Current Events

Understanding The Stages Of White Tears

In yet another episode of White Women Are Always Allowed To Be The Victim, I was scrolling on Twitter and discovered an incident between Abigail Elphick, a White woman that assaulted Ijeoma Ukenta, a Black woman, in a Victoria Secret at Short Hills Mall. Many online have dubbed Abigail “Victoria’s Secret Karen,” however, I won’t be referring to Abigail as Karen. While I have used the term in the past, I realize these women are becoming memes and the butt of jokes, and the harm they have caused historically and currently is secondary. However, women like Abigail are treacherous women. As stated in my blog, Karen Is You, “Just looking at Karen, she seems harmless. She is often very unassuming and is non-threatening in appearance. Still, women like Karen have not only supported racism but have instituted and upheld racism throughout history. While the Karen memes are sweeping across the internet and becoming a part of our lexicon, it is important to note women like Karen are dangerous women.” We have seen the impact on Black lives when a White woman cries wolf. 

While Abigail claimed through her off-off-off-Broadway performance that she was having a mental breakdown, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Abigail. Abigail realizes that her antics are being filmed, and in the age of social media, she understands these incidents inevitably go viral, and many White people lose their employment. Abigail is concerned about herself, so she must begin the performance to paint herself as the victim. She inherently understands that she will be seen as the victim, and the Black woman will be seen as the aggressor. She understands that she will not have to face scrutiny, judgment, embarrassment, and potential job loss if she can pull this performance off. 

Abigail is very strategic, and people must understand there is a method to her performance. As you read this blog, know that none of her actions are random, and the incidents are always rooted in racism.  Hopefully, after reading this blog, you will recognize it when the next viral video comes along. 

The following are the steps to understanding the stages of White tears: 

