KCCI News screenshot

On the list of "Things I'd Never, Ever, Ever, Ever, Ever, Ever Thought I'd Do But Found Myself Actually Doing," writing a piece that's (somewhat) sympathetic of a White woman who…

1) attacked a Black woman who was just doing her job

…and…

2) hurled racial slurs at said Black woman

…is near the top, right above "willingly eating a beet" (I put one in a smoothie last week), and "willingly dapping a Kappa."

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But after watching the viral news clip of an Iowa woman calling KCCI reporter Emmy Victor a nigger, and reading some of the reactions to it, I'm doing exactly that.

And I'm doing it despite the fact that there is exactly zero doubt in my mind that this was not the first time this woman said nigger. Shit, that probably wasn't even her first time saying nigger that day. By the easy and vicious way that word escaped her lips, I can totally picture her humming "Alabama Nigger" while brushing her biased teeth or crocheting a bigoted shawl.

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Still, I imagine that if I just witnessed my kid get killed by the police (which she did), I'd be deeply and firmly ensconced in "fuck everybody and everything" mode. And its even less difficult to imagine the sight of a news camera crew reporting on my kid's death a few yards away from where he was killed and a few hours away from when he was killed triggering something nasty within me. This, of course, doesn't excuse her attack. Nor does it excuse or explain why her default wounded reaction was a racist one. But I just can't conjure much outrage about this.

If anything, my biggest takeaway wasn't the woman's rant but a reminder of how dangerous it can be to be a live news reporter. (Something I admittedly take for granted.) Their jobs occasionally demand them to be where violent crimes just took place. Sometimes at night. Sometimes when the suspects still haven't been caught. Sometimes when the community will be hostile. And it's not like they travel with some type of security firm or secret service detail. Sometimes, when they're on assignment, the police either haven't arrived yet or arrived but already left and it's just the reporter and the cameraman by themselves. Emmy Victor (and photojourno Zachary Hayes) were literally just doing their jobs; jobs that placed them in the bullseye of a recently devastated and (probably) racist woman.

All that said, I'd be remiss if I didn't note that Emmy Victor totally had a Draymond Green moment. At the 0:26 mark in the video, the remarkably professional Victor breaks for a moment with "Don't ever" — which was totally a shortened version of "Don't ever forget that I will totally whoop your ass if you come at me like that again" — before remembering she was on camera and can't risk losing her job and defaulting on her student loan payments.

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You could almost see the thoughts going through her head:

"I really, really, really want to mush this chick in her stupid fucking face, but I have a trip to Aruba planned for next month, and I can't get fired and have all this juicing and yoga I'm doing to stunt on the gram go for naught. And I won't be able to use my KCCI badge to get free brunch anymore either."

In that moment, Emmy Victor was each of us. We're all Emmy Victor.