Aug 30, 2012

The black CNN camerawoman who was at the epicenter of the incident in which two attendees at the Republican National Convention threw peanuts at her while saying, "This is how we feed the animals," has finally spoken out about the incident.

Under the condition of anonymity, the camerawoman spoke to the Washington Post about the incident.

Here is what was reported:

She and CNN are not talking to media. However, she agreed to talk to her friend and I promised to honor her request that I not name her.

She was assigned to film from the floor of the convention in the recessed camera area. This is right among the thousands of delegates who converge on the forum floor to listen to their Republican leaders, nominate Mitt Romney as their candidate for president and, apparently, throw things at people darker than they are.

“I was just about to put on my headset when someone started throwing peanuts at me,”  she told me. “I didn’t understand what was going on.” She recovered enough to ask one man, “Are you out of your damned mind?” A pair of older white men walked to the railing preventing people from falling down into the camera pit. One hurled more peanuts at her and taunted, “Here! Want some more peanuts?”

Then they actually started hitting her with them. “This is what we feed to the animals at the zoo!” he continued. While his partner laughed, the thrower leaned over the railing as if he WAS at the zoo and snorted, “Here’s some more peanuts.”

My friend continued, “It was like they were heckling me.” It became clear to her these people were enjoying her torment. Two African-American cameramen and a female Caucasian reporter came over to investigate the fracas, but none had clearly heard what the men said. CNN security arrived by coincidence and set off after them.

At this point, I expected my friend to tell me how the RNC apologized profusely, how they genuinely seemed to feel bad and how they themselves became outraged by the whole thing. She didn’t. Rather, she told me that RNC security investigated by asking of the assailants, “Were they black or were they white?”

“Are you kidding me, Jamila?” She asked. “I’m from the Deep South! I know racism when I see it and when it’s being thrown at me. No black person would have done that!”


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