  • Entitlement – These incidents will always start with entitlement, and many White people feel they are entitled strictly based on being White. For instance, a Black person can be moving into a home in a well-off community, and a White person feels they do not belong there. White people are entitled to live in beautiful neighborhoods with all the amenities, not Black people. Who does this Black person think they are? A Black person is shopping, and a White person feels how dare they be in this store, surely they can’t afford anything in this store like I can. A Black person walks down the sidewalk, and a White person decides Black people do not belong here; this is my community. All of this comes from a sense of entitlement. This is my space; this is my community; it is my right to be here, not yours; it is my right to cut the line in front of you, or how dare you do not move when I say move, etc. 
  • Inconvenienced: The inconvenience is connected to the entitlement. For instance, when I wrote my blog, Do Not Move Off The Sidewalk, a Black woman told me that a White woman attempted to cut her in line, and she held her space and told her that she was not moving. The White woman needed to wait. The White woman insisted what she needed was going to take just a few minutes. But what does that have to do with the Black woman? She should wait just like anyone else. But because she feels entitled, she is not going to be inconvenienced by waiting in line. It’s as if she thinks, “Why do I have to wait in line when I can just cut in front of the Black woman? Why doesn’t she understand that I am entitled to go first? Why do I have to be inconvenienced because some Negro is ahead of me?” This sense of being inconvenienced has deadly consequences for Black people. We have seen this with the murders of Aidan Ellison and Jordan Davis, two young Black men that White men killed because they claimed they were playing their music too loud. How dare they? People need to understand it was not the music. The real issue was, a Black person was in the space, had the right to be in the space, and was not listening to a White man who felt entitled and inconvenienced and felt that a Black man needed to submit to his perceived authority by turning his music down. 
  • Perceived Authority/ Policing – White people, feel it is their job to “police” Black people in spaces. Strictly based on being White many feel they have the authority to determine who belongs in spaces. This perceived authority is historical. In Slave Patrols: An Early Form of American Policing, Chelsea Hansen writes, “The process of how one became a patroller differed throughout the colonies. Some governments ordered local militias to select patrollers from their rosters of white men in the region within a certain age range. In many areas, patrols were made up of lower-class and wealthy landowning white men alike. Other areas pulled names from lists of local landowners. Interestingly, in 18th century South Carolina, landowning white women were included in the potential list of names. If they were called to duty, they were given the option to identify a male substitute to patrol in their place. The American South relied almost exclusively on slave labor and white Southerners lived in near constant fear of slave rebellions disrupting this economic status quo. As a result, these patrols were one of the earliest and most prolific forms of early policing in the South. The responsibility of patrols was straightforward—to control the movements and behaviors of enslaved populations. According to historian Gary Potter, slave patrols served three main functions. “(1) to chase down, apprehend, and return to their owners, runaway slaves; (2) to provide a form of organized terror to deter slave revolts; and, (3) to maintain a form of discipline for slave-workers who were subject to summary justice, outside the law.” Throughout history, White people have felt empowered to police Black people as an extension of the police department.  
  • Racist Incident – Then starts the racist incident. A White person will say the n-word or some other racist phrase. Listen to me, you do not wake up on a Tuesday and have NEVER been racist in your life and decide today is the day you will call a Black person the n-word. When a White person has an episode like Abigail and the hundreds of other videos we have seen, they simply reveal their true nature.  
  • Assault – While this is not always the case, often, these incidents become physical. As we have seen historically and presently, White people have murdered Black people and largely have gotten away with it.  They also think I can assault a Black person and they cannot do anything because I can just call the police and the police will believe me. They understand they can assault or even murder a Black person and simply claim they felt threatened, and the chances of them getting away with it are enormous. We saw this with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. Ahmaud was murdered on February 3, 2020. Travis and Gregory McMichael were not arrested until May 7, 2020, AFTER the video of Arbery’s death went viral. When you watch the video (approx. 2:14 mark) after the murder, the police state they aren’t going to put Travis in handcuffs and then say, “Why would he be in cuffs?” Ummm, because he MURDERED someone. But Gregory knows he could ask that question because, as a White person, he understands physical violence towards a Black person is largely okay in a White society. 
  • Awareness – A White person becomes aware that they are being recorded and similar to Abigail, they understand what can happen to them in the age of social media and want to avoid the consequences of their racist behavior. Understand that Black people often have no recourse except for the recording. What you see happening across this nation is not new; it is just that technology has caught up with the racist incidents. Many White people would never believe a Black girl was just sitting on the sidewalk and a White man came and choked her for not wearing a mask in public. Many White people would not believe that Black people were just barbecuing in a park and a White woman felt the need to call 911. These incidents seem so outrageous that Black people understand they must be caught on camera, and White people should know by now if you do something racist, chances are it will be filmed. 
  • Performance aka White Tears – After being caught on camera now, it is time for the performance. Here comes the screaming, crying, and theatrics. Women like Abigail understand that the world falls at its knees when a White woman cries, and she understands that she can weaponize her tears so that people viewing the incident will feel sorry for her. Her goal in crying is to get bystanders on her side. In the incident with Abigail, we see her constantly looking around for others that will see her as a victim and support her actions. 
  • Victimhood– Abigail falls to the ground screaming, understanding she can make herself look diminutive and meek while the big, bad Black woman is towering above her, making her fearful. Then she claims, “Don’t film me while I am having a mental breakdown,” all while looking around so others can “see her having a mental breakdown.” She KNOWS if she uses those words, people will feel sorry for her, and it becomes the big, bad Black woman terrorizing the White woman in the throes of a mental breakdown. She must do everything she can to paint herself as the victim. 
  • Police Call – These incidents often end with the White person calling 911. They understand because their job is to police Black people in spaces, they are doing their duty, and they know the police will show up to defend their racism. They know the police will immediately respond to a White woman in crisis because a Black person is involved. The job of the police is to protect and serve White people. Also, please understand this going back to step 3, the police and the White person having the racist incident caught on camera are working in tandem. In the video, you can see the police are telling the Black woman to move as they coddle the White woman who was the aggressor. The police essentially step in to defend the White person. 
  • Lying – To add to the performance, the White person will start lying because they understand how the policing system works for Black people. Any White person that claims they do not know how Black people are policed in America is lying because they KNOW all they have to do is tell 911, “I feel threatened,” “He’s scaring me,” “He is a big tall Black guy.” And they KNOW the police are going to show up to “rescue them.” They weaponize their tears and Whiteness with no regard for how their lie will be detrimental for the Black person. 
  • Fake Apology/Claim – Usually, this follows after the incident has gone viral. Rarely if ever does a White person caught in these incidents simply say, “I was racist and messed up.” They will always have an excuse, “I didn’t take my medicine,” “I didn’t have my coffee that day,” “I was having a mental breakdown.” “I was drinking.” And they offer an apology with an asterisk. They never apologize for being racist. They are apologizing because they got caught. This plays right into the White Tears because they know White America will step in and graciously accept an apology on behalf of Black people. “Oh, we know you didn’t mean it, Abigail. On behalf of Black people everywhere, as White people, we accept your apology.” Now, the person who committed the offense is absolved, and life can continue as normal. 

