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Is There A Clear Case of Unconscious Bias Against Author for Publishing Photo of Black Woman?

At the risk of being an outlier I am just going to say it by quoting Dr, Martin Luther King Jr., “There is nothing more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” I am convinced black people misunderstand racism and bias as much as white people. In a follow up article on June 8th 2019 the Washington Post reported Ms. Tynes, “an award-winning Jordanian author” had been fired by her publisher. What made matters especially horrendous is the social media backlash Ms. Tynes received for tweeting a photo of a “black” woman eating on the train.

Ms. Tynes did not reference race. Her concern is one I have had on numerous occasions. An employee, in uniform in violation of the very rules ordinary patrons are expected to follow. The woman in question was eating her breakfast. Ms. Tynes may have not known the complete rules per the union, however, she justly showed offence to what she viewed as unfair. It has been my experience that those who should be the most forgiving when others don’t quite understand the enormous racial and cultural subtleties that we all encroach upon frequently should be at our Sunday Morning best. Treating others as we would like to be treated.

Ms. Tynes did not bring to surface any racial discord. Her publisher said she should have known black women have to deal with their bodies. Well now, one more thing expected of ordinary people not besmirched by super powers.

After tweeting said photo she was fired. Moreover, Ms. Tynes was subjected to ridicule and racial vitriol. The authors left me the impression of their agreeing with the backlash towards Ms. Tynes. Why is it a a matter of crisis when a white person criticizes a black person; especially when it is devoid of race.

What would have been the situation if a black woman had taken a photo of a black man? Or conversely, a black person of a white woman?

Writes Deanna Paul and Lindsey Bever for the Washington Post:

"Rare Bird Books said in a statement Friday that it had learned the author “did something truly horrible today in tweeting a picture of a metro worker eating her breakfast on the train this morning and drawing attention to her employer. Black women face a constant barrage of this kind of inappropriate behavior directed toward them and a constant policing of their bodies.

“We think this is unacceptable and have no desire to be involved with anyone who thinks it’s acceptable to jeopardize a person’s safety and employment in this way.”

The company then urged Tynes’s publisher, California Coldblood Books, to cut ties with the author as well.

“We do not condone her actions and hope Natasha learns from this experience that black women feel the effects of systematic racism the most and that we have to be allies, not oppressors,” California Coldblood said in a statement Friday. By Saturday afternoon, the publisher announced it will postpone the book’s publication date “while we further discuss appropriate next steps to officially cancel” it. via Washington Post

We would like to hear your thoughts.

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Jim is president and performance coach at Woods Kovalova Group. He has coached for Fortune 1000 companies, U.S. Military, government, small to mid-size business, and education. Jim starts where other coaching programs fall short. He unravels the roots of self-doubt and fear of the unknown. With his wife and partner Lucy Kovalova-Woods, he solves slumps and otherwise inexplicable mental challenges. Clients find themselves more resilient, more confident and more centered professionally and personally. We invite you to schedule an appointment with Jim here.