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No one denies Nikole Hannah-Jones

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Life in a Shanty Town

May 21 · Issue #305 · View online

The hip-hop newsletter that's not afraid to ask the tough questions


Internets,
When I see a light-skinted woman come under attack, I feel compelled to leap into action—even if she does look like one of the denizens of McDonaldland.
I can’t stand idly by and watch the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill deny tenure to Nikole Hannah-Jones just because she wasted boatloads of the white man’s money on a journalism project that was filled with lies and not particularly interesting or entertaining.
This is misogynoir.
Hannah-Jones, if you’re not familiar, functions as the de facto HR department at the New York Times, in cooperation with de facto editor in chief Taylor Lorenz (my dream woman), where she once published genuinely very good articles having to do with race and education.
A few years ago, she spearheaded a project in which the Times, using journalism, rewrote the history of the United States so that the country was founded in 1619, not 1776. They stopped just short of allowing Hannah-Jones to edit the dates on the Declaration of Independence and also sign it herself.
But perhaps they should have. Were there any black female signers of the Declaration of Independence? Representation matters. At the very least, they could have had Thomas Jefferson’s black jumpoff in the building. I mean, if they managed to put a black guy on the back of a two-dollar bill (the real first president of the United States, pre-George Washington).
If the 1619 Project had worked, the failing New York Times would have been rolling in dough. It no longer would have been failing. They’d concocted a scheme to force elementary schools to buy textbooks with the corrected dates and Hannah-Jones photoshopped into pictures of the founding fathers, ahem, founding co-parents.
The Sulzberger family may have made enough money to buy back the stake in the paper they sold to Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, if only for psychological reasons, but also perhaps to prevent him from inserting pro-illegal immigration op-eds, like Benzino planting reviews of Almighty RSO albums in the mid ‘90s-era Source.
Alas, some actual historians took exception to the Times’ creative interpretation of the concept of factual accuracy. You shouldn’t be allowed to just pull history out of your ass, they argued. Hannah-Jones was forced to log into the Times website and surreptitiously edit out the part about the US being founded in 1619, under cover of darkness. Fortunately, as de facto HR, there was no way she could be fired.
I’m assuming this is why she’s been denied tenure at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she’s apparently pursuing a career as a college professor, even though she already has multiple careers at the New York Times. She’s running entire projects and also deciding who gets hired and who gets fired.
I’d urge the university to reconsider. They ought to be aware, from having skimmed Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, that history is not a mere collection of facts; it’s also people’s interpretation of said facts. If white people are allowed to have their own interpretation of events, why can’t a black woman? And no, I’m not counting World Star videos.
Also, they need to consider their clientele. It’s a well-known fact that black women are the most educated group of people in America. Kevin Samuels tried to dispute this on the now-disgraced Joe Budden Podcast, but he’s obviously full of shit. Black women spend a lot of money in college, and they deserve to be treated accordingly.
You’d never go into a Chinese restaurant in a black neighborhood and not expect to see pineapple flavored soda, and I expect a similar level of respect from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Take it easy on yourself,
Bol

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