Lisa Benson Cooper is a broadcast journalist in Kansas City Missouri. Going by Lisa Benson on air, she has more than 20 years experience. She has won an Emmy-award for her journalism. She is a 42 year old married African-American woman with 2 children, a 5 yr old and a 2 yr old.— Ruby Hamad (@rubyhamad) August 20, 2018
A black journalist was allegedly fired from KSHB-TV in Kansas City after two white colleagues complained to HR about an article she had shared on Facebook.
Kansas City journalist Lisa Benson Cooper had shared a Guardian article titled “How White Women Use Strategic Tears to Silence Women of Colour”.
The article details a form of racism that too often goes unnoticed in discourses around gendered racism: How white women employ their privilege to subjugate, bully, and ultimately silence women of color in general and black women in particular. Through real-life examples, the writer Ruby Hamad demonstrated that once white women were called out on their particular brand of racism, they usually shed a few tears to invoke helplessness and accuse the complainant of bullying. Many of these examples were about racism at workplace.
The article struck a cord with Cooper, who has twenty years of work experience, and when she did, two of colleagues, who are white, complained to HR about the content on the journalist’s private Facebook page.
Cooper was then fired. It is quite a reckoning to know that an Emmy award-winning black journalist was fired for a legitimate concern, but unabashed white supremacists are allowed to run for office in the U.S. and are also winning, in some cases.
Cooper’s firing confirmed the idea that Hamad had put forward in her article. White feminism has been made the cherished ideal of womanhood. This exclusivity of womanhood disadvantages women of color and trans women in almost all areas of life. For instance, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has an “acceptable” testosterone range, modeled after the testosterone level of white women. This means that, every year, many women of color are barred from competing in sports. It is also not wrong to say that white women have learned to exploit whatever concession white patriarchy has offered them. For almost a decade now, tennis player Maria Sharapova has tried to make excuses for her repeated defeats at the hands of star player Serena Williams by saying things like Williams “makes her [Sharapova] feel like a little girl.”
Cooper’s story was shared by Hamad with permission from Cooper.
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