Racism & sexism: They go together, don’t they?

racism_it_stopsBy Jae-Ha Kim
October 16, 2014

Not sure why, but I’ve gotten a couple dozen messages recently from various people asking about a feud I supposedly had with some male reporters. I had no idea what they were talking about. I got along well with my colleagues and was generally well liked throughout my career in various newsrooms.

Then one of the people who had contacted me reminded me about the guys at a publication who used to write about me almost weekly. And no, it was never in a flattering manner.

This went on not for days or months, but for years. When one of them was fired (or quit, depending on who you believe), his psychopant lackey took over.

Can you imagine grown men in their 30s and 40s wasting their time on this shit?

I pretty much just ignored them, assuming that they’d do what they were paid to do: write about music, rather than me. But, they took my silence as weakness and stupidity. They were condescending and, even worse, two faced. They would kiss up to me in public and then skewer me in print.

We were so short staffed and overworked at our newspaper that none of us had time to engage in this kind of middle school behavior. It was inconceivable to me that not only did these two dilettantes enjoy tattling on me, but they had so little to do at their job that they spent an inordinate amount of time pulling bits and pieces of my work to present me in the worst possible light. And, even more curious, their editors let them get away with doing this on company time.

If you were to give them the benefit of the doubt, you could say they were doing a service pointing out the mistakes of their fellow writers, right? Well, yeah, an argument could be made for that except for the fact that they saved all their vitriol for me. They didn’t write about the white, male music critics who wrote artists’ names incorrectly and misspelled song titles.

They didn’t utter a peep when one of their friends (another white guy) reported that a musician — who was no longer ALIVE— took the stage at an outdoor music festival. (Now THAT would be a story!)

And they wrote nothing when their white male friends were let go for plagarizing stories. Or shooting up heroin at concerts when they were supposed to be reviewing the shows. And even more curious, they printed not a word about their cronies who were ARRESTED for beating their partners.

I responded in public once, and then was accused by these morons of using the racism card and its cousin, the sexism card.

Yes, how dare I be a woman of color voicing an opinion.

These guys were the worst kind of dude bros: educated men who should’ve known better, but who cloaked their misogyny, racism, jealousy and entitlement with cheap digs and accusations that they thought made them appear hip and clever.


© JAE-HA KIM | All Rights Reserved

Comments (34)

  1. John Lee says:

    I remember this. I can’t believe their bosses let it go on as long as it did or that your paper didn’t do anything to stand up for you. Big fails all around. Actually I’m not surprised. The journalism world of even 20 years ago wasn’t as progressive as people would have you believe–as you probably know. I know you’ll say you’re not, but in many ways you helped break barriers for a lot of us minorities who would see your byline and your photo in the paper and think, “Wow, she looks like me. I can do this.”

    Congrats to you on your success and the good life you seem to be living. I’m a long-time reader and fan, but first time poster. Cheers!

    • Jae-Ha Kim says:

      Thank you, John! Your comment means the world to me.

    • Marisol from the U.K. says:

      I remember this time well too and thought it was mad! What I especially enjoyed was when they said that you described a song incorrectly (SHOCKING! lol!) and that so and so hadn’t been an inspiration for a song or something. And then the artist actually came up and stood up for you and essentially said yes, that person was an inspiration for the song and you had it right and these fuckers were daft to contradict you.

  2. Lisa Tanzanetti says:

    Have you been in contact with these Grade A assholes?

    • Jae-Ha Kim says:

      Do we hang out? No! One of them did reach out to me a few years ago for help on something and mentioned that it wasn’t him, but the other guy who wrote all the stuff. Riiiiggggghhhht. I didn’t believe him, but I thought it was interesting that he would turn on his “friend” when he thought it would benefit him.

  3. Lara Trezekonov says:

    Dude bros. LOL! What a bunch of immature jerks. You took the high road, Jae. Good for you!

  4. Cassandra says:

    I don’t care if you couldn’t write a sentence or were the best critic in the world. It’s not another critic’s job to critique you in their column. You were classy enough not to name them or their rag, so I will follow suit since I hated working there, too. Our milquetoast, weak, ineffectual boss should’ve shown leadership and told them to knock it off orfired them. I wish you had sued their asses because I know that a lot of what they printed was untrue. Those of us who worked with them didn’t face humiliation in print like you did, but we worked in an environment that was full of egregious behavior. One of the worst places I ever set foot in.

  5. Terrence says:


  6. Steven Peters says:

    Dozens of messages? Were they all from the same person?

  7. Ginger says:

    Your success is the best revenge!

  8. Kim Jaehwa says:

    This is powerful, Jae. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Roy Lee says:

    Sounds like they’re jealous and have too much uncalled for pride.

  10. Denton says:

  11. Melissa Seal says:

    Wow ! I really can’t believe their superiors let it through for so long? Seems super unprofessional!
    You definitely took the high road on this~ ♥

  12. Al says:

    I remember this and wrote a letter to the reader that they didn’t have the balls to publish. I pointed out all their mistakes in one week and asked when they were going to own up to them. The weasels never responded. I actually liked some of their writing, but not their pretentiousness or precious take on rock n roll. Your writing was accessible and written in a way that respected your readers, rather than looking down on us. I laugh to think that those weasels thought you were weak or stupid. Your education, life experiences, ability to speak more than one language, and everything else puts those mouthbreathers to shame. Good on you. Keep on living your wonderful life.

  13. Pia says:

    Brava! I was in high school when those entitled, white men started this pathetic, onesided feud. I often wished that you would fight them and they would get their comeuppance. Even as a teenager, I could see through their jealousy. I don’t usually judge people by their looks, but I had the “pleasure” of meeting both those men at a show. From the way they behaved, pushing aside fans who’d waited for the chance to purchase tickets, and gloating over their backstage passes and referring to the female fans as nothing more than groupies, they were as ugly on the inside as they were on the outside. I’ve always loved your music articles, but I’m an even bigger fan of your social justice pieces. Thank you for fighting the good fight!

    • Jae-Ha Kim says:

      Wow, what you described is such inappropriate behavior. It’s a shame that they couldn’t just enjoy their position without trying to put down the band’s fans. And thank you so much for your compliment. Although I really enjoy writing about pop culture, I get more fulfillment writing about issues that sometimes don’t get enough coverage.

  14. Pat Carey says:

    I remember your excellent reviews and columns – I was a reader and enjoyed. So sorry for the bullying you had to put up with.

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