Trevor Noah suggested a new lesson plan to Tom Cotton after the Arkansas Senator introduced legislation that would cut funding to schools that added The 1619 Project to their history curriculum.
The 1619 Project shows how the founding of America and much of its history is tied to the legacy of institutional slavery. In recent comments regarding his proposed legislation, Cotton claimed The 1619 Project was, itself, racially divisive, and went on to say that the founding fathers thought slavery was a “necessary evil on which the Union was built.”
Noah acknowledged the comments made it sound like Cotton was defending slavery, cracking, “And that’s not something a U.S. Senator should do, even if his name is Cotton — I mean how’s he gonna stay objective?” But Noah went on to suggest that, actually, if you take Cotton at his word, he’s saying the exact same thing as The 1619 Project, which is that the U.S. couldn’t have become the country that it is without slavery. To help Cotton sort out his opinions, Noah offered up a commercial for a faux lesson plan, “Tom Cotton’s Lesson Plan for Slavery,” which is billed as “the only lesson plan that teaches slavery without mentioning race.”
Elsewhere in the show, correspondent Desi Lydic reconnected with Dr. David Campt, a racial dialogue expert she previously met in a 2018 segment on how to deal with racist relatives around the holidays. The new interview found Lydic trying her best to be a productive ally, although Dr. Campt still had to steer her from such faux pas as wearing a Kente cloth as a show of solidarity and leaning on black friends for education and emotional recognition at this moment. (Cut to a bit with Lydic weeping uncontrollably on a Zoom call with her exhausted Daily Show colleagues Roy Wood, Jr. and Dulcé Sloan.)
Still, Dr. Campt was able to dish out plenty of wisdom amid the hyperbolic hand-holding, including best practices when speaking with friends and family with racist views. “What we need y’all to do is to keep the channel open,” Dr. Campt said. “To really try to move somebody, it might take a serious conversation, so you want to engage them, you want to ask questions, you want to find some agreement before you try to invite them to new thinking. People don’t like being corrected — but they don’t mind learning.”
In an effort to put Dr. Campt’s words into practice, Lydic looped fellow correspondent Michael Kosta in to the video call — although that got off to rough start as he appeared with a big grin and a Kente cloth on his shoulders.