Black people have always used humor as a way to cope with terror and trauma; I have no issue with us doing the same regarding the rioting in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend. But I struggle to understand how white people can set their fingers to type and be tickled alongside us, and decide that it’s hilarious that white supremacists are carrying tiki torches as they march.
I’ve seen several other common examples of white nonresponse on my timeline: the standard “I care but I don’t know what to do,” “Ho ho rednecks are stupid” and the classic “Ha ha hee hee I’m posting on Facebook about it and that doesn’t do anything but look at me being aware of my own brazen uselessness.”
I wish I were so bored with my own unshakable safety that I could focus on the most mundane details of wildly violent shit that doesn’t even affect me. I wish I could giggle and gawk on some keeping-up-with-the-Joneses, “Did you see what Rebecca wore to the country club?”-type shit. I wish making fun of white supremacists took down their threat level for me mentally.
What in the fuck has gotten you jaded enough to justify responding to this with cheap comedy? What makes you think you have experienced enough of this horror to make light of it? What is the source of the existential fatigue spurring you to post tired, been-there, done-that “comedy” about white supremacy as if you know what the fuck is up? What the fuck are you coping with? Have some motherfucking tact—in most situations, tact matters to you more than human life anyway.
This is the epitome of getting too fucking comfortable—of so deeply believing that you’re the “right” type of white person that you can just shrug and laugh and make a half-assed joke with our deaths looming in the foreground. This posturing is just as useless as your overtures at allyship always are. I know we often point out your silence as an issue, but I urge you not to use snark as a substitute—I suggest this for most situations, but especially when there are white supremacists marching with fucking torches.
I’m glad it’s whimsical to you that they’ll use tiki torches to burn us to fucking ashes. I’m horrified at the thought of them lynching us—meanwhile, you’re trying to look cool with your raggedy-ass jokes and get invited to the barbecue. But you’ve always been invited to the white nationalist bonfire—provided you like the smell of immolated black skin. Horrifying, isn’t it? Fucking act like it.