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Politico called out for mostly white list of ‘top historians’

Academic Twitter is not on board with this list.


Samira Sadeque


Posted on Dec 29, 2018   Updated on May 20, 2021, 10:33 pm CDT

There’s something about the end of the year that makes lists even more exciting than they usually are: reading lists, political news, list of new leaders to follow. They make it fun and easy to reflect on the year.

On Friday, Politico ran one such list of “16 top historians” who talked about how history will remember 2018.

POLITICO Magazine asked the smartest historians we know to put all that happened over the past 12 months in its proper historical context—by literally writing the paragraph that history books of the future will include about 2018,” the introduction reads.

It was a creative spin to end the year with. The list includes historians, professors, and authors, all discussing a range of topics from race, immigration, how women took over the midterms—basically, all the important political happenings from the past year. The list of historians itself is very insightful, very informative, and very white.

By Saturday, people on Twitter noticed this and started calling Politico out for it. It started with some pointing out there was only one African-American historian in the otherwise entirely white crew:


(Levin later corrected his tweet to note that William Jones from the list is African-American).



Historian and professor Dr. Keisha N. Blain commented on the lack of diversity in the list, and made her own list of African-American historians:

Dr. Blain made a list of at least seven historians, including individuals and organizations, which you can see here. It resonated with many:

And because it’s Twitter and this moment was inevitable, someone pointed out there needs to be diversity beyond including only African-Americans and white people:

The Daily Dot reached out to Dr. Blain for comment but did not hear back by press time.

For now, the strive for inclusiveness remains a battle uphill but looks like it’s being fought one tweet at a time.

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*First Published: Dec 29, 2018, 7:19 pm CST