For anyone that hasn’t yet heard, this past Memorial Day weekend yet another white woman called the police on a black man for merely existing in her vicinity and trying to converse. I am never surprised, just deflated and enraged. Christian Cooper asked a woman in the park to leash her dog (as the rules of the park dictated), which instantly sparked in her a reaction that we have seen white women weaponize time & time again in our country’s history. Thankfully, he began to record:
There is Amy Cooper, standing firmly on her feet practically strangling her dog, dangling in this mans face what it would mean for her to call the cops and say an African American man is threatening me. She knew exactly what she was doing & the power that she held in that moment. This is how black men get wrongfully accused and shipped off to Rikers, this is how so many black men die at the hands of the police. No, she is not a Trump supporter, this isn’t the South — this occurred right in our backyard in Central Park.
America’s preoccupation with a two-party system engenders some rather black and white thinking on the part of many Americans, where it is easier to coin one side being all ‘good’ than to look at this dynamic with more nuance. It’s easy to write off the ‘Karens’ of the world as right-winged fanatics, from Republican or predominantly white states, or as ‘crazy Trump supporters,’ but here is Amy Cooper: registered democrat, voted for Hillary, walking through the streets of Manhattan.
Many democrats weaponize their whiteness, and it is imperative to identify when this occurs. We were reminded when Joe Biden said that ‘even the poor kids are just as bright as the white kids,’ when we found out Justin Trudeau and Joy Behar dabbled in blackface, when white democrats “saved” Vietnamese babies from their parents during the war, or NYC’s entire history of redlining. And let’s never forget the “I don’t see race!” card that many white liberals pull in response to all of these instances, as if seeing blackness is the problem, not how it gets demonized.
I can name countless encounters with other white liberals that have said something blatantly or covertly racist, and expected me to not speak against them. To just agree or let it go. It terrifies me to think of how many women I’ve encountered in my life could be the next Amy Cooper. The ones that ‘work with black people’ and ‘have that one black friend’ and ‘never voted for Trump’ and ‘grew up in diverse neighborhoods’ and ‘agree that the KKK is terrible,’ but when no one is watching, when they feel that they can get away with a power trip — they are calculated, strategic, and blatantly racist.
Many of us try to find comfort in hoping that when a Democrat gets back in office, things will “calm down.” All of these attacks on black men, the anti-semitism, the islamophobia, the homophobia — it will begin to decrease. But I don’t think this is true at all. It will still linger, just taking on a new face.
This is not to say that republicans are off the hook. (#NeverForget Trump calling all Mexicans rapists, Tomi Laren coining the Black Lives Matter movement as the ‘new KKK,’ republican news outlets demonizing Kaepernick for trying to bring awareness to police brutality, the muslim travel ban, or how people are still demanding to see Obama’s birth certificate. These examples barely scratch the surface.) This post is simply highlighting that racism transcends political affiliation, and lingers in every corner of our country. And thus, if as members of the democratic party we don’t speak out against the specific brand of white liberal that Amy Cooper represents, we are just as bad as them & a part of the problem.