“We learn lies like George Washington chopped down a cherry tree, but not that George had 18 slaves before he turned 18.”
Every February, a bundle of snarky white people will inevitably counter the idea of Black History Month with a deadpan and unintentionally ironic call for whatever their idea of “White History Month” is. But according to Amber Ruffin, that might be the best way to address and correct the record on historical agents of “progress.”
On the latest episode of her namesake Peacock show, the comedian made a helluva case for an inconveniently honest White History Month, taking aim at the stories we’ve been told about the supposedly heroic legacies of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and the police force. “We learn lies like George Washington chopped down a cherry tree, but not that George had 18 slaves before he turned 18,” Ruffin sharply notes of the Founding Father. From there, Ruffin proves Lincoln was, in fact, a racist president and then goes on to provide a potent crash course on how The Second Amendment established state-sponsored slave-hunting militias, which gave rise to the KKK and invented policing as we know it.
The segment closes with a brief profile of the United Daughters of The Confederacy and how southern white women successfully washed honest portrayals of historic figures out of our education systems by appealing to textbook publishers and infiltrating school boards across the country. “It is impossible to understand politics, the black community’s relationship with police, or why even need to say ‘Black Lives Matter’ if we don’t learn the history of this country,” Ruffin concludes.
Watch Amber Ruffin make the case for a real White History Month (or 12, even,) below. Catch new episodes of The Amber Ruffin Show every Friday on Peacock.