When Black women point out their struggles on social media, you’ll usually see at least one if not more non-white women of color pointing out those struggles are not solely Black women struggles as “they’ve had this happen to them”.
Engaging in “oppression olympics” is a current trend online. However, while women of color can experience similar marginalization, there is an anti-Black undercurrent and Black people are the sole recipients. When it’s a Black women, it’s worse because the misogynoir just ekes out of people.
This is why Black women point out that women of color being targeted by white people is not the same as being targeted by white, people of color and even Black people who are purging their toxic self-hate by attacking what they perceive as a failure of their people personified in one or more Black bodies.
Was It Really Over Food?
A clear and recent example is Natasha Tynes and her anti-Black, misogynoir behavior against a Black women who transgressed by…eating in uniform. She, after being told “worry about yourself” by the Black women, tweeted her complaint with a photo of the Black woman attached and tagged the Black women’s employer. When the employer reached out via Twitter, she gave the details requested for them to find the employee who dared to eat.
All because she was “breaking a law” by eating in the WMTA.
When she saw the Black woman in uniform eating why did she feel compelled, even within her right, to approach her? Would Natasha have approached if she was white? Or a man? A white man? Would she have even noticed then? Probably not. So why would a female writer of color, target a Black women? Whiteness and anti-Black mentality.
You Don’t Need to Be White to Be Anti-Black
Part of white people being less noticeable is because they are the default in this society. There’s white — then everyone else. We notice when someone is non-white. Whiteness wouldn’t exist without that. You can’t claim majority, superiority or supremacy without having a group to label its opposite. Black people are the only group put into this category.
That’s why there is a distinction between Black people and people of color.
This is also why many people are angry, and Natasha Tynes experienced backlash. There were instances before it even reached Twitter that she should have asked herself questions. Yet at every point, Natasha engaged in the same behavior against Black women that white people do.
Natasha is a woman of color who thought she could use her entitlement on a Black woman, and when that Black woman called her out on it, Natasha took to Twitter to shame her and “put her in her place”.
That sense of entitlement, that Natasha had the right to ask her what she was doing, screams caucasity as does her Becky reaction when she was rightly told to mind her business.
Non-Black people of color fall victim to the same traps that poor whites do — that by standing near, they will one day be granted keys to the inner sanctum of white elite society. Or maybe they both just want whatever scraps white elite see fit to throw them.
It’s Against The Law, So What
Should allowances be made when a Black person does something “unlawful”? Depending on the transgression and, in this case, the answer is assuredly yes.
Because the punishment rarely fits the supposed crime when it comes to Black people. This is why claiming colorblindness or equality is not the same as true justice.
When a cop is called on a white person, even one with a gun, the likelihood the white person will survive is high. When a cop is called on a Black person, the chance they will be shot is high. And in the workplace, the treatment is also different if you are white or Black.
Even if Natasha Tynes would have done the same for a white person, that person’s punishment would likely a) have not been as severe and b) they would have a far better chance at finding employment elsewhere if fired.
That is why white and Black people can’t be treated the same. Even if you see them as the same, can you say the same will be true for every other person you are bringing into this encounter? Are you willing to risk their lives or their livelihood?
Misogynoir and the Perfect Victim
To use “the law” as an excuse to target a Black woman demonstrates what, time and again, is shown to Black women: that they must be the “perfect victim” of “blatant racism” at the hands of a “white aggressor” in order for the experience to be validated. If not, the Black women is often blamed for her treatment.
Black women experience misogynoir through the intersection of being both Black and female. This treatment doesn’t only come by way of pale skin. It comes at the hands of a NBWOC, feeling superior enough to a Black woman to approach her and question her about what she is doing. All these acts do is further fracture and separate marginalized groups. This is also how a man on twitter feels within his right to state that the Black woman eating is “the problem” and a disgrace to all Black women.
Some of the worst perpetrators of anti-Black/misogynoir is from Black people or people of color who, in their desperation for darker skin, to be seen as equal puts all the responsibility on Black people’s actions/behaviors rather than acknowledging a simple truth. Their actions are never the issue; their actions while Black is.
At What Cost?
This situation may seem trivial, but anti-Black sentiments allow for inhumane treatment of humans.
It allowed cops to gun down a child, Tamir Rice, in a park within seconds of exiting their vehicle. It’s what allowed the media to publish a piece discussing his parents’ criminal history. It’s what allowed people to shift the responsibility from police trained to shoot when they see Black, to why a child didn’t just “follow the rules”.
It’s what allowed a white officer to punch a 13-year old Black child with mental illness several times and not worry about jail. He may get fired? He’s white. Losing a job as a white person doesn’t have the same weight as when you are Black.
It’s what allows the media and cops to label Black children as men and women who need to be punished rather than children who need to be protected.
In this society, skin color matters. The further away you are from white, the less human you are.