New York Times opinion writer Bret Stephens criticized colleague and racial injustice reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones’ landmark 1619 Project in his latest column, saying that points made within it were “illogical.” The project argues for readers to reimagine 1619 as the country’s birth year rather than 1776 due to the contributions made by slaves. Stephens argues that the impact of decisions made in 1776 outweighed those of 1619. While praising the project’s ambition, he wrote that “for all of its virtues, buzz, spinoffs and a Pulitzer Prize...the 1619 Project has failed.”
“It [the project] issued categorical and totalizing assertions that are difficult to defend on close examination,” Stephens wrote. “Virtually every writer in the project seems to sing from the same song sheet, alienating other potential supporters of the project and polarizing national debate.” Stephens mentions other critics’ issues with the project’s transparency, objectivity, and accuracy. Hannah-Jones pushed back on Stephens’ criticism, arguing that the case for making 1619 the country’s “true” birth was “always a metaphoric argument” and not intended to be taught to students.