By Greg Childress

Oct. 24, 2022

America can’t treat its history like a résumé – hyping the “virtuous” parts while leaving out unflattering parts, Jelani Cobb, dean of Columbia University School of Journalism said Saturday.

Cobb, who is also a staff writer at The New Yorker, made his comment during the Public School Forum of North Carolina’s “Color of Education Summit” in Raleigh. The theme for the Public School Forum’s fifth summit was “A Walk Through History: How the Past Informs the Present.”

“We prefer to have our history served to us in the form of a résumé,” Cobb said. “When you think about it, a résumé, you put everything on there that’s virtuous about you and nothing that is bad.”

In a wide-ranging speech that was equal parts history lesson and call to action, Cobb warned about the clear and present threat to democracy and took on the conservative forces that have rallied around the false notion that critical race theory is taught in elementary schools.