In Ken Burns Civil War doc, historian Barbara Fields argues against giving people an "of their time" pass, because often there are people in that time who are on the right side of history. You can't at once credit the enlightened, without calling out those who stumbled around in the darkness--especially those who did so willfully.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
You can't at once credit the enlightened, without calling out those who stumbled around in the darkness
From Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic. I have had a tendency to write things off by indiscriminately handing out these "of-their-time" passes that Mr. Coates is discussing. I may have to go back and re-read Kim, which I love, with a more critical eye. What I love about this passage is that it is a demand for nuance; it insists that we do something more than shuffle people into categories of right and wrong.