Often in the hallways of schools or reality TV, you will hear some dolt saying something that involves little intelligence, like, “Man, she doesn’t sound black.”
As if someone who sounds black must reverberate like Barry White. Conversely, someone who “sounds white” should have a douchey resonance, speak in text lingo, and use the word “bro” without a hint of irony.
You wonder why we bring this up? Enter into the fray People magazine, which used the topic to earn itself a nice lawsuit.
Meet Tatsha Robertson.
She holds a degree in English and a Master’s in Journalism. She is an adjunct professor at New York University, and until recently, was the sole black editor at People. In fact, she was the only black editor the magazine has ever had.
According to a story in the Huffington Post, Robertson says only five of the magazine’s 110 employees were black during her tenure and that now-former executive editor Betsy Gleick treated her like “a second class-citizen when she came to the magazine” from another Time Inc. publication, Essence, in 2010.
How so? This:
“You need to talk like everyone else here. You’re not at Essence anymore,” Gleick is quoted in the suit as saying.
Stay classy, Betsy. Party like it’s 1969. But wait, there’s more:
When the magazine does put black people on its cover, they’re held to a different standard, the suit says. Although People “put Trayvon Martin on its cover, Ms. Gleick was completely obsessed with attempting to unearth any potential negative fact about him before doing so,” the suit says. “Ms. Gleick repeatedly questioned whether he was a ‘good kid'”
Maybe they should change the name to White People magazine. Circulation may go up in the deep south. Who knows.