WaPo editor emits bigoted and hateful Tweets, but will she be disciplined as others have been?

Here we have Karen Attiah, a major editor with the Washington Post, spewing out stuff on Twitter that’s even more vile and bigoted than the stuff Trump emits regularly. It’s racist, full of hate, and exactly the kind of stuff that got New York Times tech writer Quinn Norton fired. (Sarah Jeong, her replacement, wrote the same kind of bigoted nonsense, but was defended by the NYT because she was Asian-American and supposedly just returning Twitter hatred “in kind”. But the different fates of Norton versus Jeong show a fundamental hypocrisy at the paper. [Jeong appears to have been quietly jettisoned since then.])

Here’s Attiah’s bio at the Post (click on screenshot), and because the lettering is tiny, I’ve reproduced it below the screenshot.

Global Opinions editor, writing on international affairs and social issuesEducation: Northwestern University, BA in communication studies, minor in African Studies; Columbia University, master’s in international affairsKaren Attiah is the Global Opinions editor at The Washington Post, where she

commissions and edits commentary on global issues from a variety of international writers. She joined The Post in 2014 as a digital producer in the Opinions section. Attiah often writes on issues relating to race, gender and international politics, with a special interest in Africa. Previously, she reported as a freelancer for the Associated Press while based in the Caribbean. Attiah was a Fulbright scholar to Ghana and holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University. She received her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Northwestern University.Honors & Awards:

  • Fulbright fellow, 2008

Foreign languages spoken: Spanish

So what did Attiah say? Here’s some of it, and at least one of these—the first one—was taken down. (Screenshot from twitchy):


That tweet, from yesterday, has been deleted, but screenshots were saved. (Note the superfluous apostrophe in “Karen’s”.)  It’s palpably unfair to blame contemporary “Karens” for all of this, much less to raise the threat of “revenge.” Note that Attiah’s first name is “Karen”!

And apparently Attiah didn’t regret that odious tweet:

I’m not sure what “squidward running away” means, unless its fleeing rapidly out of fear, but without regrets.

Want more? Here Attiah uses her term for Democratic women: the “Axis of Shevil”:


Dowd, of course, writes for the New York Times. Both she and Pelosi are apparently guilty of racism.

But wait! There’s more:

If that’s a joke, it’s not funny. And I doubt it’s a joke.

The there’s this, which tars all white people with taking pleasure in lynchings. Of course those horrible spectacles were treated as entertainment by many in the South, but I seriously doubt that many of us “enjoy dominating and destroying black bodies.”

As a free-speech hard-liner, I’m not calling for Attiah to be fired, and of course she won’t be, though she would were she white and said this kind of stuff about blacks, Hispanics, or Jews. But we should expect a consistent standard in the media, so that hate and bigotry against one group is treated just like hate and bigotry against any other group.  Nobody gets a Bigot Pass because of their race.  Still, we know that that isn’t the case, because it’s always open season on some groups. You don’t even need a duck stamp.

I’m starting to regret having recently subscribed to the Post.

h/t: Ben Schwarz

36 thoughts on “WaPo editor emits bigoted and hateful Tweets, but will she be disciplined as others have been?

  1. Not a chance anything will happen to this person – she’s a she, her skin is dark AND the tweets are about evil white people. She’s in the clear.

    Through the looking glass we go…..

  2. I’m not sure what “squidward running away” means either, but Squidward Q. Tentacles is a character in the animated television series SpongeBob SquarePants. He’s portrayed as being quite ill-tempered and pretentious, so there could be a link there.

  3. In normal times this tweet would give reason to criticism, but not in 2020 America where this stuff is just the usual “not racist at all” blanket rhetoric against entire groups of specific gender and skin colour, prejudice plus power and so on.

    The “emotional labor” where you have to “educate yourself” has been noted as the preferred way of activism in woke culture. And that means, shut up and listen, and just accept whatever is the apparent consensus that day on social media. I find it remarkable, and suspicious on its own that there are so few “semi-woke” people in various stages of conversion. As in atheism back then, people go all-in woke, because they know that there’s really no space for deliberation. Some notable people like Matt Dillahunty or Seth Andrews just de-converted later on again.

