Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and renowned scholar Nikole Hannah-Jones declined to accept tenure offer from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She refused to join UNC-Chapel Hill after the university initially had taken the decision not to offer her tenure position based on her race and gender.
In addition, her 1619 Project which focuses on the reframing of American history on brutal history of slavery and the recognition of the contributions made by the enslaved black founding mothers and fathers of this country. The project that was developed by Ms. Hannah-Jones who writes about it in New York Times. It was a new low for New York Times by publishing her story in the business section when this should have been published as a front page story.
The North Carolina University system greatly failed in preserving its integrity by not initially offering a tenure faculty position to Ms. Hannah-Jones which was a concerted effort by racist donors and lobbyists with support from certain board members on the board of governors committee who are appointed by North Carolin General Assembly. This is how the institutionalized racism woks.
Unfortunately and not surprisingly there was very little outraged shown by elected officials that represent the Chapel Hill district. Institutionalized racism succeeded in undermining its educational prestige and the future by succeeding in perpetual racism but failed immensely by losing a world class scholar.
Ms. Hannah-Jones will become a tenured faculty at Howard University at Howard’s school of communications, filling the newly created position as Knight Chair in Race and Journalism. She will also establish the Center for Journalism and Democracy, which will focus on training students in investigative journalism.
What are the lessons from this sad chain of events for black and brown people who are preparing themselves to excel in academia and other institutions? Develop your own brand and reputation with hard work and perseverance to achieve your goals. Expect little support from mainstream pseudo supporters and allies. Bluntly speaking it’s important to understand that while not all white men and women are racists but there are still enough in power who will cut off and root out opportunities for black and brown people.
The sad and shameful reality is that the institutionalized racism was and still is structured to disrupt the unity of this country and to uphold racist past also known as white supremacy.
Nikole Hannah-Jones Declines Tenure Offer from UNCC