The heated Atlanta mayoral race sparked a racist attack on a local news anchor. Her response was epic.
Atlanta news anchor Sharon Reed sent a clear message on Tuesday: If you come for her, she will clap back.
Reed, an evening anchor on local station CBS 46, had been discussing the racial dynamics of Atlanta’s recent mayoral race between Keisha Lance Bottoms, who is black, and challenger Mary Norwood, who would be the first white mayor of Atlanta in nearly 40 years.
Bottoms won, but Norwood has already filed for a recount.
The campaign has sparked intense debates about race and racism, including on CBS 46, which prompted a local woman to lash out at Reed in an email.
“You need to be fired for the race baiting comment you made tonight,” wrote Katy Rae, a CBS 46 viewer. “It’s okay for blacks to discuss certain subjects but not whites…Really, you are what I call a N***r not a black person. you are a racist N***r. you are what’s wrong with the world.”
Reed wasn’t going to stand for it. Instead, she delivered an epic takedown on live television Tuesday night.
“Number one, you mischaracterized what I said,” Reed began. “I didn’t say that white people can’t talk about race. Quite contrary, we think that race is an authentic discussion to have. It’s one that we’re having tonight because it’s one many of you are talking about at home. It’s one that has clearly entered the Atlanta mayor’s race.”
Then, she addressed the slur:
When arguing with someone, you have to be careful not to mischaracterize their viewpoint, so I won’t mischaracterize your view either, Kathy Rae. I get it. On Dec. 5, 2017, you think it’s OK to call this journalist a n—–. I don’t. But I could clap back and say a few things to you. But instead, I’ll let your words, Kathy Rae, speak for themselves. And that’ll be the last word.
News anchor Sharon Reed responds on air to a viewer who calls her the N-word. This Atlanta Mayoral race has people fiesty tonight. pic.twitter.com/Vgri3oXnGN
— Billy Michael Honor (@BillyMHonor) December 6, 2017
While this incident was sparked by the racial dynamics of the Atlanta mayor’s race, the idea of someone signing their name to an email, sending it a local news anchor, and calling her the N-word — twice — reflects a larger problem exacerbated during the Donald Trump era, when so many conservatives have embraced white nationalism, and worse.
Taking their cues from the White House, which relentlessly engages in race-baiting rhetoric, Trump followers seem to revel in the chance to lash out and demean people based on race and ethnicity.
But the targets of their hate are pushing back, publicly. And it’s not just Reed in Atlanta this week.
On Tuesday, the NAACP urged Trump not to attend the opening of a new civil rights museum in Mississippi, which he’s currently scheduled to do on Saturday.
“President Trump’s statements and policies regarding the protection and enforcement of civil rights have been abysmal, and his attendance is an affront to the veterans of the civil rights movement,” Derrick Johnson, the NAACP’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “He has created a commission to reinforce voter suppression, refused to denounce white supremacists, and overall, has created a racially hostile climate in this nation.”
On Tuesday, Reed experienced some of that racially hostile climate — and fought back.