Hush Money tells a story that is all too familiar to Black people across the globe with the case study of Ebony, a young Black woman who was living in poverty, struggling financially, and finding it hard to make ends meet. It describes how she obtained a job with an organization, after years of working dead end jobs, that put her one step closer to living the American dream. But it also describes how that dream turned into a nightmare when she became a victim of systemic racism in her workplace, was stripped of all dignity, confidence and strength, and was left with three choices: suffering in silence to keep her job, resigning to keep her sanity, or waiting to be unjustly fired.
Hush Money also tells a story of triumph that breaks down the strategy Ebony used after years of suffering that not only proved systemic racism in her workplace, but also allowed her to keep her job and received a six-figure settlement from her employer, among other things, to buy her silence.
Things with Malcolm were so bad that I dreaded coming to work, afraid of the new attacks each day would bring. My job became a living nightmare from which I could not awake, gave me an enormous amount of anxiety, and resulted in forty pounds of weight gain over a three-month period due to stress.
One afternoon, Malcolm stopped by my office unexpectedly, and closed the door.
"My how the mighty have fallen," he said, with a light-hearted chuckle. "The posters of you were pulled down a few minutes ago, and your face is being removed from all marketing material as we speak. So, guess what? No more celebrity Ebony!"
Then, he shrugged his shoulders and cheerfully said, "Oh well. Ready to quit yet Darky?"
I didn't say a word, I just stared at my computer screen, and feverishly typed while he stood in front of my desk glaring at me in a way that gave me the creeps. He glared at me for about a minute and then, out of nowhere, busted out laughing. He laughed so hard he almost choked on his own spit.
As he stood in front of my desk pointing at me and laughing, I wanted to cry, but managed to hold the tears back long enough for him to get the hell out of my office. Then, I cried. I felt so alone, and there was no one I could turn to for help, because Ms. Kelly retaliated against me, too. She spread vicious rumors about me across the campus and labeled me as the girl who cried racism. And because she was the Chancellor, and her words carried a huge amount of weight, she transformed me from the racial discrimination victim that I was into a social outcast, and no one, not even Latoya, wanted to talk to me let alone be seen with me. And I didn't dare file another discrimination complaint. I was too afraid of being fired or making matters worse.
As I sat at my desk crying, I knew it was just a matter of time before Malcolm unjustly fired me, or I buckled under the pressure of his hate and resigned. I also knew that no matter which method brought about the loss of my job, the end result would still be the same. Without my job, I would go spiraling back into poverty, and the thought terrified me.
As I continued worrying about my job, my mind began to wander, and I started having dark thoughts, very dark thoughts, about Malcolm, and what I would do if I ever saw him alone in a dark alley with no cameras and no witnesses. I'd do my best to beat the living shit out of him, stab him a few times with a butcher knife, then force feed him my shit until he gagged and begged for mercy. And if he tried to crawl away as he bled, I'd pull out my gun and shoot him. Yeah, just shoot him. Or should I stab him again? Stab him or shoot him? Shoot him or stab him? Stab him or shoot him...