We’re taking a break from the Coronavirus Diaries this week because a lot has happened this Memorial Day weekend and it needs to be addressed. Today during the morning meeting for work, my coworkers were discussing the video of “Central Park Karen.” I don’t really watch local news, so I was at a complete loss as to what was happening. A quick google search revealed a video of a white woman in Central Park walking her unleashed dog. An African-American man had asked her to leash her dog which is following with city ordinances. She felt “threatened” and called the police to report that an “African-American man” was threatening her and her dog. The video has since gone viral and she’s lost her job.
Last Friday, Presidential Nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden went on The Breakfast Club as all white nominees apparently do to appease to the black vote. During this discussion, he told Charlamagne tha God that if he didn’t vote for him he wasn’t black because of Joe Biden’s former work with Civil Rights. His remarks went viral and he since apologized saying he spoke off the cuff.
While both incidents might seem unrelated other than the fact that they both deal with race. But a deeper look reveals an interesting pattern. In both situations, a white person felt indignant because a black person was not doing what they expected them to do. They felt challenged. There is this underlying notion that black people are a monolith. We are expected to all act the same, think the same, look the same, that there is no individuality amongst us as a people. Therefore, it’s easy to justify killing an unarmed black jogger because all black men running are criminals. Therefore, you can justify killing an unarmed black woman in her apartment because all black people are guilty of some crime even if you burst into their home guns blazing.
I am tired of the outrage every time a white person does something that is completely aligned with everything this country was built on. Central Park Karen called the cops when she felt threatened because our police departments were founded to protect slaveowners from losing their property. Joe Biden felt comfortable to tell a black man what would make him black enough in his eyes because blackness is defined through whiteness. The outrage over Central Park Karen is because it happened in New York City. Undoubtedly one of the most, if not, the most liberal city in the country. It also happens to be one of the most segregated cities in the country. I might pass people from 50 countries on the street, but for the most part we all go home to people that look like us.
Spare me the fake outrage. It’s insulting and it’s tiring at this point. If you want me to think you care, then stand up and do something when you see injustice. March for the next Ahmaud Arbery. When you see a situation like what happened this weekend in a public space, intervene and say something. Use your whiteness for good instead of using it to justify your comfortability.
I’ll end this post with this. I went for a walk on Memorial Day and passed a house with an older white man standing outside on his steps, and a younger black man working in his yard. The white man looked at me with such disdain, I almost wanted to cry. I live in Brooklyn, surrounded by people of all races. But this man only saw one thing. I held my head up high and kept walking. Racism is not a problem that people of color created. It’s not our job to fix it