Saturday, September 16, 2017

Disrespecting the President is Fine..if the President Is Black: Jemele Hill, Donald Trump and Barack Obama

You may have heard that ESPN personality and Detroit native Jemele Hill ran into some controversy when she recently tweeted that President Donald Trump was a white supremacist, which is a big part of why he was elected. Now if you are an employee as opposed to the owner of the means of production you always run a risk of losing your job if you say something political. Your statements could mess up your employer's revenue flow or associate your employer with beliefs that your employer does not hold. That's just the way it goes. So it was one thing when various conservatives and racists crawled out of the woodwork to attack Hill. That was to be expected. What was a little different though was that the White House, through its oleaginous spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said that Hill's tweets were fireable offenses. The level of hypocrisy here is just off the charts. Now there is a larger issue, which I may address a little later when I have more time, about people's social media statements, heartfelt, stupid, inappropriate or otherwise getting them in trouble with the public or their employer. There's a lot of that going around right now. It's seemingly almost every day! But I have no time to write on that now.

But let's remember that Donald Trump was (is??) a prominent member of the birther movement. He argued that President Obama wasn't American. He also called President Obama a racist. Can you imagine the conservative response if the Obama White House had publicly called for Trump to lose business opportunities or be fired from The Apprentice because of his racist or stupid statements? Additionally the people who are currently screaming about the need to fire, censor, or censure Hill are mostly the same people who are also screaming about the need for free speech to include conservative and/or racist viewpoints. In short like a lot of people they believe in "Free Speech for me, but not for thee".

For what it's worth Hill has tweeted a carefully worded clarification that does not retract her view of the President but does express regrets that anyone might think that she was speaking for her employer. ESPN said they accepted her "apology" and that there had been internal discipline. This is worthy of more detailed discussion at a later time but for now I just want to leave you with three things to think about.
  • When you can't bring yourself to condemn unequivocally Nazis and the KKK, you indeed might be a white supremacist.
  • When the New Yorker runs a cover of you with a Klan sheet but you ignore that to focus on the black woman who said that you're a white supremacist, you indeed might be a white supremacist.
  • Check out the below cornucopia of untrue, hateful, ugly, bigoted and yes racist statements that several prominent conservatives made about former President Obama. And that is just a very small sampling. So perhaps Trump and his white supremacist snowflake supporters should get tougher skin.

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