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Historians on race, identity and immigration in ‘Myth America’

Carol Anderson and Erika Lee join Washington Post Live on Monday, Jan. 23. (Video: The Washington Post)

“Myth America” is a new book featuring essays by acclaimed scholars who debunk falsehoods about U.S. history. Join Washington Post senior writer Frances Stead Sellers for a conversation with historians Carol Anderson and Erika Lee about the role of race, identity and immigration in the American narrative.

Click here for transcript

Highlights

“For the past three years or so, it has been an increasingly fearful time for all Asian Americans, especially women, the elderly and the young … It is affecting all communities across demographics and across the United States … The suspected shooter was identified as an Asian man. But I would urge us all to think about the ways in which racism and racist attacks can happen across communities, even if the perpetrator is of the same ethnic group.” - Erika Lee (Video: Washington Post Live)
“You’re seeing it as a backlash to a 50-state uprising about the killing of George Floyd. You’re seeing it as a backlash to the way that young folk are much more liberal and much more embracing of tolerance and diversity than their forebears. You’re seeing this as a way of trying to curtail that, trying to undercut a vision of the United States as multiracial, multiethnic, multi-religious, multilingual. You’re seeing this as a way to really say a real American is a White American. And a certain White American. That’s what this history is about.” - Carol Anderson (Video: Washington Post Live)
“History also lays a foundation for contemporary policies. It helps to further them; it helps to justify them. And we can see no better example of this than in recent immigration policy. In both the Trump and the Biden administrations … Not only these historical roots are important to understand and help answer the question of how did we get here? But also, to help us recognize that it may not be going away any time soon.” - Erika Lee (Video: Washington Post Live)
“All these nations have these myths. It’s part of the way that you build this kind of sense of who we are. But the problem we have in the United States is that we use these myths as a way to diminish the humanity and the citizenship of large sectors of our population." - Carol Anderson (Video: Washington Post Live)

Carol Anderson

Chair, African American Studies, Emory University & Author


Erika Lee

Award-winning Historian & Author


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