When you hear the phrases “racism against whites”, “the blacks”, and “you see racism everywhere”, you’d think they came from a white person infected with white supremacist thinking, right? But you’d only be half right. That’s usually what happens, but these statements were in a comment made to me by a Black woman (Nicole Kolesar) on LinkedIn. (Yeah, I was shocked, too.)
For those not following me on LinkedIn, here’s what happened:
I shared some quotes about racism from a recent episode of the Introvert Sisters.
Nicole took exception and made an extended comment including the language above, and threw in that Martin Luther King, Jr would be ashamed, for good measure.
Another commenter, Ashani Mfuko, pushed back.
Nicole accused us of “Black supremacist” thinking and was pretty rude. (Black supremacy isn’t a thing in a world of inequitable power relations, and it’s not what most Black people want. We’d settle for equity and a recognition of our shared humanity.)
I said I’d report the comment, which I did. LinkedIn thought it was ok, though, which is a whole other issue (they also mishandled it by hiding her hateful comments for me yet leaving them visible for anyone else who saw the post).
She blocked me and published a diatribe about anti-racists being the real racists on her profile (a friend screenshotted it for me) including another reference to MLK.
(I’m not giving her hate any more visibility here, but if you want to see everything that happened, along with screenshots, I’ve included the links at the end.)
I’ve often said that anti-Blackness exists in Black people, and this is a prime example. Honestly, if she were white, I’d call it caucasity. As my sister Lisa Hurley, also an anti-racism writer, put it, she seems to be suffering from “racial Stockholm syndrome”.
I can only speculate on what’s going on here, based on my previous experience and stories I’ve heard from other Black people. Nicole is threatened by any mention of racism, probably because she is bound up in her adjacency to whiteness. It becomes clearer when you look at the rant she posted on her own profile. She says “I will not tell my white husband or biracial children that they are oppressors”.
Now, if you’ve been reading this or following me online for a while, you’ll know that I don’t often use this kind of language. In fact, I shared the quotes with very little commentary. What is interesting is what Nicole perceived I was saying. It’s as if I came in on the tail end of a long and painful discussion she had elsewhere, and I was the one who experienced the fallout.
In her rant, she accused me of “insulting and demeaning” her. Again, I hope by now you know me better than that. When she said what she said, I merely commented “calling out racism isn’t racism” which seemed to set her off again.
I think she’s afraid to lose what she perceives she has and any mention of racism is threatening. Another of my LinkedIn connections posited that she’s “a microphone for her white husband”. I don’t know.
What I do know is that I’ll continue calling out anti-Blackness when I see it, even if it hurts me to the core when it’s from Black people. It would be hypocritical of me to do otherwise.
As for Nicole, I hope she finds peace with her Black skin, because it’s pretty clear she doesn’t have it now.
Thanks for reading. I look forward to your comments.
The original post where the drama happened
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Cover photo courtesy of Canva.