Who is Wendy Bell?
Wendy Bell was a lead anchor for WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh’s ABC affiliate. But since she is no longer employed by WTAE (and apparently no longer employable), her only current job title is Professional White Woman.
Why is she no longer employed and employable?
On March 9, six people were killed in a backyard ambush in Wilkinsburg, a suburb of Pittsburgh. This was a tragic and especially heinous crime that attracted national media attention. In her response to this, Bell did what Professional White People are wont to do:
- Make it completely about herself.
- Make certain to remind everyone exactly how far her privilege stretches.
In a Facebook post written shortly after the crime, Bell baked a white-privilege layer cake.
She made numerous racist assumptions about the assumed perpetrators and their assumed backgrounds; centered her post on how this all was making her, Wendy Bell: Professional White Woman, feel; and topped off the cake with a generous spray of “If more black people were like the smiling and shucking restaurant server my family met the other night, there’d be less need for Professional White Women like me to don our capes” icing.
Really, if Wendy Bell gets tired of this dog-whistling journalist thing, she should audition for Chopped. Because her white-privilege layer cake was the best white-privilege layer cake I ever tasted. It was delicious. (And surprisingly light! I think she used gluten-free flour.)
What happened next?
Bell’s post went viral, with many people (including yours truly) calling her out for her arrogance and obliviousness. After the criticism reached a critical mass—and after Bell’s tepid nonapology—she was reprimanded by her station. And then suspended. And then fired.
What has she been doing since then?
Whatever Professional White Women do in their free time, I guess. Although, if you’re a Professional White Woman, you don’t actually have any free time. There’s always an opportunity for you to professionalwhitewoman somewhere. A school board meeting, perhaps, where you can complain about the Somali students who recently moved into your district, making it more difficult for your daughters to make soccer teams.
Or maybe her services were required at someone’s job, where a Professional White Woman was needed to send passive-aggressive emails to human resources about a colleague’s “physically threatening email punctuation tone.” She might have even been summoned to be present at some luxury-brand store in a mall somewhere so that she could make suspicious and manager-gesturing faces at a young black couple who don’t look like they’re supposed to be able to shop there.
I know for certain, however, that she definitely did retain a lawyer.
Wait … what?
Yup, you read it correctly. She’s suing her former station for back pay, legal fees and her old job, alleging that if she wrote the same things about white criminals or happened to be black, she wouldn’t have gotten fired.
So ultimately she’s saying she should have been allowed to say racially problematic things?
So basically she’s suing for the right to be racist?
And she wants her old job?
Why would she want to go back to the station that fired her?
Because the national publicity that her actions and the reactions to her actions have given her has likely made her unemployable.
So not only is she suing for the right to be racist, but she’s also suing for the right to be so racist that no one else would dare hire her?
In a nutshell.
She really takes this Professional White Person thing seriously, huh?
Of course! But can you really blame her? If her entire persona, her entire being, is centered in her Professional White Personhood, or course she’d do everything in her power to retain its relevance. It is also not without precedent. American history is full of examples of Professional White People losing a bit of assumed white-people status and taking some sort of legal action to retain it. Even today, in 2016, the Supreme Court is hearing a case from a Professional White Woman upset that the University of Texas didn’t kowtow to her aggressively average-ass ass. She’s basically Oscar Mayer-turkey-bacon pissed that she’s not being treated like Trader Joe’s.
Does Wendy Bell have a case?
Yes and no. Yes, because I wouldn’t be surprised if WTAE settled this instead of taking it to court. So that would be a win for her. But no, because her entire rationale for the lawsuit is a fallacy. Her saying that what happened only happened because she’s white is like a Bengal tiger saying, “If I were a goat, you wouldn’t have been mad at me for chasing and eating that gazelle.” Because if the tiger had been a goat … it wouldn’t have chased and eaten the gazelle. Only a tiger could have chased and eaten it—because that’s what tigers do. And only a Professional White Person would have said the things Wendy Bell said—because that’s what Professional White People do.
So, what happens next?
Trump still needs a vice president. And who’s a better choice than an attractive and dense Professional White Woman who literally can’t do anything else? If it worked for Sarah Palin, why not Wendy Bell?
Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VerySmartBrothas.com. He is also a contributing editor at Ebony.com. He lives in Pittsburgh and he really likes pancakes. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.