The year of our Lord, 2020 2.0, has brought us a long overdue confrontation of the racism the powers our society. But it’s been equal parts refreshing and exhausting, seeing that it’s also brought us exaggerated shows of white fragility. It’s the irony really, for me. White people who have scolded people of color for reacting to their systemic abuses are now screaming at cohosts and storming off of stages up and down my Twitter timeline. At the mere hint of racial bias these snowflakes boil over, demanding to be coddled. Despite repeated calls for people of color to “get over” racism, its white people that seem to be the ones still stuck under its spell. Watching the panic is both entertaining and frustrating.
The words “shocking” and “reveal” seem inappropriate to describe the admission by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry that the very family who basically invented colonialism might be racist. The British elite, however, seems shocked that we’ve noticed. The Queen can’t be racist, they said, she’s colonized the lands of people of color. No way an entire empire that’s built its wealth on the backs of the Black and Brown people the British empire has pillaged and exploited can be racist, you’re the racist for even suggesting it, look, here’s a Black woman that is willing to walk behind us as we give this statement who is not wearing a coat so that her Ankara will show. Look out ethnic she is, and we let her stand next to us. No way we’re racist nooooo.
I suspect that I’m laughing to keep from crying, but baby I’m still laughing.
There are signs that the veil of white supremacy is crumbling and I hold on to that. The tactics that white people use to wiggle out of these confrontations aren’t working anymore and I’ve got to say that witnessing this is a particular sort of delicious. Sharon Osborne began literally screaming at her Black cohost, Sheryl Underwood, after Underwood asked Osborne about her support of recently self- dethroned Piers Morgan. Osborne began aggressively insisting that Underwood run down exactly what Morgan has said that was so racist as her cohost calmly announced a commercial break. By the time the break was over Osborne was in full white woman victimhood regalia, complete with demands to be educated, denying that she could be racist in any capacity, shutting down her, again, Black cohost’s emotions, and then martyring herself in the space of about 4 minutes. If Karening were an Olympic sport Osborne would be its Serena Williams. Sheesh.
Osborne also managed to make herself the victim in her apology for making herself the victim. She started out by talking about how much Black people love her *barf * and then says that she was so overcome with the emotions of being associated with racism that she accidently did something racist. Her apology is full of passive, gentle language and includes exactly zero accountability or actionable steps for improvement. She finishes by bringing the whole world into her mistake, saying that we all need to grow and hold each other up and so on and so on. Sure, Sharon, we all need to do better, but the “community” wasn’t on the stage of The Talk damn near sweating out our roller set from yelling about how racism has nothing to do with us. That was you hun, all by yourself. Grow up and carry this one on your own.
I’ve encountered many a Sharon in my lifetime. I’ve had take it when white women around me have told me that I was lying about being discriminated against for wearing my natural hair texture, or when they’ve told me with a straight face that Black people need to be nicer to white people, or when they’ve told me that they are against Black Lives Matter because I haven’t been a good enough friend to them. In general, people on the privileged side of my particular marginalization have demanded that I calmly and expertly explain systemic abuses I experience, while in the middle of heated discussion. It’s been men. It’s been rich people. It’s been white women. And it’s been relentless. But watching the world finally call this manipulative victim-reversal tactic out gives me some hope, even with white people in Osborne’s comments accepting her apology on the Black community’s behalf (yall really have to stop that). Osborne isn’t able to hide behind the same empty copy and paste apology that we’ve been getting for years. She is going to have to make restitution. Or at least disappear from the public eye for a while, a welcome break for all of us I’m assuming.
In the wake of her yell spell CBS has temporarily shut down the show to conduct an internal review of “all matters related to the Wednesday episode of ‘The Talk’.” Osborne is still playing the victim, recently blaming the show’s producers for “blindsiding” her with a single, benign question about the friend she’d just so loudly defended. Underwood addressed the situation by talking about being an example, the burdens that can come with Blackness, and explaining that she was gentle with Osborne because they are friends. There is no question that she addressing this situation with more grace than it deserves, even though I understand her restraint. It would have been perfectly warranted and appropriate, however, if Underwood had stood up and shut Osborne right down. Black women don’t owe violent white women grace or education or elegance. Underwood handled the situation in a way that was right for her, and if you come at me talking as crazy as Osborne was Imma do what’s right for me. I’m just saying.
Also Piers Morgan is calling for CBS to apologize to him for calling him names or something but thankfully we don’t have to really listen to him anymore.