I don’t blame you if you haven’t heard of Michael Brown. The media is ignoring his fate. On Saturday, the Black teenager who was headed to college today, was shot 8-10 times by St. Louis-area police. What little was “reported” was egregiously misconstrued. Instead of focusing on the excessive police brutality that resulted in Brown’s gruesome death, media outlets turned their attention to nonviolent protestors who were exercising their First Amendment rights.
But as an independent blogger and Black women, it’s my inherent duty to shed light on the pervasive racism that is killing so many Black bodies.
Racism, at times, is manifested through white fear. White fear is a skewed emotional response to Blackness due to centuries of propaganda aimed at discrediting and mongrelizing people of African descent. Black people, and people from other racial/ethnic/cultural groups can be inflicted with white fear as well, due, in part, to the omnipresence of white supremacy.
Not all white people exhibit white fear, but there are a number of them that do. And this number is stocked with entitlement, privilege, authority, and weapons. These are the pretend militias that guard the border. These are the people who insist that President Obama is a Kenyan socialist fascist antichrist. These are the politicians that harangue, but then run scared when confronted by the minorities they target.
These are the people who killed Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, and so many others that we’ll unfortunately never know.
White fear is the moment when people of color stop becoming human, and start becoming monsters. We are untrustworthy and undeserving of sympathy, recognition, compassion, or justice.
Like all elements of racism, white fear is nothing new. Some early examples of white fear are when slave owners denied Black people the right to read because they were fearful of Black intelligence. Or when disgruntled white mobs destroyed prosperous Black communities in times of economic turmoil and political unrest.
White fear is rooted in deep insecurity. Those who exhibit white fear feel inadequate and have qualms about competing with people of color if the playing field were leveled. So they continue to marginalize and oppress people of color, and petulantly decry minority achievement.
White fear really gets me when those that perpetuate it deny minorities as a whole, and posit that we’re a “post-racial, colorblind society.” They claim they don’t see race, and instead, are a part of the human race. What they’re really saying is that race makes them uncomfortable. They’re scared of it. Ashamed of it, even. So instead of acknowledging it, they cast it (and all it’s thorough consequences) aside as a happy accident of socio-biology.
White fear is an iteration of white supremacy. It’s an emotion that’s been implanted into white consciousness thanks to centuries of inaccurate portrayals of Black men and women in the media. White fear thrives on a fetishized depiction of Black culture, in which we’re dangerous and unpredictable, and thus deserving of immediate death.
Shoot first. Ask questions later. And leave an entire community in disarray.