“Those with the platform, privilege must stand up for what they believe”
ESPN host and contributor Jemele Hill, was under fire last week over expressing her honest yet raw opinion about President Donald Trump being a white supremacist. She voiced her opinion in a twitter feed that threatened her job, right to freedom of speech, and overall well-being as a black woman in today’s society. Hill openly expressed that Trump “is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime. His rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period.”
Hill has every right to express her opinion away from ESPN grounds and ESPN didn’t support her standing up for what’s right. From the ESPN twitter account, it states “The comments on Twitter Jemele Hill regarding the President do not represent the position of ESPN. We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate.” To clarify, ESPN basically told the world that they don’t represent using your freedom of speech as a tool to address racial inequalities.
Now, I understand that ESPN may not want to offend anyone, let alone lose some of their fan base for talking about the President’s character, but what good is it to turn a blind eye to the truth? With impeccable courage, Hill decided to open her eyes to the truth and for that, she was briefly removed from her position at ESPN and later apologized for her employer but did not apologize for calling Trump a racist. Do I believe Hill deserved to be removed from her anchor position? No, because she had every right to express her opinion regardless if she is one of the faces that represents ESPN, she represents herself first.
As a young black woman living in a now racially-charged and divided society, I agree with Jemele Hill and commend her for using her platform to speak about issues that not only affect her, but everyone who is negatively affected by Trump and this divide of a country. Anyone who reads this, please don’t take any offense to it, but in all honesty, the fact that Donald Trump was elected was fueled off hate and discrimination against minorities and women. And his slogan “Make American Great Again” simply means make America white again. Ronald Reagan had the same slogan in his presidential campaign during the 80s. And, from what I know, it was an uphill battle for people of color to survive during that time.
Look at the world now and tell me what is so great about America? What is so great about mother nature showing how real climate change is with these back-to-back hurricanes? What is so great about constantly being reminded that black lives don’t matter to racially motivated police officers that believes black skin is a threat? What is so great about DACA recipients being threatened to be removed from the country? What is so great about the Charlottesville riots where white supremacists were given the opportunity to express hate and violence to women, people of color and anti-supremacist groups? Where is the unity? What is really great?
Every day I am reminded that I am black. By Jemele Hill using her platform to speak about the truth and being criticized for it was an unfortunate reminder for her, too. Don’t be the person that turns a blind eye to what’s going on in the world because, if you do, you are a part of the problem, too. Be like Jemele Hill and use your platform or privilege to express truth because, as the old saying goes, “The truth will set you free.”