What happens when a Black storyteller subverts the white supremacist cultural lens through which history is told? For example, what if, rather than “intrepid conquerors,” the first white settlers of the United States were more accurately viewed as “incompetent thieving cannibals”? That’s the kind of approach to history that acclaimed journalist and historian Michael Harriot adopts in his new book, Black AF History: The Un-Whitewashed Story of America.
Harriot is host of the podcast Drapetomaniax: Unshackled History and a columnist at TheGrio, where he covers the intersection of race, politics, and culture. He spoke with YES! Racial Justice Editor Sonali Kolhatkar on YES Presents: Rising Up With Sonali about his new book.
Sonali Kolhatkar is currently the racial justice editor at YES! Media and a writing fellow with Independent Media Institute. She was previously a weekly columnist for Truthdig.com. She is also the host and creator of Rising Up with Sonali, a nationally syndicated television and radio program airing on Free Speech TV and dozens of independent and community radio stations. Sonali won First Place at the Los Angeles Press Club Annual Awards for Best Election Commentary in 2016. She also won numerous awards including Best TV Anchor from the LA Press Club and has also been nominated as Best Radio Anchor 4 years in a row. She is the author of Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence, and the co-director of the nonprofit group, Afghan Women's Mission. Her forthcoming book is Rising Up: The Power of Narrative in Pursuing Racial Justice (City Lights, 2023). She has a Master’s in Astronomy from the University of Hawai’i, and two undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin. She reflects on her professional path in her 2014 TEDx talk, “My Journey From Astrophysicist to Radio Host.” She can be reached at sonalikolhatkar.com