    As a European outsider looking in, it’s remarkable how many in the writing business are themselves woke, but apparently nobody is willing or able to write a good article about it (even prolific atheists who blog every day and who professed that their “atheism is intersectional or it is bullshit”, you know who, have yet to explain what this even means.)

    By contrast, it took about 3 days to come up with articles on the “Alt Right” the moment they were barely relevant. We’re now a good decade in, and Americans are still mostly in denial that this is even a notable ideological fashion to begin with. I still know a lot of people, well-intentioned leftists/liberals, who still regard anything accurate (but unflattering) as a fringe outlier or outright fabrication. Perhaps it‘s good to put a bookmark on this tweet, after all.

  4. In terms of the tweet cancelling, Nikole Hannah-Jones of “1619 Project” NYTimes Pulitzer fame does the same thing:

    Tweet something racist or very controversial and then erase it.

    BTW, there is next to no chance that the Post will take any action against Ms. Attiah. Other than promoting her.

  5. Yes, white American women in the 1800s and early 1900s were often or likely just as racist as the men. This is not exactly revelatory (IMO).

    It seems to me the far left is driving to an end point where the ‘call for revenge’ is on history itself, for not having the morals of the 21st century western world. No excuses, Cleopatra!

  6. Never mind that white women were the drivers of the ABOLITIONIST MOVEMENT that preceded the CIVIL WAR which freed the black slaves. & WHITE WOMEN were often the ones who hid black slaves in their homes when those slaves were on the underground railway on their way to freedom in Canada. Never mind ANY OF THAT. We all should have “collective guilt” & we’re all KARENS & BECKYS now. Because SOME white women owned slaves & were cruel to them. But forget about the OTHER white women who weren’t like that at all. & what was her name … HARRIET BEECHER STOWE??? That WHITE WOMAN??? Who brought the suffering of the slaves into the front & center consciousness of the ENTIRE NATION? But no …. all white women are CULPABLE for the sufferings of all the black people of America.

    The hell with this. The hell with this simplistic thinking. This is the kind of thing that is bringing on another Civil War in this country. & yeah, I would definitely fire this editor’s ass, I don’t care what color her skin is. This is some irresponsible tweeting. Gimme a break already.

    1. Sadly, as far as the Woke are concerned anything Karen (oops, Harriet) Beecher Stowe achieved is negated by the fact that she was a white saviour, I suspect. These people can’t tear down statues of people like Ulysses S. Grant fast enough, as Greg Meyer pointed out here on WEIT earlier today.

  7. I looked at the twitter thread in attempt to follow Karen Attiah’s argument.

    She was trying to propose an explanation for why George Floyd’s death “riled up” white and black people where so many black deaths had not.

    She started off by pointing out that when people get shot – black or white (included Sandy Hook) – we go on with our lives.

    And that if Floyd had been shot, she didn’t know if the outrage would have occurred.

    Then she pointed to the fact Floyd wasn’t shot but we saw video of him slowly being crushed to death.

    Then she says:

    “There are many white men & women in this country who derive a sadistic pleasure from the destruction of black bodies.”

    Wait…who??? Any evidence for this???? (Is she talking raving white nationalists? Or, presumably, casting some wider net??? No details).

    Then she casts back to the fact black lynchings were once public entertainment and some people even shared postcards of lynchings. That Americans have long treated black people dying as a titillating spectacle.

    Well…yes…people in the past did horrible things and treated groups of people unfairly.
    Even up until the late 1800’s in the USA Women didn’t go to school or get to vote.

    But they do now. And no one thinks it should be otherwise. The change is monumental in that respect.

    “So white people, you guys need to figure this out how to erase the emotional rewards of sadistic pleasure white people have long enjoyed in dominating and destroying black bodies.”

    Need to figure it out? Figure WHAT out? Is Karen Attiah actually ignoring the distance between when people used to make entertainment out of hanging black people and people’s attitude NOW????

