The Harts were hideous monstrosities of unbounded proportions.
[Content Warning: child abuse, anti-Blackness, state violence, murder of Black children, suicide.]
Years of reported child abuse claims, including physical harm and starvation, recently culminated in the death of an entire family. Sarah and Jennifer Hart drove their SUV off a California roadside cliff with their adopted children inside. Three of the children were found among the car wreckage along with the two women — Markis (19), Abigail (14), and Jeremiah (14). The other three remain unfound and are presumed dead, possibly washed out to sea. They are Hannah (16), Sierra (12), and Devonte (15).
Investigators now believe that the crash was intentional, citing the fact that the speed was set at 90 mph and the lack of skid marks, but Black people knew it in our spirit all along. From the moment the story broke, we fucking knew it. We sat and watched as others speculated about it, giving these two abusive, murderous white women the benefit of the doubt after they had driven their adopted Black children off a 100-foot cliff.
We knew it in 2014 when Devonte Hart, with tears welling up in his eyes, was photographed in a tentative embrace with a white cop at a Black Lives Matter rally and the image instantly went viral. Other photos from that day show that Devonte was already in tears even before he was approached by the cop. In Sgt. Bret Barnum’s own account of the event, he states that the boy was “hesitant” to speak to him, but he persisted with the conversation and ultimately asked for the hug.
Devonte’s body language in the photos spoke volumes to us. It felt like coercion. It felt like a 12 year-old Black boy, who was at a rally to protest the Grand Jury's failure to indict Darren Wilson for the murder of Mike Brown, was afraid to speak to a white police officer, but was pressured into doing so anyway as others surrounded him and took the opportunity to snap the perfect “feel good” photo. And we were not at all surprised when Sgt. Barnum was later caught up in a controversy for publicly showing his support of Darren Wilson on Facebook.
We know what it looks like when Black people are being used as a tool of performative allyship and white liberalism. Devonte was made a spectacle and used as propaganda, by his guardian who accompanied him and by every person who shared the image of his obvious pain with musings about how racial togetherness and free hugs would magically solve all of the world's issues and end racialized state violence.
One of his guardians seized the opportunity to write about the viral photo on Facebook, saying that they attended the rally in hopes of “spreading love and kindness, and to remind (ALL) people that they matter in this world.” The Harts failed Devonte and his siblings in more ways than one.
This is why performative white allyship is so dangerous, and not just for the Black and non-Black kids who get adopted by them. It is insidious, to say the least, when “good white folks” impersonate someone who truly cares about anti-racism work, even as they continue to uphold white supremacy in their words and actions, and continually harm people of color.
We witness this ally theater daily, both in our communities and on the larger world's stage. We see the way that people like the Hart couple insulate themselves with people of color as tokens and trophies to provide themselves an alibi for their racism.
We see the way they fetishize Martin Luther King, Jr. and a non-violent stance, whitewashing and re-writing his legacy to present an ahistorical vision of the civil rights leader who ultimately saw the validity of violence as a form of resistance, because they plugged their ears after “I have a dream.”
Their white saviorism complex is painfully obvious, a perpetuation of the colonialist and imperialist self-aggrandizing belief that people of color always need white people to save us, even from the white supremacy that they actively participate in and continually benefit from.
And how dare we not bestow accolades upon them for “liberating” us? We, deadpan as they explode into tears and go on social media rants when people of color don't fall to our knees and thank them profusely for being gracious enough to do work on our behalf. We hear them scream, “I've always been good to you negroes” before exiting stage left in a huff.
We side-eye the ones who are so glaringly only “progressive and forward-thinking” because they see it as a trend, like their avocado toast and the aesthetics that they appropriated from hood Black girls. They list social justice work that they never actually did on their resume and OkCupid profiles for social capital, and pats on the back, and so they can more easily fuck the people color that they fetishize.
The “I’m not like other white people” declarations don't fool us. These special snowflakes take up so much fucking space as they fall over themselves trying to obscure their own privilege and disassociate themselves from the white supremacist violences of the past, present, and future.
We roll our eyes at the white allies who demand our intellectual and emotional labor and scream “It's your job to educate me!” only to take our words back to their white ally spaces to accept all of the credit, then block us on Facebook when we call them out for their intellectual thievery.
