Welcome to Trump’s America, where a racist Colorado doctor and medical school professor gets to call Michelle Obama a “monkey face” and people online make them a hero.
On Wednesday The Denver Post reported:
‘A Denver Health anesthesiologist who posted racist comments about first lady Michelle Obama to Facebook will not be seeing patients or providing anesthesia services at the hospital “until further notice,” according to a hospital statement.’
Denver, resident JoAnn Nietto was browsing Facebook when she stumbled on Dr. Michelle Herren’s appalling comments in response to a mutual friend’s post that praised Michelle Obama and called her “eloquent.” In her first comment, Herren sneered:
‘Doesn’t seem to be speaking too eloquently here, thank god we can’t hear her! “Harvard??? That’s a place for “entitled” folks said all the liberals!;
The post included a photo of Michelle Obama giving a speech that is altered to look like she’s yelling at her husband, the president. Herren wisely took her Facebook page down, but Denver’s local ABC station, KMGH, has gotten hold of the screen shots.
Dr. Michelle Herren then doubled down with a second comment.
‘Monkey face and poor ebonic English!!! There! I feel better and am still not racist!!! Just calling it like it is!’
JoAnn Nietto looked at Dr. Michelle Herren’s profile and was appalled to see that she’s a pediatric anesthesiologist at Denver Health, and a professor at the Colorado University School of Medicine. She reported the posts to Denver Health and CU’s Board of Regents, and told The Denver Post:
‘It really outraged me to see that she works at Denver Health, which serves a huge minority population’
When asked by KMGH about Herren’s claims that she’s “still not racist,” Nietto snapped:
‘Hiding behind the excuse that you’re not racist, doesn’t negate the fact that you are being racist.’
She then added that Dr. Michelle Herren should be held to a higher standard.
‘I think you have to hold yourself to a higher standard as being a public employee, as well as being a professor in such a critical field.’
The vile comments were removed, but an incensed JoAnn Nietto wonders how long they would have stayed up if she hadn’t said anything.
‘It stayed on there for four days until I had said something to the CU Board of Regents, and I sent an email to them. If I never would have mentioned anything to them, how much longer would that comment have been out there in the public world?’
In an official statement, Denver Health declared itself “appalled” by the racist remarks against Michelle Obama…But not appalled enough to fire her.
‘While the leadership of Denver Health is appalled by these remarks, as a public entity we are constrained by both state and federal law, including the First Amendment right of free speech, to terminate any employee for their off-duty comments, regardless of how offensive their comments may be.’
Seriously? These people think our First Amendment right to “free speech” includes the right to speech that incites hate and violence against people of color? So the people who run Denver Medical Center have suspended Dr. Michelle Herren, but they haven’t fired her. Perhaps the folks at Denver Medical Center don’t want the incoming Trump administration to take away any federal funds they may receive.
As for Herren’s side of the story, she told KMGH’s Molly Hendrickson that her racist Facebook comments were taken “out of context” and has no idea why people find the term “monkey face” offensive. She adds that she was replying to a comment about Melania Trump.
‘Herren said she was responding to another post pointing out people say whatever they want about Melania Trump, but if they do the same about Michelle Obama they’re considered racist.’
Herren doesn’t get it: White people don’t get to complain about being discriminated against. Alas, for many of us, living with white privilege is a lot like living in a home with a stinky dog: When you’re nose-blind, you can’t tell it smells. We don’t know who this woman voted for. But since Donald Trump’s victory, the bigots are creeping out of the woodwork and letting their hate flags fly.
Watch: Colorado Doctor suspended for her racist Facebook comments against Michelle Obama.
Featured image: KMGH Denver 7.