The next presidential election is right around the corner and with primary elections in full swing, most people have decided (either happily or begrudgingly)who their candidate is.
People are sharing political news articles, making posts in favor of or against certain candidates, critiquing viewpoints and trying to get folks to vote. Tensions and passions are high but so is…polite racism.
Polite racism, isn’t burning crosses, white hoods, or blatant in your face racism coming from someone who cares not to mask their hate. It’s softer, quieter even, often expressed sweetly, packaged in between proclamations of “diversity is good” and “I fight for everyone” – by someone who is “nice.” But make no mistake, “nice” racism (for however long it lasts because it can and does jump to good old-fashioned racism) is just as potent and damaging as its more jarring counterpart. It’s like the difference between an organism being venomous or poisonous. One outright bites you and releases its venom and the other ..drew you in just close enough to be able to poison you. Either way, you still have a major problem. You see this almost exclusively from the uber-liberal, progressive, even intersectional white crowd and that’s exactly the group that this post is focused on.
If you’re thinking “that sounds like the Bernie bros” or any other democratic candidates supporters, you’re right. I’m talking about them.
Recently, Ava DuVernay, the absolute creative genius and filmmaker who amplifies and represents Black voices and stories, and who is behind movies such as When They See Us, 13, Selma and A Wrinkle in Time, to name a few – received death threats and attacks from Bernie bros after she made a post that was critical of Bernie. People even went so far as to question her support for Black people and POC. Obviously, the death threats are not polite racism, they were steeped in the run of the mill variety. But the personal attacks she received were.
A Black man, here in Co, wore a “black guns matter” shirt to a Bernie rally and was confronted and assaulted by a Bernie supporter. This supporter, was ignorant of the history of Black people and gun legislation, yes. But according to reports, he was mostly just touting his (what started as) polite racism.
Across social media, i’ve seen Bernie bros, and even Warren, Biden and Buttigieg supporters, lose their absolute god damned minds when Black people express unhappiness with their candidate of choices stance on a matter. They’ll gaslight, guilt trip, “you people,” attack, politely invalidate lived experiences, “but why are Black people so (insert carefully crafted and almost amicable insult, stereotype or internal bias)?” and “let me tell you all the ways my lobbying/canvassing/event attendance makes me a better person and makes me qualified to talk about what Black people should and shouldn’t care about” us to death.
And they never, ever, seem to forget to make it known, that they fight for “you people”, are for inclusivity (they now have a Black person or POC in their social group, so take that!), are progressive and that we should be…thankful.
Because they are a good person. A nice person. They’ve never treated or thought of anyone differently because of the color of their skin. ..Except for, you know, right now in speaking with you. Or 5 minutes ago, when they implied that a Black person didn’t like their candidate because they were a low info voter, which duh, all of them usually are so they say. Or when they retell the story of their Black coworker fighting for equal pay at work and they always focus on how “angry” they were and how they only got the job because of affirmative action anyway and isn’t that enough? But like, they NEVER think badly about us though, right?
This isn’t one of those “there’s always a few bad apples in the bunch” kind of scenarios. Nor is this something that has just started during this election season, a lot of you are, and have been, like this. And Black people…we’ve been hip.
I’m also not confusing these interactions with bots or even trolls. Are there fake profiles that exist to excite disharmony? Absolutely. But that…ain’t this. These are the people we know either IRL or online, that we interact with. Maybe for the first time, these interactions are now about politics, but these are still people we’re familiar with.
If you want to have spirited discussions about politics, do so. If you don’t understand someone’s point or criticism, by all means, talk to them about it. But do it without your casual racism. Cause we see you and we will call you out about it. And there’s no amount of tears, that will save you from the dragging you rightfully have coming.
When JanayB isn’t posting memes, scrolling through “wokebook” posts, ordering food and otherwise being your typical millennial, you can find her here destroying white tears and basking in her unapologetic blackness. Get in touch with her at JanayBsays@gmail.com.