stop re-traumatizing your black friends with unsolicited violent news updates

June 1, 2017
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I can’t help but feel as though every time a white friend tags me in or sends me a link to news about violence against black people, that this friend is seeking entertainment via my outrage and pain. And, sure, while these friends *are* genuinely upset by the news they see, it seems like my black pain is being used as an outlet for white people to vent into.Nothing wrong with needing to vent about the bullshit, but well-intentioned white friends often fail to consider the emotional toll of seeing the degradation of our people takes on one’s psyche.

The psychological battlefield that is making your way through a Twitter/Tumblr/Facebook feed without encountering graphic images of black bodies strewn like carcasses on the side of the road is very real. There is no safe corner of the internet for black women looking to escape violence and injustice against blacks or women or both. What we don’t need is white friends making sure we’ve seen the latest debacle at risk that we miss one.

By Erin White*, AFROPUNK contributor

Now, I get that we want to share news and have public discourse. “Did you see this?” Yes, I saw it. Of course I saw it. And even if I hadn’t, what does it say that about you being so eager to let a black person know that a thing has happened to another black person? I don’t tag my Muslim friends everytime I see a mosque bombing. I don’t alert trans sisters that another trans woman has been murdered thanks to some man’s rage, toxicity, and fragility. I don’t do these things because these groups of people don’t need me to make them aware of the issues that plague their own communities. And the arrogance required for one to believe that they are needed to educate these people is breathtaking, to say the least.

If Whites wanna help and inform others, they must start with their own kinfolk. Black people know that the police are racist and we know that they regularly commit human right’s violations against us. It’s white folks who remain unconvinced. And in the age of digital activism, I’m not waiting around for Becky to inform me of the latest killing of an unarmed black person. And I’m not here to empathize with her pain and hold her hand as she comes to fully realize the systematic horrors of which she benefits from. It once again centers the whiteness and the feelings of white people while acting under the pretense of caring about anti-black oppression.

Photo via theGrio

*Erin White is an Atlanta-based writer and AFROPUNK’s editorial and social media assistant. You can follow her on Tumblr or friend her on Facebook. Have a pitch or an inquiry? Shoot her an email at erin@afropunk.com.