Mostly-white journalists at the supposedly liberal Guardian newspaper have reacted with outrage at the invitation of The Canary‘s Kerry-Anne Mendoza to deliver the National Union of Journalists’ Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture for Black History Month, an email disclosed by the Huffington Post‘s Mark di Stefano has revealed.
di Stefano included details of the email in a tweet claiming there had been ‘chaos’ at the Guardian over the invitation – and the NUJ’s email to journalists makes clear that ‘several’ at the Guardian had complained:
The full email made clear the level of consternation occasioned by the announcement:
Claudia Jones was a Trinidad-born radical journalist who was given asylum in the UK after being deported from the US. In the UK, she became a leading activist for equal rights for black people until her death in 1964.
And a bunch of primarily white journalists at a faux-left mainstream publication feel entitled to object to one of the few BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) editors in this country being invited to deliver a lecture in honour of a woman who overcame huge adversity for the rights of black citizens.
Ms Mendoza told the SKWAWKBOX:
I’m a proud member of the National Union of Journalists and honoured to be invited to give the Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture this year. It’s a sign of the entitlement of our establishment journalists that they would behave so poorly in response.
I think we’ve reached peak Guardian. A group of mostly white, middle class journalists trying to stop one of Britain’s only working class, BAME editors in chief from giving a speech for Black History Month.
The Canary is one of the leading publications among the ‘NLM’ (new left media) and, unlike precious Guardian ‘journalists’, Ms Mendoza and her colleagues – like the rest of the NLM – have built up their readership and profile from nothing entirely through their own efforts, with meagre resources and while overcoming considerable prejudice in various forms.
That legacy media journalists think themselves in a position to turn up their noses at listening to a speech by a leading NLM editor says far more about why their readershup and influence are falling than it does about the merits of the invited speaker.
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