In 1903, over a hundred years before Twitter was founded, the prolific W.E.B. DuBois talked about the concept of double consciousness. The term essentially means a state in which Black people are their authentic selves around other Black people and are self-aware within the space of White America.
Unlike White people, who have the privilege of being their true selves in any setting, Black people often have to coalesce —out of safety, comfort or economic stability— to survive.
Which leads us to Jemele Hill.
On Monday ESPN’s SC6 host hopped on her personal Twitter account to make statements about the 45th president of the United States. “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists,” she said.
Her statements came after reacting to an article about Kid Rock being labeled a racist by the left-wing despite claiming to “love Black people.” The rap-rocker has famously displayed a Confederate flag at his shows throughout his career.
“He loves black people so much that he pandered to racists by using a flag that unquestionably stands for dehumanizing black people,” Hill said.
Later tweeting, “Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime. His rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period.” Followed by, “He [Trump] has surrounded himself with white supremacists — no they are not ‘alt right’— and you want me to believe he isn’t a white supremacist?”
Hill’s reaction comes after nine months with a president that created a Muslim ban, reversed DACA, defended White supremacists and Nazis, took financing away from HBCUs and questioned affirmative action.
But despite all of these facts, on Tuesday, ESPN put out a statement distancing themselves away from their talent, noting that her statements don’t reflect their “position.”
“We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate.”
And with their statements came a flood of comments from ESPN supporters who called her a racist, black supremacist (ha!), the n-word and other derogatory terms. Luckily the good also came through with people like Colin Kaepernick and Reggie Miller supporting Hill’s stance.
The thing about double-consciousness in a Twitter world is that the veil is slowly being removed. Yes, Black folks are still required to turn on and off for a plethora of reasons, but we also have an accessible platform to voice our upset —and rightfully call people out.
Hill has the right to speak through her personal Twitter account on Trump because 1) It’s her safe space and 2) She’s on a sports show about sports —not politics or race relations. She removed the veil to speak on something she was passionate about. And if ESPN isn’t going to commend her, we will.