Stop Penalizing Black Women For Having a Voice

With the recent suspension of NFL news anchor and "His or Her" co-host, Jemele Hill, it makes me think about the many times that black women have spoken up for their community, when they are expected to be kept silent. When black women raise their voices, they are penalized, and negative consequences usually follow suit. It has happened far too often throughout pop culture, and it’s time to talk about it. A black woman with a voice is usually seen as a threat to her peers, therefore, black women in the eyes of the public are expected to be kept silent about the issues that they clearly face in this country. Black women bring light to conversations that this country is afraid of having, and their bravery and leadership needs to be applauded, not trashed by their employers and the media.

Jemele Hill is a spokeswoman for ESPN. She was previously circulated in media due to an incident where she called Donald Trump a white supremacist. Rightfully so, around the time of the Charlottesville riots where President Donald Trump said there were “fine people on both sides,” despite the fact that white supremacists and Neo-Nazis killed an innocent person that day. This time around, Hill tweeted about the owner of an NFL team who told his players that they would sit out of the game if they disrespected the flag by kneeling during the National Anthem. She was then suspended by ESPN for a second violation against their social media guidelines.

Another black woman who got penalized is Munroe Bergdorf, a black transwoman who was set to become the first transwoman to be the face of a L'Oréal Paris UK campaign, until she spoke up. Munroe discussed the systemic racism that people of color face in the UK. Instead of listening to what she had to say and what she has experience, she was bashed in media and dropped from L'Oréal’s diversity campaign.

Jemele’s and Munroe’s incidents both happened on social media. It's ironic that these people are held accountable for the facts they talk about on their social media accounts, while we have a president who abuses his social media in worst ways. The message that these incidents are giving black women and girls around the world is that they should only suffer in silence, and that’s not right at all. It’s very clear who this country’s first amendment rights apply to. This country needs to take a turn, and it needs to do it now.

Photo credits: Cover photo, 1