When I heard that the majority of the owner-writers wanted to put the n-word into the game, I felt like my presence might have always been a simple permission structure for them. By occupying that space, I was implicitly endorsing them and allowing them to do what they wanted while pointing to me and saying, “but, look, we have a black guy.”
You have to wonder how often this happens. I’m thinking right now of the 30 Rock episodes with Blackface that are currently getting pulled, and so many people are saying “but they had a black writer!” — as if that excuses it. It’s such a complex place to be put, to have to wonder if you are not there by your own merit, but as a token. And then to fear losing your job on top of it, it’s horrible. I can remember being the only female in a workplace and having to endure endless sexist remarks and laugh otherwise be branded as a bitch and likely fired. The fact that they may have also used my presence to excuse their behavior as ok never even occurred to me, and makes me furious.