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1619 Project’s Hannah Jones: Ted Cruz had ‘no reason’ to invoke Critical Race Theory in Supreme Court hearing

1619 Project's Hannah Jones: Ted Cruz had 'no reason' to invoke Critical Race Theory in Supreme Court hearing

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FIRST ON By New York Times magazine’s 1619 Project founder Nikole Hannah-Jones said during a panel on Saturday that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, had “no reason” to invoke books relating to critical race theory during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Hannah-Jones made the comments during the National Antiracist Book Festival hosted by Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research.

Cruz asked Jackson if she agrees with the book “Antiracist Baby,” authored by the director of BU’s Center for Antiracist Research Ibram X Kendi, who has said that racial discrimination is not always “inherently racist.”

“Since the 1960s, racist power has commandeered the term ‘racial discrimination,’ transforming the act of discriminating on the basis of race into an inherently racist act. But if racial discrimination is defined as treating, considering, or making a distinction in favor or against an individual based on that person’s race, then racial discrimination is not inherently racist. The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist,” Kendi wrote in his 2019 book “How to Be an Antiracist.” 

“Do you agree with this book that is being taught to kids that babies are racist?,” Cruz inquired at Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing. 


Sen. Ted Cruz and Nikole Hannah-Jones
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images and Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Jackson responded that she has “never studied critical race theory, and I’ve never used it. It doesn’t come up in the work that I do as a judge.” Amazon’s summary of the book states that it “introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism.”

During the Saturday panel, Hannah-Jones said that Cruz had “no reason” to invoke the book and ask Jackson about it.

“It reveals a danger…how dangerous of a period we are in right now, because there’s no reason that that should have been brought up and it had nothing to do with the hearing,” Hannah-Jones said.

She also said that his question makes a statement on where modern-day American politics are, and said Cruz “was trying to provoke a base.”

Hannah-Jones also said that the “targeting” by Cruz could have potentially violent consequences.


Nikole Hannah-Jones signs books for her supporters before taking the stage to discuss her book, “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” at a 2021  L.A. Times book club event. 
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

“So this targeting has consequences. What my fear is that it can lead to violence, like actual violence,” Hannah-Jones said.

During the same panel, Hannah-Jones also said that Republicans are a “White party” who “understand that they actually cannot win elections with majorities.”

“And in this country, we have a swift demographic change occurring where Republicans understand that they actually cannot win elections with majorities because they are essentially a White party and Democrats are a party that actually represents the majority of Americans, which is plurality of White voters and the majority of voters of all other races, that these two things go hand in hand,” Hannah-Jones said.


1619 Project founder Nikole Hannah-Jones is seen as a hero to liberal media organizations and Hollywood alike despite widespread backlash to the award-winning project.
(Photo by: Jeff Scheart/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Hannah-Jones is best known for her work on The New York Times’ 1619 Project, which has been criticized for allegedly telling inaccurate parts of history, such as the claim that “one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.” The Times later corrected the essay to read, “…one of the primary reasons some of the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.”

She recently released a book based on The 1619 Project, which topped the best-seller lists on both Amazon and The New York Times. There’s also a children’s version of the book, titled “The 1619 Project: Born on the Water.”

Fox News has reached out to Hannah-Jones and Cruz for comment.

Darshan Shah
the authorDarshan Shah