Popular podcaster Bill Simmons faced about 48 hours of social media heat (that’s how long these things last) when a quote surfaced of Simmons showing not-quite-enough remorse for not giving sufficient opportunity to Black employees at his media company, The Ringer (acquired in June 2020 by Spotify in a 9-figure deal).
The whole thing grew from an out-of-context quote that was presented as a comment about race. Simmons himself says the quote was his answer to a question about show quality.
Once it’s out, though, the facts don’t really matter anymore.
People took that toehold and used it as an opportunity to tee off on Simmons. You’ve seen this movie before. We know how this stuff works.
That’s not the point I’m writing about anyhow.
I’m a fan of Bill Simmons since reading his stuff on ESPN’s “Page 2” 20 years ago. As big as Simmons has grown to be in media, he of course has his share of detractors who can’t say much when he is winning — but in moments like this, when the crowd has jumped on him, they come out of the woodwork.
One particular angle, perfect for the moment, was about how Simmons, a White man from Boston, has featured mostly White people as guests on his super-popular podcast — people like his dad, several of his college buddies, and fellow smart people who helped start his company… all of whom happen to be White.
There’s also how Simmons has even had his young son on his show, and given his daughter her own show on his network to talk about stuff that teen girls care about.
People were using these facts as “proof” that Simmons has failed in diversity and “giving Black people a voice” on his platform.
This angle annoys, but doesn’t surprise me.
We’re currently in a climate of racial semi-upheaval, with (some) White people being bullied into agreeing with whatever the vocal media wants to pin on them regarding the oppression of Black folks.
I say “semi-upheaval” because most of what we’ve seen so far is nothing more than social media talk, gestures and symbolism (like the Dixie Chicks changing their name to The Chicks — because, uh, racism..?).
When it comes to Bill Simmons and the Black people who feel/felt they weren’t given enough opportunity at The Ringer, I don’t get it.
The Ringer is a media company. Their products are videos, articles and podcasts.
If you work there and feel you’re better than the chances you’ve been given, leave. Start your own platform, own it, run it, and put yourself out there.
Creating video, audio or written content is free.
I don’t understand the perspective of a person who voluntarily works somewhere that they feel things are unfairly against them, yet continues to show up and cash the paycheck.
It’s similar to the athlete who feels they deserve more playing time, doesn’t get it, but won’t quit the team. If you really think it’s unfair and biased, and you believe that nothing will change, why do you keep showing up?
If you’re on the outside looking in and have an issue with a person, of any color, giving platforms to their friends and family at the company that THEY own, you don’t understand how the world works.
That’s not racism. It’s called ownership. You put your friends on. Your family gets perks that others don’t have access to.
Is that favoritism? Yes!!
Do people in a position of power do this? Yes!!
Is it something to complain about when you’re not the favorite? No!!
Here’s what to do: Listen and watch how things work at your unfair job. If you’ve been paying attention, you now have the knowledge of how to run an operation. Start your own and give your friends jobs. Put your family on your show.
This is the mindset of self-empowerment.
Complaining to maybe shame your oppressor into change, or for the sake of complaining itself, is the tool of the weak — even when it works. When it works, you’re further conditioning yourself to complain when things don’t go your way instead of taking on the hard work and responsibility of taking control.
I didn’t know complaining about not having a job was still a thing. It’s possible I’m out of touch.
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