Recently, the New York Times hired tech journalist Sarah Jeong to their editorial board. For those who do not know of Jeong, she is a very good journalist who has performed well on her jobs in the past. However, there is one caveat — her controversial tweets.
From 2013 to 2015, Sarah Jeong tweeted multiple discriminatory tweets against white people. She says that these tweets were in jest, but this is simply not the case. Below are just a few of her tweets. If you do not think they are racist, replace the word “white” with “black”. If the tweets are now racist, they were before, and you simply didn’t notice.
The tweets included: “oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men,” “white men are bulls—,” “#CancelWhitePeople” and “W people have stopped breeding. You’ll all go extinct soon. That was my plan all along.”
These are merely a few of the tweets in question. Remember, if you replace “white” with “black” and the tweet magically becomes racist, you must acknowledge the fact that racism can apply to white people as well. The Oxford definition of racism is “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.” Anyone is a victim of racism when they are discriminated against based on the color of their skin. White people can, in fact, be the victims of racism.
However, lets throw aside the context of the tweets for a second and ask a more important question: should the New York Times take Jeong’s tweets into consideration now that she is hired? It is my belief that employers can do their due diligence before hiring the person. If I run a company, and I find one of the applicants for a job to be racist, then I can choose not to hire them. But, once I hire that person, it is unfair of me to fire them for something that happened in the past. In a free market, employers should only hire and fire based on the employees direct impact of business. How the employee conducts themselves outside of work is of no concern unless it directly impacts the company. This is the important dilemma on the hiring of Jeong.
The New York Times knew about the tweets before hiring her. The Times said that they do not condone Jeong’s tweets and that there had been a conversation about her social media history as part of the hiring process. This is crucial information. The New York Times knew that the person they hired to be a member of the board is a racist and bigot against whites. Regardless of what you think about Sarah Jeong, you know exactly where the New York Times lies. If someone tweeted “#cancelblackpeople,” they would not be able to find a job. But since the person in question is discriminatory against whites, it is magically okay.
The message The New York Times sent to the world upon knowing about the tweets and hiring Jeong anyway is that they discriminate against white people; or are at least OK with that sort of discrimination.
I actually agree with them keeping Jeong on since they hired her. The Times knew what they were getting into with hiring her, and the newspaper can suffer the consequences of such an action.