Last year, I swore I was done with journalism. Despite dedicating the last eight years to this industry, I was ready to give it all up. I thought journalism had become another tool of the establishment. It seemed like everyone around me was more concerned about getting a job under some corporation’s masthead than storytelling. I understood that people had bills to pay but the lack of dreamers and risk-takers disappointed me. Sometimes, I still feel that disappointment but I digress.
Eventually, I wandered back to the dark side because, as cliché and corny as it sounds, I want to be the change I want to see in this world. I am also inspired by women like Zerlina Maxwell and Melissa Harris-Perry who do important work in media. Additionally, there have been a couple of incidents that show me that diversity in media is a worthy fight.
Last Monday, I logged onto Twitter to see blogger Luvvie Ajayi going off about Jezebel’s latest screw-up. If you haven’t heard by now, they have a new editor-in-chief, Emma Carmichael. There isn’t anything inherently special about this development except Carmichael, a 25-year-old editor from another publication, was chosen over Dodai Stewart, who has been deputy editor of Jezebel since it was founded in 2007. If you do the math that means Carmichael was in high school when Jezebel was founded. To add another layer to this story, Carmichael is white and Stewart is Black and for a publication that has been criticized for not being intersectional, this ain’t a good look. Carmichael must be pretty special to be an editor at 25 years old but I refuse to believe she was more qualified than Stewart. As a working class Black girl trying to make it into this industry, this is a slap in the face and yet another example of white feminism at work. They give good lip service but when it comes down to it, they only look out for their own and they ain’t worried about my or anyone else’s Black ass.
A day later, I came across a video of Detroit-based activist Maureen Taylor going in a reporter that was sharing misleading information about the city’s water crisis. The reporter, a white man, was clearly biased against the thousands of poor people that have had their water shut off by the city for suspicious reasons. Meanwhile, there are more affluent entities that owe money, including the state of Michigan, that owe thousands of dollars but still have running water. Those facts seemed to be lost on the reporter who claimed these people cared more about their cable than their water.
Thankfully, Miss Maureen got him together in a way that only an older Black woman can. If you don’t believe me, just press play.
Incidents like these are what keep me writing. They are why AnotA is going to celebrate two years on the innanets in a month. It’s clear that people like me will only have space at the table if we conform so I say screw the table as I gather lumber to build my own. I’m sick of waiting for a chance. Hell, I’m sick of writing about this too.
I’m hoping some more of my melanated, queer, female and all of the above folk join me because we’re all we got.