Allies shouldn’t need a reason to be allies; they should be cognizant of the injustices rampant in the world and want to change the world for the better.By Sarah Khan Recently, Canadian politician Jagmeet Singh was heckled by a white woman while he was conducting a meet-and-greet in Brampton, Ontario. Singh, who is Sikh, faced against a woman who has since been identified and tied to local white supremacist groups in Toronto; he endured her ignorant claims that he was going to bring about sharia law--an Islamic ideology, very much different from Sikhism--to which Singh responded with impressive patience and compassion. Claiming that he and the attendees didn’t want to be “intimidated by hate” and that no one wanted “hatred to ruin a positive event,” Singh began calming talking over the woman with phrases like “We welcome you. We love you. We support you” and “We believe in your rights.” Putting aside the problematic idea of welcoming or supporting yet alone loving someone who believes in a racial hierarchy, Singh’s level-headed handling of his heckler is being touted as the ideal way to deal with those with whom you disagree. It goes back to the fact that people don’t seem to realise that anti-Islamic or racist or sexist beliefs are not just something with which to disagree. A difference of opinion is over something that doesn’t negatively affect the lives of millions of people and doesn’t continue to uphold a system of oppression for pretty much anyone who isn’t a rich, white cis male. Whether apple or pumpkin pie is better is a difference of opinion; believing that every brown person is Muslim and thus an misogynistic fanatic or terrorist is a human rights issue. Pumpkin pie will be okay if people hate it — people of color will not.
White allies need to be leveraging your body, assets and privilege to protect the most vulnerable among us, not crying about how you don't recognize this country now (because to be honest, most of us do and always have).By Clarkisha Kent I started this piece over a week ago. And it has taken many, many forms. Initially, I was planning on writing some scathing rebuke of white men like “Thick Wife Guy” who make everything about them and allies who do the same. I was planning on sticking to solely calling out the toxicity and paternalism of white allyship for the 363893836375th time. I was honestly planning on telling white allies to fuck off forever — especially after this weekend. However. A lot has happened in a week. Thick Wife Guy’s asinine statements remain but Charlottesville happened. While Black people and other people of color remain un-shocked by the racism on display by white Supremacy, white America on the other hand? Well, they were shook. Seeing their sons, lovers, and YES, daughters out there in modern Klan rallies — faces uncovered — suddenly made the whole ordeal "real" to them. Even though it has been real for Black people this entire time. Being shook in this manner led to different reactions. Most of it including hand-wringing. A lot of it included calls for kumbaya and flowers. And a lot more included gross denial. I could frankly go on and on about the wide spectrum of reactions from white “allies” that I found downright wasteful and useless. But I'm not here for that. I'm actually here to tell white "allies" to but their grown folx pants on. You'll have to forgive the quotations there. Because like Feminista Jones, I too don't really think allies exist. But that ultimately isn't up to me, folx. I also don't believe in Santa Claus either, but that doesn't stop other folx from believing he’s the real deal, now does it?
We really shouldn’t be applauding men for finding their wives attractive while we regularly deride fat women who love themselves without the male gaze.
BY TIFFANIE WOODSIt only took 5 minutes for me to hate the newest viral sensation that hit the interwebs last week in the form of Robbie Tripp. If you’ve been plugged into any social media outlet, I’m sure you’ve read an article or seen a picture of Robbie and his wife Sarah, and the nauseating faux body posi Instagram post he published yesterday. In the post, Robbie goes into detail to explain why he loves his wife. That’s nice right? That’s what I thought after reading the headline of Buzzfeed’s article about the couple. But a few lines into the article had my eyes rolling in the back of my head so hard I thought they would stick. A man letting the world know how beautiful he thinks his wife is cute, except that Tripp centers his own experiences with being attracted to thick girls – he centers the bullying he faced when he was a teenager instead of highlighting Sarah’s own experiences with her body. By constantly pointing out and objectifying his wife’s body and humanizing himself, Tripp shows just how little he actually gets feminism. But hey, lets give this man a standing ovation for loving the woman he married because she has some cellulite and isn’t a size two. In theory, this could’ve been a good post. Had Robbie gone in-depth on any of the topics he mentioned; why he was teased for liking plus-size women, why it’s okay to not be a size zero, why today’s beauty standards aren’t realistic and are dangerous. It could’ve been informative to address fatphobia and educate his hundreds of thousands of followers.