reviewed: Nice White Parents
It could have been so much better
I love podcasts like this and went in thinking that I was the perfect demographic for it, but as each episode went on it became harder and harder to make myself listen to the next. In episode four, Chana Joffe-Walt says that the thesis of this show is that history repeats itself; I’m not sure if that’s followed through on too closely, but I think it could be said more accurately that history contextualizes the present.What’s such a big letdown is that the reporting done leaves so many stones uncovered that, by the end of the series, not that much has been contextualized outside of a very narrow thesis for just one neighborhood in one borough in one city in America. We never hear about discriminatory housing practices or school redistricting, income inequalities, No Child Left Behind, etc etc, and get just a brief mention of private and charter schools. Structural racism creates a very complicated mess of institutions, but her reporting never examines how they all interact to keep these problems around. A few times every episode I’d end up saying out loud, “Wait, go back. Can we get some follow up? Can you tell us more about that disparity? And numbers?”One of the most confounding moments is when she contacts white parents who had pushed for desegregation but then didn’t send their kids to the school they’d advocated for . . . sixty years ago. Most of these 90 year olds didn’t even remember that it had happened, and she even finishes one interview with the narration, “She said X, but what I think she meant was Y.” You think? Why don’t you confirm this?I don’t mean to make it all sound bad. Education is a huge part of structural racism and I’m glad that someone is examining it. I just don’t think there’s enough here to convince anyone of something they don’t already believe, or interest people who are already on board. In The Dark has gone much more in-depth with their reporting and given a much stronger idea to their listeners of how pervasive racism is in every level of daily life. If you’re interested in this, listen to their second season instead.
Reviewed on Apple Podcasts