Friedersdorf: Tell me more about the narrative you want to challenge.
Mboyayi: One day my daughter told me she was taught that all white people are privileged and part of a system of white supremacy. My son said the same thing. So I reached out to my daughter’s teacher to find out what exactly was being taught. It was pretty much like she said: that all white people were part of this system of white supremacy, and that all white people, because of the color of their skin, had privilege. I said, “But that’s not true.” And the teacher said, “Well, what do you mean?”
Ndona Muboyayi Lives Not By Lies
Here’s a dynamite interview Conor Friedersdorf did with Ndona Muboyayi, a black woman of Congolese descent who is running for school board in Evanston, Ill. — and is having to fight the Left, on behalf of her children and others. She grew up in Evanston, then moved away. When she returned, she found it had changed. Excerpts:
Evanston to me was almost a utopia. Which is why I told my children, while we were living outside Toronto, “When we move back to the States, let’s move to Evanston.” I gave my children and my husband, who grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this idea that it would be a place of both Black unity and people working together across color lines. But when we got here in 2018, within the first year, my children were being taught about white supremacy and white privilege and that all white people were rich and racist. My son and daughter came home like, What is this?
Friedersdorf: What was the problem with those lessons, beyond your children not liking them?
Mboyayi: My children have always been so proud of who they are. Then all of a sudden they started to question themselves because of what they were taught after arriving here. My son has wanted to be a lawyer since he was 11. Then one day he came home and told me, “But Mommy, there are these systems put in place that prevent Black people from accomplishing anything.” That’s what they’re teaching Black kids: that all of this time for the past 400 years, this is what [white people have] done to you and your people. The narrative is, “You can’t get ahead.”
Of course I want my children to know about slavery and Jim Crow. But I want it to be balanced out with the rest of the truth. They’re not taught about Black people who accomplished things in spite of white supremacy; or about the Black people today who got ahead, built things, achieved things; and those who had opportunities that their ancestors fought for.
I have traveled a lot. My father was a university professor and taught in both the United States and Paris, France. And when I visited, I saw white people in public housing. I’ve been to Belgium and Switzerland and seen very poor white people. I’ve visited other parts of Europe. I lived in Canada for 10 years. There are poor white people in Canada as well. I’m not saying systemic racism doesn’t exist, but class exists too, and I don’t believe that all white people have privilege. That white person who’s living in the Appalachian Mountains, who has no means or prospect of changing their situation—do they, too, have privilege? Compared to me and my kids?
I’ve spent a lot of time in Central Africa because my dad is from the Congo. And some of the propaganda that’s being spread right now here in Evanston is similar to some of the divisiveness that took place in Rwanda before the massacre. I’m not saying that is what’s going to happen here, but when you start labeling people in a negative manner based on their race or ethnic group, this leads to division and destruction, not finding common ground and positive solutions.
She says that she’s doing this because she doesn’t want her children or other black children to be taught by the school system that they can’t get ahead, that they can’t accomplish anything, because the white man has his boot on their neck. Muboyayi goes on to say that people are terrified in Evanston to speak out against this stuff, because left-wing activist go after their jobs. She explains that she’s self-employed, so she feels responsible for using her relative safety on that front to take a stand against this racist garbage.
That woman is a hero. If Evanston had even ten like her, the lie would go down.
You and me, let’s be like Ndona Muboyayi — before we get an American Rwanda.
UPDATE: On the “American Rwanda” front, this repulsive neoracist propaganda, written by Elie Mystal, appeared in The Nation. Excerpt:
I’ve said, here and elsewhere, that one of the principal benefits of the pandemic is how I’ve been able to exclude racism and whiteness generally from my day-to-day life. Over the past year, I have, of course, still had to interact with white people on Zoom or watch them on television or worry about whether they would succeed in reelecting a white-supremacist president. But white people aren’t in my face all of the time. I can, more or less, only deal with whiteness when I want to. Their cops aren’t hunting me when I drive through my neighborhood; their hang-ups aren’t bothering me (or threatening me) when I’m just trying to do some shopping.
That’s because I haven’t been driving or shopping in person. White people haven’t improved; I’ve just been able to limit my exposure to them. I’ve turned my house into Wakanda: a technically advanced, globally isolated home base from which I can pick and choose when and how often to interact with white people.
To be clear, it’s not that most or even many of my interactions with white people are “bad”; it’s that I’m able to choose when to expose myself to interactions with potentially bad white people.
If you read on, you’ll see that Mystal, the magazine’s “social justice correspondent,” writes of a crypto-Klucker verbally assaulting a black youth outside a drugstore. What happened? An elderly white woman rolled down the window of her car and asked the black teenager if this was a place where one could get a Covid shot. That’s it. That’s what happened.