Magazine back in August of 2019.

As for the absurd claims, below are the most egregious (in no particular order). 

In episode four, "Capitalism," Hannah-Jones interviews former Amazon worker Derrick Palmer and historian Caitlin Rosenthal, who help her weave together a narrative that working for Amazon on the assembly line is similar to picking cotton in a slave labor camp. I'm not kidding. 

Palmer: If you’re on the Amazon website, you put the item in your cart and boom, it literally pops up on your screen as a picker. When you’re looking at the screen it has something called tag time–– how long it takes you to scan this item. When you’re looking at this tag time for the entire shift and you have to keep it at  seven seconds. Ultimately throughout the day 4,000 items are picked even 5,000 items in a 10 hour shift.

Hannah-Jones: Not only did enslavers meticulously monitor the whereabouts and productivity of the enslaved, they also tracked the monetary value assessed to each enslaved individual. And what is this tracking here, it says value of commencement of the year and value at the end of the year and it looks like for many of these the value has gone up.

Rosenthal: So for example here, we have John who is age 70 –– at the beginning of the year, $50 dollars and at the end of the year $75 dollars. This is a sign the market is going up overall.

An assembly line gig is certainly tough work, but to compare it to slavery is simply outrageous and it waters down the true horrors of it. 

In this same episode, Hannah-Jones interviews "historian" Robin D.G. Kelley, who tries to make the case that not all people are "exploited equally" under capitalism. In other words, capitalism is racist. 

Hannah-Jones: You said that capitalism is structured through difference, what do you mean by that?

Kelley: It means that, value and wages or how people are compensated is determined by differences in race, by gender by age.

Hannah-Jones: So capitalism is designed to exploit labor in human beings, but not all people are exploited equally.

Kelley: Right.

Hannah-Jones: So you call this and others call this racial capitalism. Explain for people who have never heard that term before, what it means.

Kelley: Racial capitalism is capitalism, it’s one in the same. It means that there’s no such thing as a race neutral capitalism in the united states. It just doesn’t exist.

In episode six, "Justice," Hannah-Jones sits down with "economist" William Darity Jr. and together they make the case for reparations.

According to Darity's math, the total bill owed to black-American descendants of slaves would be at least around $14 trillion dollars. And apparently that would be "letting America off easy." 

Hannah-Jones: So if we base the case for reparations off of the racial wealth gap, what is the total amount that would be okay?

Darity: If we use the racial wealth gap as our standard, each individual should receive about $350,000 dollars since there are 40 million black-American descendants of slavery out of a total of 45 million black people in the United States. That would mean that the total bill would be approximately $14 trillion dollars now.

Hannah-Jones: Okay. Yeah, that's a big number.

Darity: Yeah, there are bigger numbers though. It is a big debt. But you know, I've seen estimates of the bill that have run as high as $6.2 quadrillion dollars. So yeah, I do think it's helpful –– $14 trillion might be letting, you know, America off a little bit easier. I mean, pretty much any number you put on. It would be letting America off easy.

Hannah-Jones: Probably.

So who's responsible for paying for all this? Would there be a tax on just white Americans? Would immigrants living in America with no family ties to slave owners be forced into paying reparations? 

Would Hannah-Jones, need to pay her fair share considering her biological mother is white? 

None of that is actually answered in this series, but we do learn a lot more about what is "racist" –– and the list is very long. It even includes health care. 

In episode two, "Race," a tragic story is told of a women by the name of Chrissy Sample who lost one of her twins during pregnancy. This unfortunate death is used as an example of systemic racism in medicine. This was all said as if it were fact, without any legitimate evidence to back up the claims. 

The name of the alleged racist doctor who worked in the New York City area was never shared, and it doesn't sound like the doctor was ever fired or even investigated for racism or the death of an unborn baby. 

One would hope that a "racist" doctor operating in the "Big Apple," who is denying minority women of proper health care leading to deaths, would be prosecuted to the fullest extent.

It's odd that there was no follow up to this story. 

Hannah-Jones: The death of Chrissy's son, whom she and her husband named Apollo cannot be attributed to poverty or poor medical coverage. Chrissy is a middle class mom with good health care benefits. Instead, her birthing outcome might be a reflection of the unconscious racial bias that is a part of so many black women's experiences in this country, Research shows that race or more accurately racism and racial inequality also contribute to higher death rates for black women and their babies. 

Dr. Veronica Gillispie-Bell, MD: The legacy of slavery is so ingrained in our system and we don't even see it. So if we think about slavery and we think about how the black woman was utilized, she was not allowed to take care of her kids, she was not able to breastfeed her Children. And so what has translated from that today in our biases that black women don't want to take care of their kids when we have our unconscious bias and our unconscious beliefs that cause us to not listen to black women when they complain.

In episode one, "Democracy," Hannah-Jones tries to argue that white people only believe in democracy as long as "it doesn’t require sharing power with multiracial citizens."  Again no facts, just more feelings. 

