When authorities in Boulder, Colorado called the supermarket shooter this week, there were a slew of people on the left with eggs on their faces. This is because many mistakenly assumed that Sagittarius must be white. I wrote an entire post based on a twitter thread that just gathered a few of the many blue checkered links who made this mistake.
One of the most conspicuous people who made this mistake was Hemal Jhaveri. Dave Rubin pointed out that she tweeted this about the shooting: “It’s always an angry white man. Always. “Only in this case it wasn’t.
I am shocked and appalled that the editor of Race and Inclusion at a major newspaper is actually a racist. (And of course pronouns in bio.) Pic.twitter.com/lhP7mKTRj6
– Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) March 23, 2021
Jhaveri isn’t just a rando leftie on Twitter. She was the editor of Diversity and Inclusion for USA Today Sports. Today Jhaveri wrote a piece on Medium and stated that she was fired shortly afterwards.
On Monday night, I sent a tweet in response to the fact that mass shooters are most likely white men. It was a choppy over-generalization that was tweeted after pictures of the detained shooter surfaced online. It was a negligent mistake of judgment broadcast at a hot time that does not represent my commitment to racial equality. I regret sending it. I apologized and deleted the tweet.
On Tuesday morning after the shooter was identified as Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, several high profile alt-right Twitter accounts picked up the tweet as an example of anti-white bias and racism against whites …
There was outrage over social media, threats, and harassment against me, and by the end of the day USA TODAY had released me from my position as editor of racing and inclusion.
Was your shooting reasonable? To be honest, I am not sure. On the one hand, I’m against turning people off for tweets, especially old tweets created by someone as a stupid teenager.
On the other hand, I think there are times when someone’s tweets are not compatible with their job. For example, I think the SF School Board made the right call to get Alison Collins out of her leadership position based on her tweets about Asians. Collins didn’t really apologize and didn’t delete the tweets. She clearly still believes that Asians use “white supremacist thinking” to “get ahead”. And that’s just not a tenable position if you’re part of a district that has 30% Asians.
I think you can make a similar point here. I don’t think Jhaveri should be fired for angry reactions to her tweets. Never give in to the mob. But it’s fair for their bosses to ask if their admittedly negligent public statement is really compatible with their job. To be honest what she said is racist. Not all mass shooters are white and say this is as offensive as any other universal, negative stereotype about a particular race. Big surprise, nobody wants to be associated with mass shooters because of their skin color.
Should an apology be enough to fix this? I am more open to arguments there. She deleted it and says she apologized. I don’t see the apology, but maybe I missed it or it deleted it too. While I think this tweet was more than stupid, I wish USA Today wouldn’t fire an 8-year-old employee anytime soon.
Of course there can be more to this story. Jhaveri says she loved her job, but her middle post contains a lot of criticism of her employer:
This is not about bias or keeping personal opinions off Twitter. It’s about challenging the white and being punished for it. As a columnist and editor of Race and Inclusion at our Sports Media Group, it was my job to push for anti-racism and inclusion in our stories and with our employees. This work cannot be done without the request of existing power relations, often in a public forum.
USA TODAY, like so many other newsrooms, has vocalized its commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion. Yet the very work of diversity, equality and inclusion requires addressing intricate structural issues that should make white audiences uncomfortable. In this case, after I made a mistake, the company contradicted its commitment to DEI and became critical …
However, sending a fake tweet that ended up on Fox News at the hands of Sean Hannity was enough to end that posting.
So many newsrooms claim to value different voices, but when it comes to supporting them or examining how white supremacy permeates their own newsrooms, they are quick to back off.
I’m not sure if she’s really sorry. What she’s saying here sounds a lot like an argument that it was her job to make white people unhappy and therefore she shouldn’t have been fired for making white people unhappy. Aside from the fact that her writing wasn’t about promoting diversity or inclusion, but rather a lazy stereotype that turned out to be wrong.
What I don’t think Jhaveri is getting is that white people had good reason to be dissatisfied with her. And her bosses haven’t given up on her commitment to diversity, they have given up on her commitment to her because she posted a sloppy, ugly tweet. There is a difference.
That doesn’t mean I support any part of the online abuse that got in her way as a result. I do not support such cheap attacks on anyone. But she said the wrong thing and criticism was justified. Maybe her bosses just didn’t think she deserved another chance. I hope they didn’t just give in to the mob because that’s not a good precedent in these situations.