NPR: 2017 MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant Winner Nikole Hannah-Jones

While commuting today, I listened to this NPR Fresh Air piece, hosted by the insufferable Terry Gross, someone who is uptight, Jewish, feminist, Political Correctness personified. It’s an interview with Nikole Hannah-Jones, a black woman who is a NYT Magazine writer on what she herself calls ‘the segregation beat.’ (The transcript is here.)

Naturally, she has won a Peabody Award for her writing on institutionalized racism and segregation in our schools, and is a 2017 MacArthur “genius” grant award-winner for the same reason.

What is notable in the interview is the following unquestioned assumptions shared by both Hannah-Hones and Gross:

  • Inner city schools don’t have the same ‘resources’ as affluent white schools. (This is patently false.)
  • High student scores in affluent white schools is solely the function of a ‘charismatic’ principal. (“And when you look at these schools, it is if they are high-functioning, it is almost always because of a single charismatic principal.”)
  • Diversity and integration are innately good.
  • The presence of white children magically improves black student performance.

The best part of the discussion, however, is when Hannah-Jones throws shade at her own ‘rapidly gentrifying’ neighborhood in Brooklyn:

One of the things I’ve done in my work is kind of show the hypocrisy of progressive people who say they believe in inequality, but when it comes to their individual choices about where they’re going to live and where they’re going to send their children, they make very different decisions…

When the majority-white, public school in her neighborhood stopped accepting new (and predominately white) students, due to overcrowding, the white, prog-hipster parents were forced to send their kids to the majority non-white school in the neighborhood, and… they didn’t like that too much. The white hipster parents wrote to their elected officials and then attended public school board meetings to voice their concerns. Hannah-Jones attended these school board meetings:

So I was just sitting in these meetings as a parent who was interested to hear what people who could potentially be coming to my daughter’s school had to say about it. And it was hurtful to hear the things that parents were saying, particularly these are parents who are progressive. They live in Brooklyn because they say that they believe in diversity, often held up as being these kind of hipster people who don’t see race. And I was hearing the same thing from those parents that I had heard in Tuscaloosa, Ala. It was no different.

What makes this piece so listenable is how it is another manifestation of the Left cannibalizing itself, as white progressives, after displaying their double standard, are increasingly being seen by blacks as part of the same monolithic ‘white problem’ in America. That this dynamic is being mainstreamed and normalized among the Left is a beautiful thing, helping to exacerbate the inexorable racialization of politics and getting us to where we’re heading a little more quickly.

What also comes through in the piece is how intellectually unimpressive Hannah-Jones is, and how tenuous her logical reasoning skills are, all of which serves to demonstrate how NGO programs like the MacArthur “genius” grant have largely turned into welfare programs designed to underwrite and subsidize mediocre, non-white, leftist writers (e.g., Ta-Nehisi Coates).

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