Dunbar-Ortiz to Speak on the White Supremacist Roots of the Second Amendment

Save the Date! Dr. Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, author of “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States,” will be in town Sept. 27 to talk on her new book: “Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment.” The event will start at 7 p.m. at First Unitarian Society, 900 Mount Curve Ave., Minneapolis. (Flyer for Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz lecture.)

Publicity describes the book as: “a timely and deeply researched history of gun culture and how it reflects race and power in the United States.

A San Francisco Chronicle review of Loaded wrote:

The Second Amendment, adopted in 1791, allows that “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Generations of activists, gun owners and jurists have disagreed about how James Madison’s words should be interpreted in a modernizing world. But to Dunbar-Ortiz, these discussions are often lacking in context.

“The elephant in the room in these debates has long been what the armed militias of the Second Amendment were to be used for,” she writes. “The kind of militias and gun rights of the Second Amendment had long existed in the colonies and were expected to continue fulfilling two primary roles in the United States: destroying Native communities in the armed march to possess the continent, and brutally subjugating the enslaved African population.”

The L.A. Review of Books review wrote:

The sacred right to arm has always been bound up with the sacred right of white Europeans to take and keep control of North America. That right, therefore, can never really be granted to certain people. Gun love does not thrive outside of supremacy systems. After Black Panthers armed themselves for self-protection in Oakland in 1967, then-governor Ronald Reagan of California moved swiftly to ban the open carrying of long guns. In July 2016, Philando Castile was pulled over by police in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, while he was armed legally and properly licensed. He announced this to Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who 13 seconds later shot Castile five times, killing him as the world watched on a Facebook live video taken by Castile’s girlfriend. Gun rights activists were notably silent in the wake of this unjustified execution, even as Officer Yanez was acquitted of all charges in June 2017.

Dunbar-Ortiz wants her readers to see these incidents not as events separated by five decades, but as two aspects of the same system; a system as powerful today as it was 50 years ago, as powerful 50 years ago as it was two hundred years ago.

If you can’t attend the Sept. 27 event, here is an hour-long C-SPAN2 video with Dunbar-Ortiz speaking about her book.

 

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