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Emmy Griffin / October 26, 2021

1619 Project Author Says the Quiet Part Out Loud

Nikole Hannah-Jones admits her work is merely a narrative and a tool for political activism.

The danger in people “speaking their truth” is that the motives are typically to exploit victimhood for power. This is absolutely the case with Nikole Hannah-Jones’s 1619 Project. She admitted as much in her acceptance address for the Freedom of Speech Award given by the Roosevelt Institute.

Hannah-Jones admitted what she’s doing is activist journalism and the 1619 Project is “the narrative [that] allows for policy.” She is a big advocate for Critical Race Theory (CRT) and reparations. The seed for writing the 1619 Project was planted by a radical teacher in her high school who taught a black studies class, and the fruits of the poisonous tree have catapulted her into positions of power both at The New York Times and at Howard University, where she is a professor.

Her ideas have affected our nation in the culture wars. It gave an even louder voice to the “Cult of Antiracism,” as Cornell University associate professor John McWhorter dubbed it. The “Cult of Antiracism” is a very specific subset of cancel culture. Valparaiso University philosophy professor Aaron Preston writes: “As the philosopher Richard Rorty observed two decades ago, practitioners in these fields are ‘resentful specialists in subversion’ who treat literature and philosophy, and indeed language itself, as tools to be used for political purposes. Hurling the damning label ‘racist’ at people and systems that don’t deserve it in order to incite revolutionary outrage is exactly the kind of subversive linguistic manipulation prescribed in their playbook.”

Here’s a prime example in our leadership. Attorney General Merrick Garland recently asserted: “Today, a white family is 30% more likely to own a home than a black family. This present-day gap in home ownership rates is larger than it was in 1960.” But as Darrell B. Harrison retorts: “This is an example of how critical race theory leverages statistics to advance a subjective narrative that contains a built-in and unquestionable assumption. In this case, that the purported 30% ‘gap’ is solely due to ‘racism’ and that we’re entering a new era of redlining.”

One of the most twisted forms of the reparations Hannah-Jones and her ilk demand is the abolition of merit as a basis for achievement. The most recent attack was perpetrated by MIT, which canceled University of Chicago professor Dorian Abbot in opposition to his views on meritocracy and affirmative action. In an article, he warns about the dangers of race subverting a merit-based ideology, saying: “Ninety years ago Germany had the best universities in the world. Then an ideological regime obsessed with race came to power and drove many of the best scholars out, gutting the faculties and leading to sustained decay that German universities never fully recovered from. We should view this as a warning of the consequences of viewing group membership as more important than merit, and correct our course before it is too late.”

Abbott is a professor of geophysical sciences and would have spoken solely on his research in that area at MIT. But his political views got him canceled anyway. When David Romps, a leader in climate science and director of the Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center (BASC), invited Abbot to speak, his colleagues protested and canceled the speech. Romps resigned as a result of his own college’s refusal to hear Abbot speak. He wrote in a public statement, “I was hoping we could agree that BASC does not consider an individual’s political or social opinions when selecting speakers for its events, except for cases in which the opinions give a reasonable expectation that members of our community would be treated with disrespect.”

The bad idea fomented in Hannah-Jones’s 1619 Project — that America has been a “slavocracy” since its inception — is the faux history on which the “Cult of Antiracism” justifies its views. It is a pernicious form of cancel culture that’s systematically destroying policy and education.

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