Editor's Note: This transcript was automatically transcribed, so mistakes are inevitable. You can contribute by proofreading the transcript or highlighting the mistakes. Sign up to be amongst the first contributors.
Hello, Syria, listeners. This is Sarah Koenig, host of the serial podcast. It's been awhile. I know you might be wondering if another season of the show is coming soon. Yes and no. Yes, there will be a season four, though. Not exactly soon. That's because I've been doing a bunch of other things since the last season ended. Namely, Julie Snyder, Cereal's cocreator, and I have been working on a couple of new shows under the Zero Productions banner.
A few years ago we produced Podcast s town. You might remember it. And we wanted to do more projects like that. We wanted to expand our tiny company not into a giant podcast machine, but just big enough so that we could continue making seasons of cereal and also produce other kinds of shows. Experiment. Tell different kinds of stories in new ways. Now that is happening. Zero Productions will soon become part of a little company. You might have heard of the New York Times, which means we'll be able to make more of what we want to make.
Exactly how we want to make it with the full support of the times by our side. We are so excited to have a home at the Times, a company that has the same journalistic mission and high standards as we do. So I wanted to announce that equally exciting is that I get to announce our latest zero production show. It's called Nice White Parents. Hannah Jaffe Walt is the host. If you listen to this American life, you might recognize her name for years, harnessed on some of the most creative and beautiful work that's ever aired on this American life.
Five women. Have you heard five women or LaDonna? These stories, Rikyu, make you think differently about things you thought you already knew. That's maybe especially true of Hannah's education reporting. The two parter she did with Nicole Hannah Jones, her story about school discipline, about school inequality.
Hannah is the rare talent who can ask huge questions without guile. Questions like who matters? Who doesn't? What kind of society are we trying to be? And more often than not, find answers inside the small, sensitive moments that other reporters and I'm talking about myself here barely notice.
It seems like a trick that she pulls this off over and over. But I've been working with hard on her new podcast. And now I know how she does it. Empathy combined with unflinching clarity of purpose. Which brings me to nice white parents. Hannah started reporting this story in 2015. She went to find out what would happen inside this one public school in her neighborhood during a sudden influx of white students into a school that had barely had any white students before and then not satisfied that she fully understood what she was seeing because that's the Hanaway.
She went all the way back to the founding of the school in the 1960s and then fought again up to the present day. And what Hannah uncovered inside the story of this one school building is the unspoken force that defines public education in America. That's been staring us in the face all along. I could go on about how great this series is, how much it taught me and challenged me. But I'm gonna stop now and just let you hear the trailer.
The first two episodes of Nice White Parents will be released July 30th. You can listen wherever you get your podcasts.
I want to take you back to a time when a group of idealistic people feeling hopeful about the future, about America, threw themselves into the fight for racial integration. It was 1963 and New York City was planning to build a new school right next to a housing project where the students would be almost entirely black and Puerto Rican. But these white parents came in and said, no, no, no, no, don't build it there. Put it closer to the white neighborhood.
That way, all our kids can go to school together. They were dogged. These white parents lobbying the city at meetings, writing letters, saying don't build it there. It will inevitably be a segregated school. And we want our kids to mix with black and Puerto Rican kids from the projects. It's a decade after Brown v. Board of Education. They said schools should be integrated. There's an archive filled with letters where the parents wrote things like, we don't want our white children to be part of some, quote, small, white, middle income.
Click The Board of Education agreed, changed the entire plan and located the building where the white parents wanted it. A few years later, the school finally opened and then none of them sent their kids there. I went through this box of letters called as many parents as I could. Not a single person actually sent their kid to the school. Not one. What happened?
I remember thinking very clearly. OK, I believe in this, but I don't sort of want to sacrifice my children to know. As I said, I'm a Quaker. And so my kids went to a Quaker school.
Well, you were a Quaker when you wrote this letter asking for an integrated side. I believe in it.
But I think that we say a lot of things that are politically correct without even realizing that we are not telling exactly how we feel. For years, I've been looking for an answer to the question, why don't public schools work better? What is getting in the way of giving each child an equal opportunity, an equal education? But now I think I've been looking in the wrong places for what's broken in our schools. I think you can't understand what's broken if you don't look here.
And one of the most powerful forces shaping public education. White parents. From serial productions, it's nice white parents. A new show about the 60 year relationship between white parents and the public school down the block.
Nice white parents coming July 30th.
Wherever you get your podcasts.