    I have never known a single white person to express pleasure, or even imply they derive it, from seeing “black bodies being destroyed.” Who take cruel pleasure in such a thing. Not a single person I know thinks seeing George Floyd crushed to death was good or pleasurable. In every corner I’ve looked in the internet, and that includes some known to harbor racism, the reaction has been unanimous disgust at what happened to Floyd (even if some people reject the BLM narrative).

    It is unanimous disgust on the news and all over the internet. Far from the days when people shared photos of black lynching, if ANYONE suggested they got pleasure out of seeing George Floyd killed before their eyes, they would be utterly excoriated. Even making a comment these days from which any racism, even inadvertent, can be excavated, entails people are publicly cancelled.

    And Karen Attiah is trying to imply by appeal to the old days that little has changed and we need to stop white people from their pleasure in cruelty to black bodies?

    WTF? And then, all this is delivered in the even more pernicious wrappings of Collective Guilt By Race.

    Could anyone possibly be moving more in the wrong direction to make things better?

    1. Attiah’s lazy thinking making its way into the “mainstream media” (except as a weird entry on the Letters page) would have been unthinkable not long ago.

    2. Sure if you look long enough you will find some, like the officer with his knee on George Floyd’s neck for almost 10 minutes. Looks like he was enjoying himself to me.

  8. Although … what would you prefer someone call the people who went to lynchings? Not necessarily “southerners,” that’s for sure. The last well-documented lynching in the state of Indiana – 1930, btw – was in Marion, north of Indianapolis. The crowd included women and children and was estimated in the thousands. I think we can assume that they all thought of themselves as “white people.” Also as law-abiding citizens, despite the empirical evidence. Most likely also as good Christians. What is gained, vs. what is lost, in pointing out #notallChristians, #notalllaw-abidingcitizens, #notallwhitepeople?

    1. While most lynching victims were Blacks and other minorities, crowds also gathered to gawk at whites being lynched. In 1933, two white men, accused of kidnapping and killing a department store heir, were dragged from a jail in San Jose, California and lynched in front of a cheering mob of thousands of men and women. Newspapers had called on citizens to do the deed, people had driven from miles around to participate or watch, and California’s governor promised to pardon anyone who was arrested for participating. See https://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooke_Hart

      There has always been an audience for public floggings, public torture, public executions, regardless of race, although I don’t deny that racism or other bigotry (antisemitism, for example) was a factor in many lynchings.

  9. Jesus, this is a “major editor with the Washington Post”?
    Karen Attiah sounds paranoid, but suggesting a visit to a therapist would, of course, be racist.

  10. Dunno about the rest of it, but her use of a greengrocer’s apostrophe to form the plural “Karen’s [sic]” oughta be firing offense for a newspaper person.

  11. Perhaps she could practise (British English spelling!) using the examples “Karen’s brain is missing” (possession – not!) and “Don’t insult other Karens” (plural)?

    1. Doh – meant to be a reply at #15! (Anyone else funding they click on “Reply” and find themselves somewhere unexpected like a later WEIT post or PCC(E)’s Twitter account since the WordPress update?)

  12. This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black and she’s tarring all white people with the same brush.

  13. Lol. This poor gazillionaire is traumatized and exhausted by having to deal with common rubes and their dumb, wrong opinions all the time. Ignorant sexists who don’t even know the latest pronouns, and then when you spend your time educating them, they don’t even thank you by Venmoing you a check immediately! Sigh. Dealing with the little people is positively the worst.

    I mean, in a way I’m still happy that a woman of color has risen through the echelons of society and reached this level of snobbishness. It’s progress of a sort, I guess. But geez, dramatic much?

    1. Attiah’s parents immigrated to the US in recent decades (her surname is from Ghana). Her ancestors probably do not include African-American slaves, but quite possibly a few slave traders.

      She only knows about slavery and the Klan because of history books.

  14. Black guy here and I don’t see what White women and black usually worked together throughout history because, most White were also seen as lower than the White man. They had no voting rights for a long time and we’re not treated fairly. They were treated better than Black people because, they were at least seem as human.

  15. I love the way you explain each and everything in so much of detail. Usually I rarely go through the whole blogs, but when it comes to you, I love reading each and every word. Keep posting more.

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