MSNBC anchor Joy Reid said Thursday on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut” that “the right” is in a “knockdown, drag-out fight to shutdown intellectual pursuits like critical race theory” to avoid repairing America’s “raw, racial violence.”

Reid said, “We in America are having this big debate right now about history, and fundamental to that debate is a question. What is history for? What is its purpose? The answer is that it depends. History, as Jon Meacham has said on this show, can either be a bedtime story meant to buck up your patriotism and make you feel good, or it can be a lesson, a caution, and an instruction on how to avoid the perils of the past and how to achieve repair.”

She continued, “When it comes to the racial history of this country, there’s a real fight going on. Lots of Americans, particularly on the right, want the bedtime story. They’re insisting on it, and so they’re in a knockdown, drag-out fight to shutdown intellectual pursuits like critical race theory, which simply asks how our racial history intersects with the construction of our laws or journalistic, historical reckoning like the 1619 Project. Too many people want to keep Americans blindly numb to the raw racial violence in our collective past.”

“They want Americans to just shut up and feel good about America’s founding and sing from the hymnal, so they don’t even have to think about dealing with the repercussions of our true history and the need for repair,” Reid continued. “They want to keep comfortably living off the profits of what Ta-Nehisi Coates rightly calls piracy, with no one ever asking to examine the contents of the loot box. But the past just won’t die no matter how hard The Daughters of the Confederacy fight to rewrite slavery as happy Blacks singing in the field in our textbooks or how persistent the gauzy myths about the slave-holding Founding Fathers remain. Many Americans needed the Watchmen to teach them about the 1920 race massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in which a white mob burned, shot and used military planes to firebomb the Greenwood District where Black families had created a successful community decades after enslavement.”

Reid added, “If the massacre that wiped out the community nicknamed Black Wall Street were just a one-off, it would be tragic, but it wasn’t a one-off. Tulsa was one of dozens of similar atrocities across this country in the decades after the Civil War and the collapse of reconstruction. In Memphis, Tennessee, in 1866, some Black families burned to death in their homes because the racist mobs who attacked them wouldn’t let them run outside after setting them on fire. In New Orleans that same year, Black freedmen attempting a peaceful march were met by a mob of former Confederate soldiers, and dozens were killed. The spark for the Wilmington, North Carolina race massacre in 1898 was a creation of a white, Black fusion government which was violently cut down. The early decades of the 20th century were an era of pure racial mayhem as war was waged on the formerly enslaved and their children and grandchildren in the South and in northern cities where Blacks were fleeing and seeking work and a decent life.”

She concluded, “There are dozens more of these I can tell you about, and you’ve probably never heard of any of them because America doesn’t do history. We do bedtime stories. That’s why we don’t understand the way we are, the gun violence unique in the western world, the racial mistrust, the poverty that breaks down along racial lines. The persistence of violent white nationalism that today threatens our national security. These things have deep, ugly roots inextricably tied to slavery and its aftermath. We’d be better off just unearthing it and airing it out if we really want repair.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN