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We Are All Misfits Now: Dr. Jason Johnson's Terrible Moment of Deep Disrespect and Misogyny

So... TheRoot writers and management are just gonna ignore what happened with Jason Johnson last week.. See, if they just pretend like this didn’t happen... it didn’t ok.

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I get it, ya’ll wanna act like words don’t matter, and a major contributor to the site can literally just insult millions of black women color across the country, and pretend like you are a space for those women at the same time.

Oh, yeah... he apologized for it. Two days later. Probably before he got fired from commentary on NBC and MSNBC, and trying to mitigate the damage to his reputation on soc media. Even his apology was a hedge, and he has many ardent ‘yes’-anders happy to join him in his insulting language to thier fellow people of color with vicious attacks akin to uncle-tom, sambo, and slave-girl lingo targeting people of color who favor Sanders. His Twitter feed is a wash with vitriolic hatred for black women and men whose crime is supporting the ideas they have come to believe in. That’s what Johnsons’ comments have created, and no half baked twitter apology will wipe away that blight on all of us.

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I get not supporting Sanders... I get being into someone else. I do not get being denigrating to people of color who disagree with you politically. Such toxic behavior is supposed to be coming from ‘Bernie Bros’ remember?(Yet another reductionist long debunked label for people of all background who support Sanders and call out the hypocrisy of others who criticize him and his widely supported agenda) Had anyone else said something like this, they would have been pillared, tarred and feathered, and run out of the site with a broom... But theRoot? Nothing, not even a peep from another writer discussing where Jason went too far. The two options are this: A) They hope the people reading didn’t notice this story, so they don’t have to respond. B) They simply don’t care, because attacking people who support sanders as racists, and his minority support as crazy people, is par for the course.

As a person who reads and posts on TheRoot and has been doing so for almost 8 years, I’ve read countless stories about how we need to support and build up strong black women, and men, and to be a part of community that embraces each others differences. But when it comes to applying their own beliefs, the staff at the Root have come up wanting. Any behavior to Sanders ‘cult’ (a word they used to apply to Obama supporters and now use against Sanders folks with very little self awareness) is acceptable, because his supporters are not worthy of being listened to, and are only worthy of derision and scorn... misfits indeed.

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Mr. Johnsons’ comments reflect a deep seated black elitism and speaks to a deeply ingrained hatred for Sanders and his supporters that has clouded his judgment, and makes him a completely biased and unreliable commentator. In his mind, only his opinions and beliefs are worthy of being supported, and anyone with contrary opinions is a misfit. An malformed, ill-mannered, ill-bred charlatan who is beneath him and his towering intellect.

But will anyone on the Theroot notice or care? Unlikely. The site has become full of black elitist writers who have come to think of themselves as arbiters of black thought. To challenge their position is to be castigated, denigrated, and told you aren’t really black, but just pretending. This sort of ‘othering’ of Sanders supporters and his growing base among young people of color is a perfect distillation of Johnson’s attitude. They have no desire to treat people of color who disagree with them as worthy of respect.

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Support for Sanders among the writers is muted, ignored, and generally left unsaid. Notice... no stories about medicare for all... no stories about how the student debt crisis is affecting us disproportionately... no stories about where the various candidates currently stand with minority support. Ayana Pressely supports Warren is front page worthy..

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...but Boots Riley a man who the site had been fawning over for months AND months supports Sanders... and it’s ignored completely. Black erasure is a real thing when it comes to what the Theroot deems worthy of coverage and what it deems isn’t. Jason was allowed with no pushback to post month after month of anti-Sanders screeds that both mislead and misinformed about his positions his supporters and his policies. 

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(pictured below... the roots coverage...)

Illustration for article titled We Are All Misfits Now: Dr. Jason Johnsons Terrible Moment of Deep Disrespect and Misogyny
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Illustration for article titled We Are All Misfits Now: Dr. Jason Johnsons Terrible Moment of Deep Disrespect and Misogyny

But Anand said it best.

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That aristocracy is dying, and it will be replaced with newer, younger, and more relevant voices, and people like Jason will have to square that new world with their old views and do a little soul searching as to how he became so out of step with where we are headed.

Not me... us.

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