Last week introduced such horrors and such wins, and a transparent racial thread between them. On Wednesday the day started with a historic Senate-runoff win, half of a decade-long effort of neighborhood organizing led by politician Stacey Abrams. That afternoon, a mob of white supremacists stormed the Capitol carrying MAGA hats, brandishing weapons, and waving Confederate flags. This conflict of opposing forces set the Internet right into a tailspin.
Even earlier than the day darkened, I—as a queer, Black girl residing in the South—had blended emotions as I watched the dialog round Abrams’s function in an unprecedented victory unfold on social media. In 2018, Abrams ran for governor of Georgia however misplaced to Brian Kemp, who was the Secretary of State at the time. Despite her loss, Abrams didn’t merely disappear—she turned one of the strongest forces in politics and centered on combating voter suppression, which she believed contributed to her defeat. Fast-forward to this month, when Democratic nominee Raphael Warnock gained out over incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Jon Ossoff over Republican David Perdue, due to the tireless efforts of Abrams’s grassroots group Fair Fight.
A quantity of politicians and activists I comply with on Twitter likened Abrams to “Captain America”; Mark Ruffalo known as her a “real superhero.” This could seem to be innocuous reward, however there’s a superb line between celebrating a Black girl’s efforts and burdening her with the accountability to avoid wasting us. The chatter took a good stranger flip with compliments that appear to fetishize her; males, particularly white males, commented on how they needed to leave their wives for her.
Black ladies are undoubtedly highly effective, however this characterization is usually problematic. The phrase Black Girl Magic, popularized by CaShawn Thompson in 2013, holds a precious message, however one that’s typically decreased to cliché or used out of context by non-Black individuals as a well-intentioned gesture of assist. Many white and non-Black Americans nonetheless don’t know what it means to truly worth and honor Black ladies in a significant approach. As Tamika Mallory, the cofounder of Until Freedom, an intersectional social justice group, and a former cochair of the Women’s March on Washington in 2017, says, “A good ally places themselves in between the system and those people the system is harming, using their privilege to allow the voices of the impacted folks to be heard and protected.” Which additionally means working to right the large disparities that are widespread in our society. The response to Abrams proved what so many of us expertise in our private lives: too typically we’re tasked with fixing issues we didn’t create.