Most of us in America believe ourselves to be good people, yet our country’s history is marred by consistent acts of racial violence and terrorism like the Tulsa Massacre. How can we reconcile our moral self-conception with the reality of our violent past? In this episode we look to the historical record for clues about how white understandings of sociality and identity led to one of the most devastating massacres in American history. We’ll also look for insights from modern scholarly research into how people’s racial ideas influence and are influenced by cultural forces as we grapple with a tough question:
How and why might modern, moral Americans be reproducing racial violence today, possibly without even realizing it?
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Photos courtesy of the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum.