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Racists and sexists get replaced

“Instead of letting you burn us out and following the many that left this industry, this wave has decided to drown you out.”

Whether you’re carrying tiki torches or saying “we just can’t find qualified women or people of color,” we see you. And we will replace you.

If you have said something racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic in a professional setting — whether being at work, an industry event or listserv — but don’t see it as a big deal…we see you. And we will replace you.

If you keep confusing the two black interns’ names or the two Asian reporters’ names, especially when you congratulate (the wrong) one for their work…we see you. And we will replace you.

If you think the only way to diversify your staff is through fellowships that underpay the employee — while they do equal work, under a contract of one, two, or three years — with the false promise of maybe hiring them full-time at the end, we see you…and we will replace you.

If you have said, “Well, we have one woman on this panel” (chances are she’s the moderator) and think that’s enough…if you said, “Hey, we did good, we have 30 percent women speakers. That should be enough”…we see you. And we will replace you.

“They get too much coverage.” “We have too many already.” “How many is enough?” “We’ll look into it.” “Why do they get special treatment?” “They should be happy just being here.” “Why can’t they take a joke?”

We see you. And we will replace you.

There is an unstoppable wave of talented, diverse people that believe in the value of inclusion that is about to crash down on our industry — every industry.

We have played by your rules. Gone to your schools. Done your internships and fellowships. Applied for jobs. Asked for promotions. Waited in line, waited for our turn…only to be passed over and ignored.

Instead of letting you burn us out and following the many that left this industry, this wave has decided to drown you out.

We know that to succeed we have to play by our own rules. Rules that don’t change for “a better fit” and are based on the same core values that define us all as journalists.

We have become allies. We have become partners. Mentors. Influencers. Entrepreneurs, starting our own organizations. Leaders — in classrooms, newsrooms, and boardrooms.

If you haven’t heard of this wave, be warned. Either join us for parity and inclusivity or get out the way.

Now, if you’re offended by this, take a moment to reflect.

I didn’t call you out. You just did.

And we will replace you.

Robert Hernandez is a web journalism professor at USC Annenberg.

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