Wash, rinse, repeat.

This tactic works all the time and very rarely changes.  

Did I feel sorry for Abigail? NOT ONE BIT! White Tears do not move me. I add them to my coffee every single morning. I can spot women like Abigail a mile away because I understand the stages of White Tears. I was hardly impressed with her mediocre high school musical theatrics. In the police report, it states, “Miss Elphick seemed to acknowledge that she was wrong, saying she was concerned about losing her job and apartment if the video posted online.” That was ALWAYS her concern, not any mental breakdown. She was focused on herself because she attacked a Black woman. I knew what it was the minute she was fighting to conjure up some tears. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with Abigail. She is an entitled White woman that knows how to play her role in America. Period.

(I will be following up with part II for this blog because there is an aspect of this video that I must point out: the White bystanders that stood by until they spoke up for Abigail.)

56 replies »

  1. I am glad you are going to tackle the issue of the bystanders and I look forward to reading your perspective on it. Watching the video, I found myself becoming almost more incensed by their response and lack of response than I was by the heinous white woman having her meltdown. I have seen a lot of people online defending the white woman’s behaviour by referencing mental health. The fact they know zero about her medical history tells me they are looking for an excuse rather than an explanation. When I watch that footage, I don’t see someone having an acute mental health episode because it is all too knowing and she is too self-aware throughout her meltdown. What I see is performative victimhood. It was enraging that she was permitted to hold the stage in that way.

    • I commented below. Even if she needs help for mental health, she is a threat to Ms. Ukenta. We can hope she gets help and still condemn her actions, I think.

      A relative had Alzheimer’s and lived in a place with other patients. Some of the men, the disease led them to be sexually abusive. They were ill, but still their behavior could not be tolerated. Maybe they lost the filter that said don’t do this in public. But then the illness revealed deeper abhorrent behaviors. I dunny know if it is relevant for this woman.

      And if she is not diagnosable, then she is even worse for the racism and using real illness as a human shield.

      • Oh I absolutely agree with you! I apologize if my original comment was not clear in that I have been pushing back against comments I have seen online about this woman’s potential mental health challenges. As I wrote in my original comment, even if that is an explanation, it is not an excuse. I also think those commentators are looking for a way to distract and divert from the actual issue at hand which is racist behaviour. If they pivot to talking about mental health then they don’t have to engage in conversations they perhaps find uncomfortable about everyday racism.

        Obviously I only know as much about this particular woman as I can observe in this video but I don’t see anything in it that makes me personally jump to the conclusion that she is experiencing a mental health crisis. Her behaviour seems too knowing and controlled (despite her spectacle of loss of control) to be a genuine crisis. She looks to be doing that classic move of realizing she is being filmed, realizing there may be consequences, and going into a performative meltdown to make it all about her.

        I also know very many people with genuine mental health conditions who, even in an acute crisis, do not reveal themselves to be racists. So, again, not an excuse even if it should prove to be a (partial) explanation.

      • I have never had a mental breakdown so I am making an assumption (I will address this in part 2) but I am assuming if someone is having a real mental breakdown they aren’t looking around for people to affirm the breakdown. While NOT a mental breakdown I remember when I heard no one would be charged for the murder of Breonna Taylor I just broke down. Like I really broke down. Even typing this tears come to my eyes. It was so hard to hear that. I was at the park known as Injustice Square Park and they were playing the decision by the AG over loud speaker and we heard no charges and my emotions just took over. I was devastated. Someone sent me a picture of me that day and I didn’t even remember it. I was just head down sobbing uncontrollably. I remember cameras started coming around and I screamed back the fuck up!!! I wasn’t looking around for people to see I was crying and upset. I was just devastated.

        This woman is a liar. And the police report confirms that. She knew she was wrong but had to give a performance so she can be the victim. Watching this video was almost too much. Those theatrics get Black people killed.

