July 30, 2010

Judging A White Woman By The Color Of Her Skin, Not Her Skills Or Character

Could you imagine the outrage if there were outrage over a black fashion editor being hired by a fashion magazine?

With the country as divided as ever on race, some turmoil has boiled over into the fashion world: Essence, a magazine that targets African-American women, has hired a white woman, Elliana Placas, as its fashion director.

With the announcement came a deluge of reaction seemingly triggered by a Facebook post by Michaela Angela Davis, a former fashion director at Essence. “It’s with a heavy heart I’ve learned Essence Magazine

has engaged a white Fashion Director. I love Essence and I love fashion. I hate this news and this feeling. It hurts, literally. The fashion industry has historically been so hostile to black people – especially women. The 1 seat reserved for black women once held by Susan Taylor, Ionia Dunn-Lee, Harriette Cole (+ me) is now-I can’t. It’s a dark day for me. How do you feel?” Her prompt brought more than comments in response, the majority affirming Davis’s contention.

“Bravo @EssenceMagazine 4 takin steps to rid the Jim Crow-like mentality in women fashion
editorial” tweeted one supporter. Others sided with Davis,“Big deal at least to me. Not doubting Elliana Placas’ skills or anything, but it’s what Essence stood for that makes it O_o.”

Davis argued that it is inappropriate for a white woman to head a section of a magazine whose readers are black women. “When you say that you are the one magazine that is there to reflect and celebrate the African-American woman through the very specific filter of the African-American woman experience, you put race in, you put race in your brand,” she said Tuesday on Anderson Cooper 360.

Now Essence targets a niche market -- black women -- so I'd agree that they have put race in their brand. But having done so does not exempt the magazine from the laws that apply to every other business. Given American civil rights law, you are not allowed to put race in your brand by limiting your pool of candidates for employment based upon their race.

Now if Michaela Angela Davis wants to come out and argue that America's laws banning racial discrimination in employment should be repealed, then I'm all for her doing so. Indeed, I consider that to be a legitimate position to take -- that the government has no business dictating who a business hires, even if the employment decisions are made on the basis of irrational, morally reprehensible criteria, because one aspect of liberty is the freedom of those in the private sector to make their own decisions on how to operate their business. But i don't think that is what she is doing here -- do you?

No, just as Essence has put race in their brand, Michaela Angela Davis has put racist in her brand. I'm sure she will soon be coming out with a lovely line of designer sheets for the fashion-forward black bigot. Will Shirley Sherrod be her spokes-model?

|| Greg, 07:04 PM || Permalink || Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

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In a logical world it would make sense that a magazine for blacks might want a totally black staff. It would make sense that a school for men might want a totally male staff and student body. But somewhere along the way logic was thrown out in favor of "selective" bias and now it seems what goes around comes around. I could imagine this all might get worse before it gets better. Now, who's fault would that be???

|| Posted by GoneWithTheWind, July 31, 2010 10:15 PM ||
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