Right-wing outlets continue their war against critical race theory and “The 1619 Project” creator and New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones. After a recent appearance on MSNBC’s Meet the Press, outlets ran stories claiming Jones said she wasn’t an educator or that she didn’t think parents should have a say in their children’s education.
Hannah-Jones tweeted Monday morning that it seems like such coverage is coordinated as if writers for these outlets and the people who follow them are simply waiting to pounce.
Without context, that could seem like damning admissions from a well-respected journalist and high-profile HBCU professor. Except context absolutely matters. During the 17-minute conversation with Chuck Todd asked Hannah-Jones a series of questions about the fake controversy around genuine discussions around race in public education.
“I don’t really understand this idea that parents should decide what’s being taught,” Hannah-Jones began. “I’m not a professional educator. I don’t have a degree in social studies or science. We send our children to school because we want them to be taught by people who have expertise in the subject area, and that is not my job.”
Right-wing outlets were fixated on the “I’m not a professional educator” statement in the context of a discussion of K-12 education. Hannah-Jones has taught journalism and writing professionally. Even as a journalist and researcher who documented a painful part of American history, Hannah-Jones thinks it makes sense to prioritize the experts in their respective fields.
Besides, as she said, being a journalist is not the same as being someone who specializes in curriculum development or teaches K-12 social studies or science, as she said. Hannah-Jones also seems to be speaking as a parent of a K-12 student when she references how parents send children to school to learn from experts, not laypeople who read random memes on Facebook.
Coverage that picks a part statements to inflame false controversy only furthers misinformation. These distortions helped provide cover for influence political decision-making in numerous states, as demonstrated by laws proposed and/or passed in states like Oklahoma and Florida.
Hannah-Jones also corrected Todd’s framing of the issues at a few points during the conversation, noting how he separated parents from parents of color as if white parents were somehow especially concerned. Responding to a question about adding more educators of color, Hannah-Jones highlighted a bigger issue she sees in the classroom.
“We should definitely have more Black and Latino educators because that is what our country looks like, but I don’t think you have to be Black or Latino in order to teach a more accurate history,” Hannah-Jones said. “The problem is that our teacher preparation programs are not equipping educators with the knowledge that they need to teach this history better.”
Teachers need the resources and confidence to support children. Professional development guides and toolkits from the Learning For Justice, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, can be helpful for teachers trying to navigate challenging issues.
Actor and Director Reagan Gomez took issue with Todd’s framing throughout the interview.
Hannah-Jones also corrected Todd on his framing of the governor’s race in Virginia, noting that it was decided based on a successful “right-wing propaganda campaign that told white parents that they needed to fight against their children being indoctrinated as being called racist.”
This is not to say that parents shouldn’t participate in their kids’ education. But framing the debate around the conservative distortions of critical race theory and teaching race in schools as merely being about concerned parents is a big part of the problem. Acting as if this is simply about concerned parents trying to protect their children from being called racist does not grapple with the real danger happening to what Hannah-Jones calls “a free and tolerant democratic society.”
Watch the full interview below:
A Disturbing Timeline Of Ahmaud Arbery's Killing And Murder Investigation In Georgia
1. October 20191 of 47
2. November 2019
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This video is from 11/17. Larry English called 911 on 11/18 and said he had a problem with "other people" the night before. This appears to show that day and is from English's attorney. There is no record of neighbors calling 911 this day, based off records from Glynn Co 911 pic.twitter.com/BXlyYEaBcL— Wright Gazaway (@WrightKATU) May 15, 2020
3. Dec. 20, 2019
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Police told the homeowner where #AhmaudArbery was last seen to contact Greg McMichael if his cameras caught someone on his property. McMichael in turn gathered a posse & began hunting for Ahmaud, or someone who fit his description, catching up with him on 2/23/20– killing him. pic.twitter.com/BmlmW636f5— Lee Merritt (@MerrittForTexas) May 16, 2020
4. Dec. 20, 2019
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This is the man that set the plan in motion that led to the murder of #AhmaudArbery.— Lee Merritt (@MerrittForTexas) May 18, 2020
ROBERT RASH is a Glynn County Police Officer.
He instructed a homeowner to contact Gregory McMichael to deal w/ trespassers.
McMichael and his son formed a posse and murdered Ahmaud Arbery. pic.twitter.com/ZqZg567Agp
5. Feb. 11, 2020
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Larry English’s attorney gave me this video from Feb 11. It shows the incident outlined in my story when Travis McMichael called 911 and saw someone in the home. On 2/23, he and his father thought the Abrery was who they saw on the 11th pic.twitter.com/C2gVJCJ3xQ— Wright Gazaway (@WrightKATU) May 14, 2020
6. Feb. 23Source:Getty 6 of 47
7. Feb. 27, 2020
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This is the DA who blocked the arrest of 2 white supremacist TERRORISTS after they murdered an innocent black man execution style while he was jogging in his neighborhood— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) May 9, 2020
JACKIE JOHNSON NEEDS TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR OBSTRUCTING & ENDANGERING THE LIVES OF BLACK MEN
ARREST HER pic.twitter.com/ngSIEGMCq1
8. Feb. 27, 20208 of 47
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10. March 2020
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If you’re wondering why no charges were initially filed on the murderers of #AhmaudArbery, it’s because D.A. George Barnhill immediately concluded Arbery was a criminal & that he attacked the men who were hunting him.— Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) May 7, 2020
This is letter Barnhill sent to the Brunswick authorities pic.twitter.com/vsGCboful7
11. April 2, 2020
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Police report sheds more light on Satilla Shores shooting https://t.co/Zi6YVGTkhK— The Brunswick News (@Brunswick_News) April 2, 2020
12. April 3, 202012 of 47
13. April 1313 of 47
14. April 26, 2020
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We’ll never know how often Black life is taken, justice denied:— Dr. Malinda S. Smith (@MalindaSmith) May 9, 2020
“Two Weapons, a Chase, a Killing and No Charges.
