Tuesday night, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke out about the “indignities” faced by women in the workplace — especially women of colour.
She was referring to two incidents that occurred on Tuesday: an exchange between US Press Secretary Sean Spicer and American Urban Radio Networks White House correspondent April Ryan, and Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly’s televised comments on Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters’ hair.
“Too many women, especially women of colour, have had a lifetime of practice taking precisely these kinds of indignities in stride,” Clinton said during her speech to Professional Business Women of California, as Fortune reported. “But why should we have to? And any woman who thinks this couldn’t be directed at her is living in a dream world.”
The first incident occurred when Ryan asked Spicer a question about Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, as Allan Smith reported for Business Insider.
During the heated back-and-forth, Spicer repeatedly told Ryan to “stop shaking your head” and told her she was “hell-bent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays.”
Ryan posted this response on Twitter:
Spicer later called Ryan a “tough reporter” in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, as Business Insider’s Pamela Engel reported: “I think it’s frankly demeaning for some folks to say that she can’t take it. We went back and forth, I disagreed with … the angle and the way she was coming at the question, but that’s what we do, we go back and forth.”
At Wednesday’s press briefing, Spicer called on Ryan first. She asked a question about House Intelligence Committe chair Rep. Devin Nunes’ decision to not recuse himself from the investigation into Russia’s alleged interference with the US presidential election.
The other incident occurred during Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s appearance on Fox and Friends.
After watching a clip of Waters speaking on Trump, patriotism, and racism in the US, O’Reilly said, “I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig.” O’Reilly later apologised for the dig.
Waters fired back at the Fox host, as David Choi reported for Business Insider, telling MSNBC’s Chris Hayes: “Let me just say this: I’m a strong black woman and I cannot be intimidated. I cannot be thought to be afraid of Bill O’Reilly or anybody. I’d like to say to women out there everywhere, don’t allow these right-wing talking heads, these dishonorable people, to intimidate you or scare you.”
The two incidents sparked a viral hashtag: #BlackWomenAtWork.
Teach for America VP Brittany Packnett kicked off the hashtag.
Women of colour responded on Twitter, sharing stories about experiencing disrespect and discrimination in the workplace.
— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) March 28, 2017
This happens to black women everyday at work.
Stop thanking Black Women after the fact for all we do, bring and are.
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