A little while back we published a piece here, telling the story of how one woman’s article about white women’s tears—and how they are often cynically used and exploited to silence women of colour—led to a torrent of abuse for the author.
I encourage you to read the original piece again, here. Its author, Ruby Hamad, has since been documenting this phenomenon, and repelling trolls, tirelessly on her Twitter feed. (She also wrote this quite astounding and heartfelt piece about the systemic and widespread racism upon which modern Australia was built and which I also encourage you to read.)
Just the other day, something happened that makes me think we are living in an era in which satire is not only dead, but in which it has been exhumed, resurrected, had its eyes gouged out and its limbs broken, and then fired straight into the heart of the sun. That’s right: A black journalist, Lisa Benson Cooper, shared Ms Hamad’s article on her personal Facebook page, and was subsequently fired after her white colleagues complained. I’m going to let Ruby tell the story here:
Please, I'm gonna need journalists and feminists in Australia kicking up a stink about this too..a black journalist was fired for sharing my piece on white women's fragility and silencing of women of colour. #Justice4LisaBenson #KHSB #NBC https://t.co/vWixjn9QUC— Ruby Hamad (@rubyhamad) August 21, 2018
Lisa Benson Cooper is a broadcast journalist in Kansas City Missouri. Going by Lisa Benson on air, she has more than 20 years experience. She has won an Emmy-award for her journalism. She is a 42 year old married African-American woman with 2 children, a 5 yr old and a 2 yr old.— Ruby Hamad (@rubyhamad) August 20, 2018
She has worked at for the last 14 years at 14+ years at KSHB-TV., which is an NBC affiliate owned by EW Scripps. Scripps own 33 television stations and 33 radio stations across the USA.— Ruby Hamad (@rubyhamad) August 20, 2018
On May 9th, Lisa shared this piece this I wrote for The Guardian, about a common but only recently voiced phenomenon where WoC who raise issues about race & their mistreatment esp. at work are punished by white women who claim the WoC is "attacking" them. https://t.co/D8VYhX68lW— Ruby Hamad (@rubyhamad) August 20, 2018
Lisa shared this piece on her PERSONAL Facebook page which is set to private. Two white female colleagues saw her post, which she tells me she shared int he hopes of "starting a conversation" & "hopefully enlighten people" about her own other WoC's experiences. They contacted HR.— Ruby Hamad (@rubyhamad) August 20, 2018
On May 11th Lisa was suspended from her job at KSHB-TV, for making "made broad, unfair characterizations of white women as a group based on their race and gender." She and my article did no such thing. This is a lie and must be flatout rejected.— Ruby Hamad (@rubyhamad) August 20, 2018
And, since there is always more to the story: Lisa has previously filed a discrimination complaint and she suspects this was a convenient excuse to get rid of someone who and already objected to be being treated poorly at work on account of her race.— Ruby Hamad (@rubyhamad) August 20, 2018
Lisa has a lawyer who is working to prove that:— Ruby Hamad (@rubyhamad) August 20, 2018
A) The article & her sharing of it was not discriminatory or offensive.
B) The argument employed in the article is a point of discussion in many other mainstream & academic platforms.
C) Lisa was unfairly dismissed.
Please share this thread and tag anyone you think can help bring attention to this. Lisa says she wants people to "know this truth about a company they're entrusting to represent them and their community." #Justice4Lisa— Ruby Hamad (@rubyhamad) August 20, 2018
My article went viral with most page views & shares occurring in the US. We can also make Lisa's story go viral to ensure she is adequately compensated for this blatant targeting & discrimination. All she did was share my article to her personal page. WoC: we are strong together.— Ruby Hamad (@rubyhamad) August 20, 2018
According to Heavy:
Since her hire in 2004, Lisa actively pursued promotions, but claims they were always given “to white employees with far less experience.”
Another reporter by the name of Demetrice “Dee” Jackson who also works for KSHB-TV has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit as well, claiming that he was twice overlooked for the position of sports director after senior staff lead him to believe he’d be given the position.
In 2015, Lisa started to ask her supervisor why she hadn’t seen the promotions that others have and why she was being mistreated in general. She was told her behavior was “combative” and her co-workers accused her of fighting with her supervisor. She was suspended without pay for two days.
Header Image Source: Ruby Hamad Twitter