*It is always the racially oppressed people who are expected to be accommodating towards bigotry. They are expected to rise above it and ‘ignore’ it instead of standing up to the bigots. That is the case in the US. The burden of eradicating racism lies on the shoulders of Black people, who are directly maligned by it.
Asking Black people to cure racism is like asking women to cure sexism. Ironic, isn’t it?
There has been a recent drama surrounding Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle’s decision to split from the Royal family. Their plan is endorsed by the Queen herself, but it is the British media that can’t seem to digest the couple’s decision. One of the lingering questions raised by the Markle’s critics was, “Yes, she is treated with racial disdain by the British Media, but does she have to make a big deal out of it?”
Meghan Markle is expected to keep her mouth shut and show grace and poise just like the Obamas. All of the arguments raised by Meghan’s critics boil down to this: the racism she faces is her own fault because, instead of rising above it, she chose to make a statement.
This is not a recent phenomenon but one that has been going on for a very long. Baseball player Jackie Robinson was summoned by Branch Rickey, a Brooklyn Dodgers team executive, to ask him if he had the guts not to fight back. He was asking Jackie to remain stoic even when racial slurs were poured from bleachers and dugouts as well as other white players. He had a Hall of Fame career because he did not reject Robinson’s demand. He died at the age of 53 due to a heart attack, but it can be said that the enormous weight of the racism he was forced to ignore probably contributed to his death.
Whatever is thrown at the Black people, they are forced to be accommodating, regardless of the emotional and psychological cost attached to it. On the other hand, racists and bigots live their life comfortably, managing to chase the Black people into the thin, frigid air. Black people are left with no choice but to find an escape route like Meghan or give in and breathe their last breath like Jackie.
At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama spoke her now-infamous line, “When they go low, we go high.” As the First Lady, she definitely endured her fair share of racial bigotry and handled it with the same poise as her husband. However, had the Obamas lost their cool, they would have drowned in accusations that they were stirring racial unrest. They walked on ice and never fell.