Have you ever been fired by white supremacy? Hemal Jhaveri has.
That is, according to Hemal Jhaveri.
It all started when the USA Today “race and inclusion” editor made an assumption about Boulder, Colorado’s recent and horrific mass shooting
As you likely know by now, on March 22nd, Syrian-born Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa murdered 10 people at the King Soopers grocery store.
In response to initial news of the crime, Hemal went out on a limb.
Via her personal Twitter account, she guessed the profile of the perp:
“It’s always an angry white man.”
Deadspin editor Julie DiCaro was on the same page:
“Extremely tired of people’s lives depending on whether a white man with an AR-15 is having a good day or not.”
Some believed Hemal’s message didn’t strike the sweet spot of racial inclusion:
If your assumption is “it’s always an angry white man” (it was not) then maybe you shouldn’t write about race pic.twitter.com/W1FAxiyISZ
— Jolson (@thejolson) March 23, 2021
I’m shocked and appalled that the Race and Inclusion editor at a major newspaper, is, in fact, a racist. (And pronouns in bio, of course.) pic.twitter.com/lhP7mKTRj6
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) March 23, 2021
The Federalist also viewed it as quite the gaffe:
Of course, that amounts to the “race and inclusion” editor of a major purportedly objective publication getting basic facts about race incorrect on a professional platform in the wake of a mass tragedy. She didn’t get facts about the budget wrong as a smalltime fashion blogger. She got one major fact directly related to her job wrong on a big story.
Another entity perceiving the post as problematic: USA Today.
As a result, Hemal was fired.
And on Friday, she fought back.
In a Medium.com article, the journalist fingered her foe.
According to the author, she’s been a victim of white supremacy.
And she didn’t go soft on the “Alt-Right”:
I wish I were more surprised by [the firing], but I’m not. Some part of me has been waiting for this to happen because I can’t do the work I do and write the columns I write without invoking the ire and anger of alt-right Twitter.
Bottom line — her post was part of a battle against thinking of the KKK kind:
There is always the threat that tweets which challenge white supremacy will be weaponized by bad faith actors.
Hemal also confirmed: there is indeed racism embedded into America’s systems.
She’d been crossing her fingers her employer would back her against such a scourge.
But her optimism got upended:
I had always hoped that when that moment inevitably came, USA TODAY would stand by me and my track record of speaking the truth about systemic racism.
That, obviously, did not happen.
Hemal did admit there’d been a pair of earlier predicaments:
In the email announcing that I had been fired, USA TODAY’s standards and ethics editor said I had been previously disciplined for a similar situation, but did not offer specifics. In my recollection, there are only two other tweets I’ve sent that USA TODAY found problematic. In one tweet, from roughly 2017, I called out a reporter’s white privilege. In another, from 2018, I pushed back against a USA TODAY Sports column, because the piece dismissed the human rights violations in Qatar as “a little on the repressive side.”
At the end of the day, it seems, USA Today is complicit in white supremacy, and Hemel’s a minority who’s had to tolerate microaggressive missiles:
My previous tweets were flagged not for inaccuracy or for political bias, but for publicly naming whiteness as a defining problem. That is something USA TODAY, and many other newsrooms across the country, can not tolerate.
Like many BIPOC writers in newsrooms I’ve also dealt with the constant micro-aggressions and outright racist remarks from the majority white staff.
.@USATODAY has fired its race & inclusion editor @hemjhaveri after she claimed that "it's always an angry white man" in response to the Boulder mass shooting by a Muslim Syrian suspect. She says she was fired because of white supremacy. https://t.co/okofHwD69r
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) March 27, 2021
On two separate occasions, I was asked to edit a piece on young black golfers, but warned not to use language that would alienate white audiences. In my first meeting with a new manager in the Sports Media Group, he interrupted as I was informing him about my qualifications and asked, “Actually, can you tell me where you’re originally from?”
She also slammed the outlet’s head white lady:
USA TODAY, like so many other newsrooms, has been vocal about trumpeting its commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion. And yet, doing the actual work of diversity, equality and inclusion necessitates engaging with complicated structural issues that should make white audiences uncomfortable. In this case, after I made one mistake, the company contradicted their commitment to DEI and wilted upon criticism.
Meanwhile, white USA TODAY reporters have been able to minimize racialized people in print, our white Editor-In-Chief was thoughtless about black face, and a senior politics editor (also white) showed disregard for journalistic ethics by hosting a tax payer funded reception for Trump appointees. All kept their jobs. Going outside of USA TODAY, there’s an even longer list of high-profile white journalists who stayed in their positions after accusations of sexual assault, using the n-word, and editorial negligence.
Hemal likely has lots of support. To many on social media, it would seem, her tweet wasn’t bird-brained:
It’s angry white man who is having a terrible day…#GunReformNow
— Kathy Mulhall (@kmsmulhall) March 23, 2021
I’m also pretty sure that to go with the AR-15 has been an angry white man.
— R. L. (@rbbellingham) March 23, 2021
Don’t know what was said but you’re right, whenever there is a mindless mass shooter it is always a white man.
— Snake Plissken & Brad Gilbert (Not Dead as heard) (@SquaTront50) March 27, 2021
We are such a silly, primitive species.
I mean…most mass shooters in the US are white men. That’s a stat. It’s not racist when it’s factual. And if you claim it is racist, you’re a silly person not to be taken seriously.https://t.co/RtMWvQSyNF https://t.co/6274a6nx1d
— Nick Mercadante @ 🏡 (@NMercad) March 27, 2021
So it goes.
And as we journey onward, Hemal will continue to fight the white:
Like many place, USA TODAY values “equality and inclusion,” but only as long as it knows its rightful place, which is subservient to white authority.
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