The lecture, titled “Why Black Lives Do Not Matter: Re-thinking the Origins of the USA," explored the historical roots of racial oppression in the United States.
“Inferentially, my remarks suggest that the current heroic narrative of U.S. and African-American history (that) deposits steady progress within a system designed to accommodate our demands is vocally inadequate,” Horne said, “We definitely need a new narrative of U.S. history and African-American history.”
Horne argued that the origins of current racial trends and movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement can be traced as far back as colonial times. He cited his deeply researched books throughout the lecture.
“I think he’s very provocative,” said Miriam Thompson, a North Carolina-based organizer who attended the lecture. Thompson, a longtime supporter of the Stone Center, has admired Horne’s work for many years.
“I’m always looking forward to his evolving insights into the state of both our country and our role in the world,” she said.
Horne discussed the nuances of America’s racial narrative and how this narrative has led to the current racial and political climate.
“Contrary to the opinion of many of our liberal friends, Trump is no aberration, no anomaly, and we must ditch forevermore the comforting canard that whatever is negative in this nation … (can be) dismissed airily with the empty slogan, ‘That’s not who we are,’” Horne said during the lecture. “No, I’m afraid this is who we are.”
Ben Greer, a first-year political science and information science major, attended the lecture after his professor informed him about it.
“As soon as class let out I scurried over here to watch,” Greer said. “It was very multifaceted and at some points hard to follow, but he made a very strong case.”
Although Horne detailed the deeply entrenched roots of racism in the U.S., he called on those in attendance to combat them by becoming more globally aware and active in social issues.
“If Black lives are to matter in the United States, we’re going to have to engage in agonizing reappraisal of our present plight, critique the path that has brought us to the precipice of fiasco in recent decades, and embark on a new path,” Horne said. “Certainly, we have to develop a new narrative.”