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A Classroom Divided: Nikole Hannah-Jones on School Segregation
Diversity | June 09, 2016

A Classroom Divided: Nikole Hannah-Jones on School Segregation

It’s been 62 years since Brown v. Board of Education, but school segregation in America is very much alive. In a recent long-form feature for NYT Magazine, Nikole Hannah-Jones—winner of a 2015 George Polk Award for radio reporting for her This American Life story on school segregation—gives an intensely personal account of choosing a Brooklyn public school for her daughter.

The piece delves into the systemic issue looming behind Hannah-Jones’s decision: while wealthier, white public schools often adopt a sort of curated diversity—accepting a handful of black, Latino, and Asian students—real integration appears to have been left off the agenda, with most schools remaining predominantly poor, black, and Latino, or predominantly affluent and white. “While Brown v. Board targeted segregation by state law, we have proved largely unwilling to address segregation that is maintained by other means, resulting from the nation’s long and racist history,” she argues. Ultimately, she believes that “true integration, true equality, requires a surrendering of advantage,” but admits that “when it comes to our own children, that can feel almost unnatural.”

Nikole-Hannah Jones tackles contemporary civil rights issues in personal, accessible, and thoroughly compelling ways, with a particular focus on education, housing, and broader policy decisions. To hire Nikole Hannah-Jones—or another education speaker such as Paul Tough or Angela Duckworth—for your next keynote event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.
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