1619: “Self-Defense,” by Carol Anderson
The history of why white people can have guns and Black people cannot
Happy Monday! Thank you again for sharing your thoughts on the 1619 Halfway Survey. It’s been great to hear all your kind words and suggestions. I’ll let you know next week about any and all changes coming up to improve our book club experience.
Welcome to Week 13, everyone. Here’s our schedule.
This week, let’s read “Self-Defense,” by Carol Anderson. The essay discusses the history of the Second Amendment, explaining how and why the right to bear arms was extended to white people and restricted from Black people. Prof. Anderson charts this trend from the colonial era all the way to our current Stand Your Ground laws, responsible for the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012.
Prof. Anderson writes:
Since the nation’s founding, our legal and political architecture has privileged the safety and self-defense of white people over that of Black people. As a consequence, the right to self-defense, so quintessential to American identity, has been experienced unequally by Black and white people. White people continue to use self-defense laws to protect themselves from perceived harm from African Americans; Black people often cannot use self-defense to protect themselves from actual harm by white people.
Read “Self-Defense,” by Carol Anderson.
Recommended: Tell someone in your life that you’re reading The 1619 Project and notice how they react.
Also, please feel free to reach out. Let me know if you need anything or want to chat. All you need to do is hit reply. Thank you and have a great week!
I went to Emory and took a class with Prof. Anderson!