Partners to Black Dentist: Facebook or Your Job, Choose One

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Dr. Misee Harris is a model, philanthropist, and nationally recognized leader in the realm of pediatric and sports dentistry as well as the realm of advocacy for children with developmental disabilities. Dr. Harris graduated with honors from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2006. She went on to attend the University Of Kentucky College Of Dentistry, where she earned a Doctorate of Dental Medicine Degree. After graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry in 2011, she became the first female black dentist to be accepted into the University of Kentucky Pediatric Dentistry Residency Program.

Dr.  Harris is best known, however, as the “Black Bachelorette.” That was her claim to fame until recently. Now she is in the news for speaking out against being harassed and forced to resign from her dental practice after showing outspoken support for slain teen Michael Brown and the Ferguson, Missouri protesters.MH DDS

Prior to her voicing her concern on her private Facebook account about what was going on in Ferguson, Dr. Harris was beloved and respected by staff and patients at the dental practice where she had been offered a partnership.

With credentials like hers why has Dr. Harris been issued an ultimatum at work: shut up on  Facebook or you’re fired. Apparently she offended colleagues with her views on racism and civil rights.

In other words, her partners expected her to stifle herself on these matters. But the first amendment applies to all. So, in her own words . . . h/t: Huffington Post

I am  writing to the public to tell my story about what took place a few weeks back at the office where I practiced pediatric dentistry. I am part of Black America; I was born into it by virtue of the color of my skin. No matter where I am in my life, that part of me will always be my first identifier. I am also a dentist. My former employer gave me the unfortunate ultimatum of having to choose to be one or the other. That choice was presented to me after the partners in my former dental practice spied on my Facebook page, which featured several posts expressing my support of Michael Brown and the issues surrounding Ferguson, Missouri.

On September 4, I was called into an unannounced meeting at the pediatric dental practice where I worked, and where I was being considered for a partnership. I was ambushed and presented with screenshots from my private Facebook page. Since I had blocked work colleagues from accessing my account, it was explained to me that a doctor who is a partner at the office, and who also led the meeting, had been having a friend spy on my Facebook page. Screenshots were taken of my posts and were sent to the doctor who led the meeting. I was informed that some of my recent posts regarding racial issues in America were “unprofessional.” I asked the partners if they had any idea what was going on in Black America and none of them seemed to even know the name Michael Brown. I was told flat out, that I would have to choose between my style of social media communication and my job at the dental practice.

Social media had been a place where I felt I could freely express who I am and how I feel about timely pressing issues that matter to me. What’s more, my Facebook page was set to private status, and my former employer had to use underhanded methods to access my posts.

Martin Luther King once said, “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” Is all of Black America in the same boat in 2014? It doesn’t seem so, and that concerns me deeply. We are divided into classes. Those on the streets of Ferguson don’t feel that the likes of President Barack Obama or Jesse Jackson have their back; they don’t feel those public leaders can even speak for them.

Dr. Harris’s story echoes that of Donald Sterling’s. He lost his Clippers team due to private comments being made public, where offense was taken. Dr. Harris lost her dental practice due to posting an unpopular opinion on her FB page for friends to view–friends, not trolls.

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About Author

Rodney Lee Conover

Rodney Lee Conover is a writer, producer and Senior Editor at JoeForAmerica.com

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