An Intricate Castle of Good Intentions: ‘Nice White Parents,’ Historians vs. Journalists, and AsAm Christianity

Hello from the ledge of cancellation! 

We have some heady stuff for you this week—on school segregation, the perennial struggle between historians and journalists, and religiosity in Asian America. 

0:40 – After a quick update on Tammy’s new life of canoeing in Missoula, Jay describes his roundtrip between Berkeley and Whidbey Island, when he listened to the newest, most Upper West Side podcast ever: “Nice White Parents,” by Chana Joffe-Walt. 

We discuss the first three episodes of that series—tldr: the road to hell is paved with good intentions—and the broader contours of education, race, and class in the US. Are Asian students missing from the show’s presentation? Can we distinguish “good integration” from “bad integration”? Do individual choices make a difference, or are government policies all that matter? WTF, Rob? 

Other shows we mention:

The “School Colors” documentary podcast.

An earlier (2015), touchstone series of This American Life, featuring Joffe-Walt and Nikole Hannah-Jones, on school integration in Hartford, Connecticut and Normandy, Missouri.

37:04 – Andy shares a NY Mag interview with public intellectual Adam Tooze, which includes hot takes on the role of history vs. journalism. Is the archive-digger the natural enemy of the reporter? In this hellishly unprecedented(?!) moment, are some disciplines especially relevant? What about the political economy of journalism and academia? Included: the 1619 Project, fascism, and ye olde breakfast foods.

1:08:34 – Listener Jonathan Tang asks why so many East Asians, especially from the upper middle class, seem to be churched. We apply all kinds of anecdata in the search for truth. (Correction: Tammy references Christian missionaries’ visiting Korea by the early 19th century; she meant the late 19th century.)

P.S. – Tammy’s new nightly hike (suckers):

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