CNN, Hannah-Jones Claim Harvard President Is The Victim Of Racism

News & Politics

For her Tuesday show, CNN NewsNight host Abby Phillip welcomed 1619 Project founder Nikole Hannah-Jones to discuss the fallout of Harvard President Claudine Gay’s Congressional testimony on campus anti-Semitism. Phillip wondered if racism has anything to do with calls for Gay to resign and Hannah-Jones was more than willing to say that it was.

Phillip began by nothing “the same voices who are your toughest critics are the ones who are Claudine Gay’s toughest critics and the loudest voices are calling for her ouster.”

She then wondered, “Do you think that these two things are related, this idea of pushing back on diversity and inclusion in higher education and getting the president of Harvard ousted from her position?”

Hannah-Jones was convinced that they were, “Oh absolutely, so they’re using the guise of pretending that this is about concern over anti-Semitism, which is, of course, something that all of us should be concerned about. It’s really just further their propaganda campaign against, you know, racial equity.”

As for the idea that Gay is a diversity hire, Hannah-Jones proclaimed that:

So, when you think about the fact that Harvard, this nation’s oldest university, had about a 370-year explicit racial quota of only hiring white men to be the president, it’s laughable to think that the first ever Black woman following that unbroken line of white racial quotas is the one who’s unqualified. I mean, this is kind of the beauty of how racism works. If you are Black and you don’t achieve, if you don’t succeed at the highest echelon, it’s because you’re lazy and you’re not smart enough. If you do achieve and you do succeed and you do rise to the top of your profession, it’s because you didn’t deserve it.

Hannah-Jones continued, “So, as Toni Morrison said, this is all really a distraction. Chris Rufo is not a serious person. He is a person who has been trying to attack what he calls DEI, but really any efforts to address racial inequality. He has explicitly said that he does propaganda work. And the fact that we’re all talking about it means that he’s being successful.”

Rufo has also accused Gay of plagiarism, but moving right along Phillip then wondered, “What do you make of the fact that, you know, there were all these university presidents who were criticized. She wasn’t the only one. But the other presidents weren’t criticized because they were women. They were criticized because of things that they said or did. She is being singled out as someone who is only surviving because of her race. What did you make of that?”

One of the other two has already resigned and the other should considering she refused to fully discipline foreign students who harassed Jewish students because of ”visa issues.”  Gay has received most of the attention, however, because she couldn’t definitively say that calling for Jewish genocide would violate Harvard’s policies against bullying and harassment and when she tried to clean up her mess, lamented “I failed to convey what is my truth,” which naturally raises the question about what she would do if somebody’s else’s “truth” led them to call for such a genocide.

Hannah-Jones, however, had another explanation, “Well, it’s racist. I mean, we have — no one has produced a shred of evidence that shows that the sole qualification that President Gay had was that she is a Black woman. That’s insulting. It defies logic. And the fact that, of those presidents, who all came under intense scrutiny, that only one has been called out as a so-called diversity or affirmative action hire just speaks of a Black woman of this country have gone through historically and continue to go through every day.”

On the contrary, no other black woman has testified in front of Congress about the need to consider the “context” of calls for genocide against Jews.

Here is a transcript for the December 12 show:

CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

12/12/2023

10:38 PM ET

ABBY PHILLIP: So, Nikole, what do you make of the fact that — this was striking to me, some of the same voices who are your toughest critics are the ones who are Claudine Gay’s toughest critics and the loudest voices are calling for her ouster.

Do you think that these two things are related, this idea of pushing back on diversity and inclusion in higher education and getting the president of Harvard ousted from her position?

NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES: Oh absolutely, so they’re using the guise of pretending that this is about concern over anti-Semitism, which is, of course, something that all of us should be concerned about. It’s really just further their propaganda campaign against, you know, racial equity.

So, when you think about the fact that Harvard, this nation’s oldest university, had about a 370-year explicit racial quota of only hiring white men to be the president, it’s laughable to think that the first ever Black woman following that unbroken line of white racial quotas is the one who’s unqualified.

I mean, this is kind of the beauty of how racism works. If you are Black and you don’t achieve, if you don’t succeed at the highest echelon, it’s because you’re lazy and you’re not smart enough. If you do achieve and you do succeed and you do rise to the top of your profession, it’s because you didn’t deserve it.

So, as Toni Morrison said, this is all really a distraction. Chris Rufo is not a serious person. He is a person who has been trying to attack what he calls DEI, but really any efforts to address racial inequality. He has explicitly said that he does propaganda work. And the fact that we’re all talking about it means that he’s being successful.

PHILLIP: What do you make of the fact that, you know, there were all these university presidents who were criticized. She wasn’t the only one. But the other presidents weren’t criticized because they were women. They were criticized because of things that they said or did. She is being singled out as someone who is only surviving because of her race. What did you make of that?

HANNAH-JONES: Well, it’s racist. I mean, we have — no one has produced a shred of evidence that shows that the sole qualification that President Gay had was that she is a Black woman. That’s insulting. It defies logic. And the fact that, of those presidents, who all came under intense scrutiny, that only one has been called out as a so-called diversity or affirmative action hire just speaks of a Black woman of this country have gone through historically and continue to go through every day.

She’s clearly qualified and really, I’m perplexed to try to figure out what does race have to do with the criticism that she hasn’t handled the protests on her campus correctly. They just see this as an opening to further sow racial division and to further their campaign of trying to attack any efforts around diversity and anti-racism.

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