The solution is simple, stop giving white supremacists platforms. If you are not condemning white supremacy you are complicit in their ideas and values.
By Rachael the Lord
I remember attending a protest here in Baltimore after Trump was elected to be the 45th president of the United States. The scene could have been captured in a painting and mounted in a museum. Seas of white people flooded the cold pavement shouting protest songs, and “not my president” chants. Forget the Black lives that were robbed from the world under state sanctioned murders — this was more important because it affected them.
The 69th Emmy Awards aired last Sunday to commemorate creatives in Hollywood for their accomplishments throughout the 2016-17 year. Stephen Colbert served as the host where the inescapable political commentary bombarded us in the introduction. Little did we know that Sean Spicer would glide across stage with his podium in similar fashion as Melissa McCarthy did in satirical skits on SNL. The Sean-Spicer-Is-Ok tour continued to roll when photos of the Emmys after party surfaced, showing host & actor, James Corden kissing Sean Spicer’s cheek. James attempted to do damage control after “reading a lot of harsh comments on Twitter”.
When white liberals and moderates choose their privilege and comfort over our oppression, we have to question what their motives are. It is made evident that they do not care about anything that exists outside of their whiteness. Lena Waithe, Riz Ahmed and Donald Glover made history with their wins and yet they accepted their awards in the same theatre and on the same stage that Sean Spicer, a representative of white supremacy, was invited to share a joke or two.
BIPOC watched Colbert make light of this because it does not affect him and the other whites. They can afford to giggle with racists because racists are not out to get them. They can exist outside the bubble and poke fun at it until it pops…onto us.
White liberals take on the idea that having a balanced perspective is how we push toward social liberty. This is why we have seen an increase in “free speech” rallies hosting openly racist people. Inviting Spicer resembled what BIPOC have heard throughout our entire existence: reconcile with those who oppress you, laugh with them, eat with them, and invite them into your spaces.
The normalization of white supremacists is not resisting the right — it is akin to playing footsies with them. White liberals and moderates are making it clear that while they fight off the issues that plague them specifically, they still want to uphold positions of power that oppress communities of color. Their protest signs, pink hats and inflammatory Facebook statuses remain void because their performative outrage centers what inconveniences them.
Maybe people of color were offered a gift the night of the Emmys — the evening shed light on the very heart of white liberalism. It revealed to us that the cost of letting go of white supremacy is too great a burden to bear for white liberals and moderates. As BIPOC we are expected to open our mouths and accept the crumbs that they brush off the table.
Related: HEY, WHITE ALLIES? IT’S GAME TIME.
That is exactly what happened at the Emmys as we were subjected to listen to Spicer. Normalizing white supremacists and their agents is dangerous because it desensitizes people into complacency and inaction —when they allow white supremacists to sit in the passenger seat and share their favorite songs with us we are not working towards equality, they are putting wax on the seal towards the fate of this country.
We are in the thick of seeing which side of history people will fall on and what politics folks will subscribe to based on self-interests. The solution is simple, stop giving white supremacists platforms. If you are not condemning white supremacy you are complicit in their ideas and values.
There was a moment when the Baltimore anti-Trump march organizers gave an opportunity for angry protesters to speak on the mic. A white man ran up to the mic and shared his views, “It is not about people of color. It is about all of us.” My face turned a shade a grey. All of my fears were confirmed that whiteness will take on many forms to ensure that it keeps its seat at the table.
Author Bio: Rachael is a writer based in Baltimore who loves to disrupt society and engage in conversations that challenge us to be better humans. Rachael’s work centers Black women and our experiences. On her down time she performs, floods your Instagram timelines with selfies and eats fish tacos. You can find her here: Twitter Website Instagram