On Saturday, the New York Times published an opinion piece by Natalie Hopkinson, a professor of Communication, Culture, and Media Studies, about the behind-the-scenes role played by women in organizing Louis Farrakhan’s 1995 march on Washington, thereby rendering it more effective and saving it from the taint of being “patriarchal.” The article made no mention of Farrakhan’s more disturbing statements about women or homosexuals, let alone his vicious anti-Semitism. To Ira Stoll this is yet more evidence that the Times will trip over its feet to avoid every sort of prejudice, except for that against Jews:
The op-ed piece appears . . . under the headline “Behind the Million Woman March.” It is subheadlined, “Behind every great feat in the public record lies an untold story of the unsung foot soldiers.”
[The current opinion-page editor] Kathleen Kingsbury, told staffers when she took over: “Anyone who sees any piece of opinion journalism, headlines, social posts, photos—you name it—that gives you the slightest pause, please call or text me immediately.” That policy, as it’s been implemented, gives even the most junior staffers the power to halt the publication of an opinion piece by marking it with a “red flag” in the paper’s editorial system.
Did the article headlining Farrakhan’s “great feat” and ignoring his antisemitism not trigger even “the slightest pause” at the Times editorial page?
Perhaps more disturbing still is Hopkinson’s reaction to criticism on Twitter. She might have resorted to the simple defense that her article was a historical consideration of one aspect of the march, that she was given only 1,000 words to make her point, and that it was not the place for a discussion of Farrakhan’s merits or shortcomings. Instead, she went on the offensive, upbraiding one critic for failing to “center the marchers” or “Black women who are named” in her article, adding that her interlocutor’s concern over anti-Semitism in this context is an example of “privilege,” and a desire to “center” oneself and one’s feelings. In another post on the matter, Hopkinson wrote that those “who have become white [i.e., Jews] should not be lecturing Black ppl [sic] about oppression.”
Of course, it is Farrakhan himself who is guilty of “centering” Jews, as he believes that they are at the root of understanding the injustices that have befallen African Americans in the past three centuries.