The word “history” can mean, “what happened; a series of events,” or it can mean “a record of those events.”
For many members of minority groups in America, the first definition is always there, even if just in a few people’s closely-held memories. These things happened. But the second, the record of what happened, the collected memory preserved for public understanding – that’s often missing. Especially if what happened was discrimination, or worse, a crime against humanity.
Over time, there is a tendency, eventually, sometimes grudgingly, to fill in the blanks, to tell for all time, for all interested people, the truth about America’s history of racial, religious or ethnic conflict.
Our guest today, Albuquerque-based reporter Russell Contreras covers, among other things, the race and ethnicity beat for the Associated Press. He’s always busy chasing the factual details of that first kind of history – what happened, but recently, these assignments have been supplemented by several stories of minority history of the second kind, the correction of the historical record, which is, in fact, quite a story unto itself.
Russell Contreras is a member of The Associated Press’ race and ethnicity team, based in Albuquerque, NM.