By S. (September 5, 2018)
Dear White Liberal Friends,
Welcome to the crazy-making world of trying to interpret the actions of those in power. Is Ms. Bash sending a white power signal or are we reading too much into her hands? Black people have had to deal with so many dog whistles and so many excuses to explain away racist behaviors that it is intentionally very difficult to discern real micro- and macro-aggressions from non-racial behaviors.
–Did I get the traffic ticket because I’m black or did I get because I committed a traffic infraction?
–My white coworker got a promotion and I didn’t. Is it racism or did my white coworker work very hard and deserved that promotion more than I did?
–Is the waitress being rude to me because she doesn’t like black people?
–If Tamir Rice was white, would he still be alive today?
–Would a white tennis player been allowed to wear a cat suit at the French Open?
When blatantly racist actions get explained away or people deny that a known racist is racist, we are being gaslighted. Our ability to assess and interpret situations has been compromised. Because we are so vulnerable and so hurt, we can error on the side of caution and assume racism when there may be more appropriate explanations.
I have no idea what’s happening with Bash’s gesture. But for the sake of my sanity, I can’t focus on the ‘real’ intention. Instead, let’s focus on the very real and unambiguous policies and ideas that Bash supports that will harm people of color.