The impassioned debate over The New York Times’s 1619 Project may seem like it’s about race, but it’s also about the race to replace the paper’s executive editor, Dean Baquet. And here’s the odd part: the lead contenders competing to follow the only Black man to have ever held the top job are all white, middle-aged, straight men.

Let’s go back to the beginning. Last year, The New York Times Magazine published a multi-media issue, overseen by Nikole Hannah-Jones, in which she made the bold claim that the American Revolution was fought not for independence but to preserve slavery. She posited that America’s true founding was not July 4, 1776, but 1619—the year the first slave ship arrived off the Virginia coast.