I have heard and read quite substantially about both Prof. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the multiple award-winning African American journalist and scholar who was denied tenure, although she held an endowed chair in the Department of Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the most renowned and highly reputed publicly funded major tertiary academies here in the United States of America. For this depraved and morally and academically untenable decision by the Board of Trustees of this hitherto prestigious university, we are informed that the Accreditation Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications has decided to either significantly downgrade and/or withdraw the academic and professional accreditation of the Journalism Department at the University of North Carolina.
Which is all well and good because the malignant resurgence of ultraconservative White Nationalism, or Anti-Black White Nationalism, is viscerally antithetical to the salutary development of academic and professional integrity anywhere around the globe (See “UNC Professor Slams Board as Journalism School Loses Accreditation after Nikole Hannah-Jones Controversy” Fox News 5/6/22). It is significant to highlight, even as Professor and Faculty Council Chairperson of the University of North-Carolina, Chapel Hill, Mimi Chapman, does that the decision to downgrade the accreditation status of the journalism program of this predominantly white North-Carolina State flagship academy was not caused by the faculty of the Journalism Department of the aforementioned academy. Rather, it was a decision wholly and exclusively taken by the pathologically politically motivated members of the Board of Trustees of Chapel Hill, as this university is commonly known and recognized throughout the United States of America and much of the global community.
For those of our readers who may not be familiar with the subject of this controversial banner news headline, that is, controversial in the context and thinking of White Nationalism, Prof. Nikole Hannah-Jones is an African-American author of a pedagogically seminal and eye-opening treatise called “The 1619 Project.” Sixteen-Nineteen is, of course, the officially recognized date that marks the arrival of the first Continental African Captives to be converted into chattel slaves in the so-called New World by the Western-European Terrorist Invaders and Settlers of what was to shortly be renamed the United States of America in the late 1770s, after the White Colonist Usurpers declared their political independence from British imperialist domination. The main theory and thesis of Hannah-Jones’ “1619 Project” is that to become organically authentic and epistemically acceptable and morally sound, the history of the United States of America, as it is presently conceived and taught at all levels of America’s educational institutions, would have to be of necessity inclusive and objective and/or impartial.
There is absolutely nothing “faulty” or “controversial” about this otherwise wholly decent and wholesome proposition or thesis, except that most of the White-Nationalist Leaders who control the political culture and the economy of the United States would only have the history of this vast and sprawling technologically advanced plantation approved and taught exclusively from the perspective of the dominant race and culture. This is where the entire “controversy” comes from. Otherwise, there is absolutely nothing controversial about the thesis of Hannah-Jones’ “1619 Project.” Now, what all the preceding discursive observations boil down to, as it were, is that to be considered normative or acceptable and standard fare, the history of the United States, at all levels of the educational establishment, must be composed and narrated as ONE EPIC PANEGYRIC or Praise Song in the unreserved celebration of the nonesuch or the unprecedented achievements of the Teutonic Race and the various strands of its cultural and philosophical manifestations.
It was the heroic attempt by American scholars and intellectuals of Continental African Descent, for the most part, to correct such crass and primitive mythology that gave birth to what has globally become known as the Critical Race Theory (CRT), which has provoked the volcanic ire of the so-called ALT-RIGHT Conservatives of the White-Nationalist Establishment. Critical Race Theory, abbreviated as CRT, posits the very obvious but willfully and scandalously rejected thesis that American Society is incurably Anti-Black and Anti-Non-European Peoples and has been so from the inception or foundation of the present-day United States of America. Therefore, the thesis of CRT goes, any serious attempt to healthily and meaningfully reconstruct American Society so as to synch with verity or the objective truth and reality of historical human events, ought to, perforce, take indispensable account of the pathologically racist worldview of the dominant race and culture of These United States of America, as the so-called Founding-Fathers conceived and perceived the same.
At any rate, following her scandalous denial of the Knight Chair in Journalism and tenure at Chapel Hill, Prof. Nikole Hannah-Jones decided to accept an offer of tenure at the Washington, DC, -based Historically Black and African-American flagship academy of Howard University to continue with her most noble venture and project of Making American History Reflect the Epistemic and Temporal Realities of Intellectually and Morally Acceptable Scholarship. Now, this would be quite amusing, were it also not for the fact that the volcanic and convulsive pushback of Critical Race Theory by the so-called Mainstream American Society has guaranteed that whenever one looks into the mirror, what is apt to see would be grossly and criminally distorted and grotesque for several more generations to come.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
May 7, 2022
E-mail: [email protected]