A multi-billion dollar company and the Republican National Committee (RNC) are using their energy and power to attack and “expose” Ebony Magazine‘s Senior Digital Editor for a tweet she sent on her personal Twitter handle that mistook a black conservative for a white man.
Seems both excessive and silly to dub Jamilah Lemieux a raging racist — after all, a quick glance at the tweets will show how tirelessly she works to combat racism and sexism — but Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media are continuing their agenda to silence black voices, shaming black communities for their lack of “outreach,” while refusing to address the same racism and vitriolic actions of the RNC and Fox News that keep black communities at arm’s length.
Looks like someone forgot how cause and effect works.
And while it’s not surprising — any opportunity to bear the mask of a victim while calling reverse racism is a win for their agenda — the claim that Lemieux actively sought out the conservative in question, Raffi Williams, Deputy Secretary for the RNC, with the intention on attacking him was both inaccurate and indicative of how racism actually works.
Black woman exercises her First Amendment right, must be dragged up and down a national network to be taught a lesson.
Sound familiar, history?
But before we get there, this is how it all started. Yesterday, Lemieux tweeted about a new magazine project headed by black conservatives Ben Carson and Armstrong Williams.
(Yes, Ben Carson is launching a Black conservative magazine with Armstrong Williams. I have drinking games in mind already.)
— Jamilah Lemieux (@JamilahLemieux) March 27, 2014
A short while later, @BETpolitichick responded to the tweet, adding a few more to the conversation:
@SistahScholar @JamilahLemieux want to know more re carson/williams plan to launch magazine @orlandowatson @Raffiwilliams @hugheynewsome
— email@example.com (@BETpolitichick) March 27, 2014
Lemieux responded, implying that she didn’t want to know more about the conservative project. That’s when Williams jumped into the conversation:
@JamilahLemieux wish you knew less? hoped you would encourage diversity of thought. @BETpolitichick @SistahScholar @orlandowatson
— Raffi Williams (@Raffiwilliams) March 27, 2014
Lemieux responded again with the comment that offended Williams and prompted RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to call foul play: “Oh great, here comes a White dude telling me how to do this Black thing. Pass.”
She later acknowledged the mix-up, publicly apologizing to Williams for mistaking him for a white man, but adding that she did not wish to engage in a conversation that had nothing to do with Williams in the first place.
It wasn’t enough. Priebus launched a conservative campaign, calling for Ebony to apologize “for making assumptions about his race, but more importantly for dismissing black Republicans and the validity of their opinions in public discourse.”
A handful of publications wrote about the Twitter exchange with headlines demonizing Lemieux for her aggressive “attack:”
And Williams appeared on Fox to discuss his “encounter” with Lemieux in a segment that was headed by a host who claimed she “exposed her true colors and spent all day yesterday on Twitter insulting black conservatives.”
In fact, in the very few tweets she sent that day, she spent the time defending herself from vitriolic attacks and explaining the obvious — everyone has the right to their opinions, but she is not obligated to respect or engage them.
You can read a detailed Twitter timeline of the incident here.
In an ironic show of conservative support, Williams’ followers attacked Lemieux, calling her the n-word and bashing her for not using this as a teachable moment in diversity and inclusiveness.
Funny. The RNC, Fox News and Twitter conservatives are pissed about “diversity?”
And to really drive home the point about who holds the real power, the GOP and Fox (aka the Good Ol’ Boys club of power players, billionaires and politicians) decided that a personal apology from Lemieux wasn’t enough — Ebony Magazine had to answer for her actions.
Ebony, despite calls from Lemieux’s supporters on Twitter to #StandWithJamilah, folded.
In a statement that was titled “Diversity of Thought,” an obvious bow down to Williams, Ebony wrote:
EBONY founder John H. Johnson once said that he created EBONY magazine with the intention to affirm a certain sense of “somebodiness” for African Americans. Nearly 70 years ago the magazine began on the principle that, as Black people, we are all somebody—we all count.
Yesterday, the spirit of this mission was disregarded by EBONY.com Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux in a personal Twitter exchange between herself and RNC Deputy Press Secretary Raffi Williams. In part of the exchange, Lemieux responded to an attempt at discourse from Williams with words that curtly dismissed him and his suggestion that she be interested in the “diversity of thought.” She also misidentified him, unintentionally, as White. Williams is Black.
EBONY acknowledges Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux’s lack of judgment on her personal Twitter account and apologizes to Raffi Williams and the Black Republican community.
Disappointing, yes. But most importantly, it was clear evidence that even our most esteemed publications are still bowing down to a force that has blatantly shown its disinterest in black communities and has long-feigned a real effort at inclusivity and breaking down “isms” like their new enemy, Jamilah Lemieux, is doing every day she chooses to share her words with us.
If you #StandWithJamilah, please send a tweet in show of your support.
SOURCE: YouTube, Twitter
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