Fired for being “Too Black”!?

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Credit: Sportyafros

Rhonda Lee, a black female meteorologist was fired from the ABC affiliate in Shreveport, La. because she responded to a racial remark posted by a viewer on the station’s Facebook page regarding her hair.  This entire situation seems odd. There are numerous black reporters who wear their hair natural in front of the camera.

The commentary that led to Rhonda Lee’s firing

On Oct. 1, a viewer identified as Emmitt Vascocu wrote, “the black lady that does the news is a very nice lady.the only thing is she needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair. im not sure if she is a cancer patient. but still its not something myself that i think looks good on tv. what about letting someone a male have waist long hair do the news.what about that (cq).”

Rhonda’s response –   “Hello Emmitt–I am the ‘black lady’ to which you are referring. I’m sorry you don’t like my ethnic hair. And no I don’t have cancer. I’m a non-smoking, 5’3, 121 lbs, 25 mile a week running, 37.5 year old woman, and I’m in perfectly healthy physical condition.

I am very proud of my African-American ancestry which includes my hair. For your edification: traditionally our hair doesn’t grow downward. It grows upward. Many Black women use strong straightening agents in order to achieve a more European grade of hair and that is their choice. However in my case I don’t find it necessary. I’m very proud of who I am and the standard of beauty I display. Women come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, and levels of beauty. Showing little girls that being comfortable in the skin and HAIR God gave me is my contribution to society. Little girls (and boys for that matter) need to see that what you look like isn’t a reason to not achieve their goals.

Conforming to one standard isn’t what being American is about and I hope you can embrace that.

“Thank you for your comment and have a great weekend and thank for watching.

That was a kick-ass response!

The viewer replied and agreed that Lee was right to be proud of who she is. He also indicated that he was not a racist, but “. . . this world has . . . certain standerd (cq). if youve come from a world of being poor are you going to dress in rags?. . .”

Also on their Facbooke page:

Another comment read:

In a Nov. 14 post, viewer Kenny Moreland wrote, “Not to start any trouble, because I think that the annual ‘Three Minute Smile’ is a great function and I love to see kids so happy. Am I the only one that has noticed that this year, all the kids, lets say, are people of color? This is Channel 3, not KSLA, the ‘Project Pride’ network, that might as well be part of the BET Channel. Did KTBS slip up on a news story, and owe S’port’s criminal mayor Cedric, a favor? Seems like some racism going on to me. Just saying…..”

Lee replied the next day, “I’m not sure I understand your comment, ‘…this is Channel 3 not KSLA…’ What are you trying to say?

“The children are picked at random. So there goes your theory that they are selected for their color. I would like to think it doesn’t matter who the child is. If you truly just want to see the kids happy your message had a funny way of showing it.

“Happy holidays.–Met. Rhonda Lee”

Rhonda Lee explains why she responded to the viewer.

I was the one who brought it to their (news station’s) attention after they let it fester on the page for 6 days, but was then chastised for responding at all. I sent a screen grab to my boss via e-mail telling them that I’m ok with the anti-Rhonda commentary sometimes, but what has been posted at the time was . . . racist, and I asked them to please support me in removing the ones that didn’t encourage thoughtful, respectful and civil discourse on our FB page. I never got a reply, only punished. To this day the posts are still there.”

Lee told Journal-isms, “. . . Race has been the issue with me since I started. That much is VERY true. Weather is an older white boy business and arms have been less than open for a young black girl — a polar opposite. As reported I’ve had more problems here in the south than I have anywhere else in my 25+ years in the business. Perhaps there is a pattern, but I am a glutton for punishment (ha, ha), and I want what I deserve as any professional would so if I have to fight for it I will.”

The station ended up saying they sent out an email baring employees from responding to people on their official Facebook page. So, for that reason she was fired.

4 Comments

  1. Okay, wow! Lots to comment on here.
    1. The first comment… I don’t see how that’s racist. Yes, he refers to her as “black lady”. Whatever. But he didn’t say anything about the texture of her hair. It seems he has a problem with women having short hair. That’s not racism. That’s a whole different brand of stupidity/ignorance.
    2. Her response to the comment was rather off the wall to me, given my point in #1. She went into quite a bit of detail there. I agree that it would have been kickass if it was relevant.
    3. I sometimes feel like black people themselves feel inferior, and don’t really need anyone else to MAKE them feel that way. Every wrong that’s done to a black person by a person of another race isn’t racism. It’s really time to stop making those kinds of accusations. (I REALLY find this annoying, and my friends and I often get into conversations about it all the time because we see it so much.)
    4. The network really should have delete the ignorant comments. I don’t think they should have commented/replied. I also don’t think Lee should have done so herself, especially as a representative of the company. The comments should be better moderated.
    5. FIRED?! I’d like to know what grounds they stated. Probably inappropriate behaviour while representing the network?
    What a mess!

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      1. I agree with you. The fact that he followed up with the rest of his comments, said to me he is racist from the start. The cancer part was really insensitive as well. Was he trying to say she looked sick? He knew he was about to start some drama, even though she said he “didn’t want to.

        Like

  2. That’s really fucked up that she got fired. I’m not surprised she got fired though. Any time a black person speaks out, they always get into trouble. Her wearing her hair natural is already a threat. If she had a blonde weave with blue contacts, she would probably be the face of the station. I have to find out some more information about this. We can’t have Black people getting fired for shit like this anymore.

    Like

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