We’ve made tremendous progress toward realizing our democratic ideals, and yet the ongoing fight over voting and elections show that a significant portion of our country still doesn’t believe in democracy, if democracy requires sharing power with multiracial citizens in our multiracial nation. I think a lot about what it would take for a true democracy to take shape in this country, and I worry about how the nation will respond to what is clearly a democratic crisis. 

The series also delves into ‘voter suppression' –– which turns to fear-mongering and the spreading of falsehoods about newly passed voting laws in states across the country, which were all introduced to bolster election integrity.

Hannah-Jones: And the attack on the democratic process only escalated in the wake of the 2020 election.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.): We are witnessing an attempt at the greatest contraction of voting rights since the end of reconstruction and the beginning of Jim Crow.

Hannah-Jones: Since 2021 law makers have passed at least 42 restrictive voting laws in 21 states. And in Georgia one of the most heavily black states in the nation republicans passed the Election Integrity Act that created a long list of voting restrictions. After a pandemic era election saw the use of mail in ballots in record numbers, the law shrunk the number of ballot drop boxes and added ID requirements for absentee voting. Data show black Americans on average wait longer than white voters to cast their ballot and yet the law criminalizes passing out food and water to those standing in line to vote. And finally the law allows anyone to legally challenge the right of their fellow citizens to cast a ballot and created a new hotline to accept anonymous tips to report voter fraud.

There was no mention of the fact that ‘voter suppression’ in the state of Georgia turned out to be myth, not "Jim Crow 2.0." 

In fact, Georgia had seen record breaking early turnout in the elections after the laws were passed.

But why let facts get in the way of a good narrative?

Speaking of not letting facts get in the way, in episode five, "Fear," the whole episode uses police officers as punching bags while promoting the idea of systemic police racism –– which is obviously a myth. Are there bad cops who have committed evil and illegal acts while on the job? Yes. But is the issue widespread? No.

But that didn't stop Cecil Hayes from saying he fears he or his family members could be murdered at anytime by racist police officers for merely walking outside. 

Cecil Hayes: Black people love harder on the strength that were so devalued. It's almost like we love harder because it's a lot harder for us to be loved. Everytime I leave the house I told my wife, my kids, I love them. They told me they love me because what we do understand is we could walk out this door and never see each other again as a black father. You don't ever want to get that call. I let my kids walk down the street. I let my kid go over here and you know, for whatever reason the police came through and killed him. I think about that every single day because just looking at all the video, the police don't shoot once. They don't shoot twice. 
They unload entire clips and then they look and see what they did and that's the fear. It's not just the fear of gunshot, it's the fear of getting your body obliterating. Everyday is like playing chess. When you walk out the house. 

Later in the episode, Hannah-Jones takes issue with the National Guard being deployed to Ferguson, Missouri back in 2014 during the violent riots over the fatal shooting of Micheal Brown. Of course, she didn't bother to mention the $1.3 billion dollars of damages caused by the looters and rioters. And, there was no mention of the minority owned businesses that never were able to recover after.  

As for music in America, well white people have ruined that too, according to Hannah-Jones. White people are apparently guilty of appropriating and stealing music from the black community spanning decades. 

Hannah-Jones: Black Americans make up 13% of the population yet account for immeasurable amount of what moves us and how we move.

Despite the centuries long effort by white Americas to warp, appropriate and steal our music. And despite this county’s obsession with racial categorization that has tried to box our creativity in, black Americans have continued to create, reshape and transform American music. Decades of Billboards charts teamed with soul music and hiphop innovations. Black choreography often starts the dance crazes that sweep TikTok. Decades of jams written, produced and preformed by black artists sustained parties and places with no black people at all. And this unceasing eruption of ingenuity, invention, intuition, and improvisation constitutes the very core of American culture. American music is black music.

Louis Armstrong, the King of Jazz would be rolling in his grave if he found out how he was portrayed in the The 1619 Project.

He's characterized as a "sell-out", and an "Uncle Tom" because of his popularity with white communities during his career.   

Hannah-Jones: Artists like Louie Armstrong could be successful, but that success was limited and conditional. 

Fredara Hadley: Very often black men still have to find a way to make white audiences feel safe. For Louis Armstrong he’s incredibly talented and he’s able to draw on comedic chops to disarm and so it makes Louis Armstrong more vulnerable to white audiences projections of these minstrel archetypes. 

Hannah-Jones: These depictions of one of our country’s finest artists made him popular with white America but his reputation with black America proved complicated. By the civil rights era he was no longer seen as a hero celebrated for breaking barriers, instead a reputation as a sell out dogged him for the rest of his career. 

Fredara Hadley: I’m not going to claim that’s how Louis Armstrong saw himself, I don’t believe it so. But it makes him a canvas onto which white audiences seamlessly and easily see these archetypes that are so rampant in American society at large.  

The 1619 Project had been roundly debunked by renowned academics after it launched and was criticized by many for casting America in a negative light.

Although, most in the mainstream media and many leftists predictably are still gushing over the divisive material. Shocker! 

And if you actually watched and didn't enjoy the hours of vitriol spewed at white Americans and all the revisionist history, well then you're the problem.

According to Hannah-Jones the "backlash" against her was just driven by people who benefit from division.