Black shaming is a tactic used to disparage the character and credibility of Black people when they are targeted by others. The duplicitous nature of Black shaming is clear to most people of color. However, some members of the white privileged elite find difficulty in believing that racist and prejudicial actions still exit. These are the same people who deny white privilege, undermine affirmative action, and insist that we “move on” from slavery.
These are the folks who simply cannot be reasoned with. Despite mountains of evidence that undoubtedly prove that Black bodies perish under elaborate institutionalized schemes, Black shamers constantly accuse Black people for own misfortune. Granted, we do live in a more “progressive” society in which opportunities and programs flourish for Black benefit. However, Black shamers stigmatize these programs as atrocious examples of reverse racism.
The ignorant belief in reverse racism is particularly troubling; for it highlights misunderstanding about what racism actually is. Racism is a power dynamic, in which the group holding the most socioeconomic power wields it to oppress a “lesser” group based on race, ethnicity, and culture. The lesser group simply does not have ample resources to adequately and systematically balance out the lopsided relationship. Hence, they cannot exert “racism” against their oppressors. Instead, they can combat racism by leveling the playing field.
Every time “reverse racism” is thrown around and used to Black shame, it inadvertently lessens the reality and depth of actual racism. It’s a red herring in a global conversation about racial justice.
Black shaming is thorough and persistent. It rears it’s ugly head whenever a racial conversation happens. Trayvon Martin is the most harrowing example. The slain 17-year-old was put on trial. Unable to defend himself, he was disparaged by media outlets and the conglomerate criminal justice system. The preventable incident in which George Zimmerman killed him was, essentially, off the record. Instead, pictures surfaced of Martin wearing grills. His history of delinquency was brought to light. He was no longer a victim. He was a misguided Black youth who had it coming.
The Black shaming tactic is so obvious in its duplicity. And yet, it’s an effective tool used to sully racist and prejudicial incidents in which Black people receive the lower hand. Black shaming is especially used in incidents of police brutality. The victim is not a victim. He is a belligerent criminal. A thug. A dreg of society that’s merely being weeded out.
In response to this troubling video in which police applied a prohibited chokehold to restrain Ronald Johns (22). All this after the young Johns allegedly hopped a turnstile.
The Black shame has been swift.
This is a never ending saga. Black people continue to suffer from institutionalized racism. And because it’s so intricately hidden, woven in between and around laws and regulations, and muddled by propaganda, it’s easy to make Black people not only targets, but perpetrators of their own targeting.
This is Black shaming.