Racial discrimination & resignation of Dr. Misee Harris – An Open Letter to media
Open season—Facebook post that led to Dr. Misee Harris’s resignation
(On Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, Dr. Misee Harris, best known to the media as the “Black Bachelorette” hopeful, was forced to resign from her dental practice where she was beloved by both staff and patients. The reason for her resignation was over a clash of ethics involving her outspoken social media support of the late Michael Brown and the unrest in Ferguson, MO.. Here is Misee’s recollection of the disturbing events in her own words, as recorded by her partner, Emmy-winning producer, Chris Silber…)
On Thursday, Sept. 4, Dr. Misee Harris (the Black Bachelorette) was called into an unannounced meeting at the dental practice where she has worked as a Pediatric Dentist and was recently offered a partnership in the practice. Dr. Harris, the sole African American dentist in the practice, has worked tirelessly with under-privileged young patients on Medicaid to ensure their smiles remain healthy, and the quality of Dr. Harris’s work has never been called into question.
Once in the meeting, Dr. Harris was ambushed and presented with screenshots from her private Facebook page. Being that Misee had blocked work colleagues from accessing her account, it was explained to Misee that a doctor who is a partner at the office, and who led the meeting, had been having a friend spy on Misee’s Facebook page.
Screenshots were taken of Misee’s Facebook posts and were sent to the doctor who led the meeting. Misee was then told that some of her Facebook posts about recent racial issues in America were “unprofessional.” The biggest bone of contention to the partners was a cartoon related to the recent police murders of several innocent African Americans across the nation. The partner held up the picture and asked Misee “Do you think we (meaning Misee’s white colleagues) are all like this?”
Dr. Misee Harris composed herself and asked the partner if she had any idea what was going on in Black America, namely regarding the murder of Michael Brown. The partner did not know the name Mike Brown, nor did she seem to understand Misee’s outrage at being attacked for her personal views. Dr. Harris’s racial discrimination concerns voiced on her personal and private Facebook page was meant solely for the eyes of her friends and family whom Misee thought she could trust. Misee was then told flat out that she would have to choose between her “style of social media communication” and her job as a pediatric dentist in their practice.
Misee felt unable to continue working under such conditions and decided to quit the dental practice on the spot, much to the dismay of her bosses. They assumed Misee would simply promise to stop voicing her opinions on social media about racial injustice. In a nutshell, Dr. Misee Harris feels she has been discriminated against as the sole African American member of her now former dental practice. Dr. Harris believes she has been pushed out of her job for simply being a Black woman in America.
“It is as though the partners at my former dental practice believe that a black person who has made it to success in a white-dominated field like dentistry is expected to show gratitude and humility, and to ‘act white,’” expresses a devastated Dr. Harris.
Case in point: Right before the last presidential election, in 2012 Dr. Misee Harris was invited to a dinner with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, as part of her involvement on an Obama campaign team. At that time, her employer advised her not to go because, “We’re all Republicans here,” and that “President Obama was the one responsible for the financial ruin of his office.” I was expressly told at the time, “People who wanted to work for him should not be siding with Obama.”
When Misee, already working at the office, gathered media popularity with her Black Bachelorette campaign and as an advocate of Black female empowerment, her colleagues began to “monitor” her social media accounts and bring up things they disliked about her public statements on several occasions. As Dr. Harris explains, “I made it very clear that what I did in my private life was none of their business, but to keep the peace, I became very ‘robotic’ and vanilla about my views for quite some time.”
Misee was the one dentist in her practice to bring back Medicaid patients back into the office and give out extras (free lunches, presents, even vacations) to assistants and front desk staff who get paid minimum wage, while the main doctors make high six figure incomes. Misee’s code of ethics was to never turn a child down who needed dental care. Hundreds of less fortunate families in the Nashville, Tennessee suburb where Dr. Harris practiced had no one else to turn to for their children’s dental work.
Dr. Misee Harris wants to go public with this unfortunate story of racial discrimination in the workplace because it has been her mission to empower Black women, many of whom, when subjected to this kind of discrimination do not have the financial freedom to leave with dignity the way Dr. Harris chose to.
Dr. Misee Harris wants to continue to inspire others to speak their mind and to end racial discrimination and related abuse.