An Atlanta news anchor isn’t going to allow herself or her craft be demeaned by a racist viewer.
A viewer of CBS 46 sent an email to Atlanta news anchor Sharon Reed, commenting on a race discussion surrounding the Atlanta mayoral race.
According to The Hill, this is the current controversy surrounding that race:
Atlanta currently faces a likely recount in the city’s mayoral race, which saw a runoff Tuesday. Less than 800 votes separate front-runner Keisha Lance Bottoms from challenger Mary Norwood.
If elected, Norwood would become Atlanta’s first white female mayor. Atlanta has had black mayors since the 1970s. Norwood is running as an independent, white Bottoms is supported by the state’s Democratic Party.
Reed said she and her white co-anchors thought it would be important to have a conversation about race on air, since she said it had obviously entered the mayoral race.
“We think race is an authentic conversation to have,” Reed said in her response to the racist email on-air Tuesday night. “We do try to keep it real here, and I think we do a really good job of it.”
The frank conversation apparently upset viewer Kathy Rae, whose name and email Reed read aloud on the air.
News anchor Sharon Reed responds on air to a viewer who calls her the N-word. This Atlanta Mayoral race has people fiesty tonight. pic.twitter.com/Vgri3oXnGN
— Billy Michael Honor (@BillyMHonor) December 6, 2017
The email read:
“You need to be fired for the race-baiting comment you made tonight. It’s o.k. for blacks to discuss certain subjects but not whites. really??? you are what I call a n—r not a black person. You are a racist n—r. you are what’s wrong with the world.”
Reed pointed out that Kathy Rae had actually misspelled the slur with only one “g.” Reed also said she wished she had been allowed to show the email unfiltered because people deserved to see it.
Reed went on to say that Kathy Rae had mischaracterized what she had said on air, and that she thought everyone should discuss race.
Reed then did the very best possible thing: rather than going into a rant against the viewer or using her energy to explain structural racism and inequality, she just let Kathy Rae’s viewpoints speak to her character.
“So I won’t mischaracterize your view either, Kathy Rae,” Reed said. “I get it. On Dec. 5, 2017, you think it’s OK to call this journalist a n—–. I don’t. But I could clap back and say a few things to you. But instead, I’ll let your words, Kathy Rae, speak for themselves. And that’ll be the last word.”
Reed said the slur out loud on the air, proving she isn’t afraid to speak it out loud. She isn’t afraid to say that in 2017, black journalists and black people everywhere are still being diminished.
Reed also didn’t shy away from naming the woman who had sent her the email. Too often, people feel comfortable spitting off horrific views on the Internet, because it is so easy to detach their names from those claims and walk away back into the regular world and guard their prejudices.
But Kathy Rae felt so passionate about hatred for a black journalist that she wrote an email using a slur, and that side of her deserves to be exposed.
H/T: The Hill