"There's never been a moment in the history of this country where black people who have been isolated from white people have gotten the same resources," Hannah-Jones says. "They often don't have the same level of instruction. They often don't have strong principals. They often don't have the same technology."
Still, when it was time for Hannah-Jones' daughter, Najya, to attend kindergarten, the journalist chose the public school near their home in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, even though its students were almost all poor and black or Latino. Hannah-Jones later wrote about that decision in The New York TimesMagazine.
Before she joined The New York Times to cover racial injustice, Nikole Hannah-Jones was an award-winning reporter at Propublica.
For Hannah-Jones, sending Najya to the neighborhood school was a moral issue. "It is important to understand that the inequality we see, school segregation, is both structural, it is systemic, but it's also upheld by individual choices," she says. "As long as individual parents continue to make choices that only benefit their own children ... we're not going to see a change."
Hannah-Jones adds that her daughter is thriving at school. "I know she's learning a lot," she says. "I think it is making her a good citizen. ... It is teaching her that children who have less resources than her are not any less intelligent than her or not any less worthy than her."
On why she chose to send her young daughter to the public school in her neighborhood
One of the things I've done in my work is kind of show the hypocrisy of progressive people who say they believe in inequality, but when it comes to their individual choices about where they're going to live and where they're going to send their children, they make very different decisions, and I just didn't want to do that. So for me it was a matter of needing to live my values, and not being someone who contributed to the inequality that I write about.
On the importance of having students from different races and income levels in the public schools