Getting Rid of Racism, One Black Woman at a Time
Rhonda Lee, a meteorologist for KTBS-TV in Louisiana, was fired for responding to a comment left on Facebook by viewer Emmit Vascou about Lee’s hair style. Vascou felt the need to share a few ignorant thoughts about what is an acceptable look for a local news television program, suggesting she might be a cancer patient for having a short hair style. Rhonda Lee’s response was as follows:
“Hello Emmitt I am the “black lady” to which you are referring. My name is Rhonda Lee. Nice to meet you,” she wrote on October 6, in the comments.
I am sorry you don’t like my ethnic hair. And no I don’t have cancer.
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. As women we 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.”
The company stated that she violated company policy by responding to the Facebook comment.
Many people, including myself, are wondering why she was fired for politely responding to a viewer via Facebook. As an African American woman living in the south, dealing with lingering internal and external racial prejudices can be frustrating. Criticizing any woman’s hair is likely to get a sharp reaction from her. A black woman’s hair is a particularly sensitive area because of society’s disdain for it. The company could have been racially understanding for her retort toward the viewer, especially since it was handled in such a mature and professional manner, and perhaps kindly ask her to refrain from commenting back to viewers in the future. One has to wonder if racism was a factor in such an abrupt and consequential decision. It’s as if the company did not appreciate her shedding light on a racially insensitive comment by one of its viewers. That sort of thing is kind of a downer, so they felt the best thing to do is to get rid of the source of their icky-racial feelings, Rhonda Lee. This seems to be the reaction of many conservative thinkers these days. Rather than facing a controversial issue which might improve relations, people find it easier to sweep the problem under the rug, or in this case, sweep Rhonda Lee out of her job.