A 25-year-old man running through a Georgia neighborhood ended up dead. A prosecutor argued that the pursuers should not be arrested” @nytimes https://t.co/pJA6kSK6cj
15. April 28, 202015 of 47
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19. May 8, 202019 of 47
20. May 8, 2020
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On what would have been his 26th birthday, people were jogging 2.23 miles in his honor to signify the date he was killed by Gregory and Travis McMichael, who racially profiled and shot the jogger in Brunswick, Georgia. #IrunwithMaud #IRunwithAhmaudhttps://t.co/V2KuBaeKjx— NewsOne (@newsone) May 9, 2020
21. May 9, 2020Source:Getty 21 of 47
22. May 10, 202022 of 47
23. May 11, 2020
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Another huge WIN for #JusticeForAhmaud! At the family’s demand— a special prosecutor will replace Tom Durden the S. GA prosecutor that sat on the case until video of Ahmaud’s murder was leaked. Joyette Holmes is out of @cobbcountygovt. Her office is being reviewed for conflicts. pic.twitter.com/rcuQ7UPOfE— Lee Merritt (@MerrittForTexas) May 11, 2020
24. May 12, 2020Source:Twitter 24 of 47
25. May 13, 2020
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“Ahmaud, I am so sorry. I should have stopped them,” reads the note. “I am so sorry.” The card was not signed by a name and no more information or context was provided, including when the card was left there. https://t.co/nzzY5aNple— NewsOne (@newsone) May 14, 2020
26. May 14, 2020Source:Getty 26 of 47
27. May 18, 2020
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Because this story wasn't bad enough now we discover Lindsay McMichael, the daughter and sister of Ahmaud Arbery’s alleged killers, posted a picture of Ahmaud’s deceased body to snapchat pic.twitter.com/RwTwzrAXAG— Reese Waters (@reesewaters) May 19, 2020
28. May 18, 202028 of 47
29. May 20, 2020Source:Getty 29 of 47
30. May 20, 2020
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Today, the GA Congressional Delegation co-signed a letter to U.S. AG William Barr and Asst AG Eric Dreiband, encouraging the use of “all possible Federal resources to achieve full justice, transparency, and accountability in the case of Mr. Ahmaud Arbery.” https://t.co/8FcMZEEKWF— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) May 20, 2020
31. May 21, 2020Source:WJAX 31 of 47
32. May 25, 2020
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NEW: Attorneys for Ahmaud Arbery's parents announce that the Department of Justice will be investigating Arbery's killing and why it took so long to arrest the people responsible. See their statement here: pic.twitter.com/yfcnrT5SjV— Hayley Mason (@HayleyMasonTV) May 26, 2020
33. June 2020
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Reports of a photo op with the president or standing with the White House during the EO signing are false.— Lee Merritt (@MerrittForTexas) June 16, 2020
Show me the civil rights leaders who are upset about families making a direct appeal for federal intervention after the murder of their loved one & I’ll show you a clown. pic.twitter.com/GXR5arB8Mz
34. June 17, 2020Source:WJAX 34 of 47
35. November 2020Source:Getty 35 of 47
36. December 2020
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William ‘Roddie’ Bryan tried to publicly absolve himself of having any part in Ahmaud Arbery’s modern-day lynching, but this newly released bodycam footage confirms what we long suspected: He clearly used his truck to block Ahmaud's escape from the McMichaels! pic.twitter.com/UAms4LYS28— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) December 15, 2020
37. January 2021Source:Getty 37 of 47
38. February 2021Source:Getty 38 of 47
39. Feb. 23, 2021Source:Getty 39 of 47
40. April 2021Source:Getty 40 of 47
41. May 2021Source:Getty 41 of 47
42. September 2021
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This is the mugshot of disgraced District Attorney Jackie Johnson who was just arrested today for her role in the coverup of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. pic.twitter.com/OKF2xKkV3Z— Lee Merritt (@MerrittForTexas) September 8, 2021
43. October 2021Source:Getty 43 of 47
44. November 11, 2021Source:Getty 44 of 47
45. November 11, 2021
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Gough is big mad because Al Sharpton sat in the courtroom yesterday.— Serene🦉 (@MythSerene) November 11, 2021
He literally says, "We don't want any more Black pastors coming in here-"
Then something abt Jesse Jackson?
"If a bunch of folks came in here dressed like Col Sanders w/ white masks..."
WTF Gough? #AhmaudArbery pic.twitter.com/GZUb4dNwRJ
46. November 24, 202146 of 47
Nikole Hannah-Jones Said People Should Listen To Educators And She’s Right was originally published on newsone.com