In the wake of the deadly mass shooting at a Colorado supermarket, some overheated leftists on Twitter insisted the suspect must be a white man. The surprise competitor of this ragefest was the “Editor of diversity and inclusion” for USA today Sports, Hemal Jhaveri. She tweeted: “He’s still an angry white man. Always.” Can’t we be inclusive enough to imagine that’s not the case?
Jhaveri was fired. But she could still rush to Medium and continue the thread that white supremacy is everywhere. “Inclusion” is a code word to ensure that whiteness is always on the defensive.
It’s not about bias or keeping personal opinions off of Twitter. It is about contesting the whiteness and being punished for it. As a running and inclusion columnist and editor in our sports media group, it was my job to push for anti-racism and inclusion in our stories and with our staff. This work cannot be done without evoking existing power relations, often in a public forum.
USA TODAY, like so many other newsrooms, has spoken out on highlighting its commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion. And yet doing the real work of diversity, equality and inclusion requires tackling complex structural issues that should make white audiences uncomfortable. In this case, after making a mistake, the company contradicted its commitment to DCI and collapsed on the reviews …
Sending a fake tweet that ended up in Sean Hannity’s hands on Fox News, however, was enough for this post to turn the line.
So many newsrooms claim to value diverse voices, but when it comes to supporting them, or taking a deeper look at how white supremacy permeates their own newsrooms, they are quickly pulling back.
She insisted that others kept their jobs for the worst offenses:
Meanwhile, white reporters at USA TODAY were able to minimize racialized people in print media, our white editor was thoughtless about the black face, and a senior political editor (also white) showed contempt for journalistic ethics by hosting a reception financed by the taxpayer for those appointed by Trump. They all kept their jobs.
John Sexton at Hot Air sums it up perfectly:
I don’t think Jhaveri should be fired because of angry reactions to her tweets. Never give in to the crowd. But it’s fair for his bosses to ask him if his admittedly negligent public statement is really compatible with his job. To be honest, what she said is racist. Not all mass shooters are white and say that is exactly as offensive as any other universal and negative stereotype about a particular race. Big surprise, no one wants to be associated with mass shooters because of their skin color.