scroll to top arrow or icon

Nikole Hannah-Jones blames backlash against 1619 Project, CRT on the myth of US "exceptionalism"

Nikole Hannah-Jones blames backlash against 1619 Project, CRT on the myth of US "exceptionalism"
Hannah-Jones Blames Backlash Against 1619 Project on the Myth of US "Exceptionalism" | GZERO World

Why is there such a strong conservative reaction to the 1619 Project and critical race theory?

For Nikole Hannah-Jones, the New York Times journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for her work as creator of the 1619 Project, a big part of the problem is that we, "as Americans, are deeply, deeply invested in this mythology of exceptionalism.

"We really are indoctrinated into this idea that these intrepid colonists broke off from [...] Great Britain so that they could advance the ideas of liberty and individual rights. And to believe in that, then you have to downplay the role of slavery."

In other words, she adds, you must gloss over the fact that America has been "plagued by racism and inequality from our beginning."

What Hannah-Jones calls the white backlash against that narrative, she says, should not surprise us. Even after the horrific killing of George Floyd, which could have been an inflection point, Hannah-Jones laments, some politicians seized the opportunity to divide us even further on race.

"How do we divide these people who were finding common cause in Black equality? And you do that by saying, you know, we, we believe, you know, what happened to George Floyd was wrong, but it's gone too far now. Now they're trying to make you feel like there's something wrong with your whiteness. Now they're taking away your icons, they're knocking down your statues and they want to tell your children that your children are evil."

Watch this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: Counter narrative: Black Americans, the 1619 Project, and Nikole Hannah-Jones


Subscribe to GZERO's daily newsletter