      • Absolutely. It’s theatrical and too “knowing” to be a genuine mental breakdown or even a sincere emotional meltdown. It’s all theatre and it aggravates me that everyone in the vicinity allows her to hold the stage like that – and even try to silence the actual victim (which I appreciate is going to be the subject of another post). That’s why I’m pushing back on people I see commenting online deploying the mental health excuse. It’s a deflection. This is an entitled woman who is in fear of the consequences of her racist behaviour.

    • Chiming in on a reply because I have no idea how to leave a comment. I apologize. Ms. Hannah, your article was very eye opening and puzzling to me. First of all, it was the first time I was made aware that Karen’s were all white. To my knowledge they were a reference to women who throw fits for ridiculous reasons and videos were posted of them on Youtube. Admittingly, I tolerated watching 2 videos and that was all I was able to stomach. That was over a year ago, but the term was used when I was online and I did not see where there was racial bias. I stopped using it because I am sure there are really nice ladies named Karen who getting joked about undeservingly. I only know two Karen’s personally and they are horrible for other reasons. Now that I know that it was a racial slur, I am glad I chose to stop using it. I also have never in 42 years on Earth and born in the South you speak of seen an exclusive “White Society”. I think you would need to show me one for me to actually understand where your point in this article comes from. I have moved all over this state and never lived in an area where a color is predominate nor where a police force has a staff that is predominantly one color. Slavery did exist years ago. There are very few people who experienced life as a slave or sharecropper still alive and I have met some. My grandfather worked as a sharecropper as a child himself. I met a 101 year old couple who were sharecroppers as well when they had just met as teens and were married. Slavery may have been abolished but as with all things made illegal on paper, criminals turned it into a more profitable and lucrative business that thrives in this country today. It may be called human trafficking now, but in Louisiana it is a $1.5 billion dollar industry and slavery is alive and well and like in the past it does not discriminate against any color. But back to the topic, your article seems to say that this is a without a doubt white female attack on black female consistent planned agenda. That almost seems like it is premeditated since you used bullets and defined the steps white women use to attack random black females for no reason. I have no understanding what the motive they have is from your article at all. These women make complete fools of themselves and are completely ridiculed by all people. Why would anyone want to follow suite? Why would anyone use this plan? I do not see any person filming themselves acting in a manner like this looking for something like attention or whatever you are suggesting they want? They would be shamed completely. No officers would put up with this or even give it time. They have enough to deal with. Hissy fits do not get attention. No one could even guarantee they would get the flavour of officer you suggest. I hate that I just said “flavour” of officer. Your scenario does not fit our reality here. I am thankful that this type of content is not supported by the majority of this state. No one can lie their way into this. We are too diverse. Myself, I am multiracial and multinational. You can not identify a race by color here. We have so many different cultures and we embrace all of them. I have met one woman who used racial slurs, who was taught racism, she was a miserable thing. I have met two other people who spoke against others racially and they were black people speaking against other shades of black people. One worked it all out, thank goodness. It was all nonsense. But that is all I have ever witnessed. You have put forth this issue of dangerous Karens. I live in a place where shootings are regular and it is black young people murdering other black young people constantly. I do not consider that race against race crime. That to me is ignorance and wanting to make money without putting in work. I hate to see constant death but it is not the cops or Karen’s killing the most. I will not budge on that with my home full of bullet holes. This is my community and my life and these are my people burying their children. Until someone from anywhere else comes down and spends time with me in my neighborhood and sees for themselves, they can keep their disputes on that topic to themselves. My door is open. But we do not disrespect each other, we are friends. We support each other as community and there are no attacks on anyone without cause and especially because of how anyone looks. People are trying to live and provide for their families. There is no room to spend angry at colors. You can either be a contribution to your surroundings or a detrimite. The regular people here did not own slaves. The rich did. The same rich then are still rich now. Every person who is pale did not own massive property and slaves. Most of their parents were in the fields too. And until the issue of slavery in America today is even touched upon and those slaves are even considered freeing, I don’t know how anyone can say that because you are a particular color you have entitlement over black people because of slavery committed in the past? I never owned a slave. There has to be a point where this narrative stops because repeating it just harms more people. Just adds to keeping it open and causes more destruction when everyone could be past it. I don’t understand why that is not a goal. The south is also known for being a hospitable place, good food, good people, beautiful and fun. Racist and slavery in cotton fields all in the past. We have some serious issues to deal with and national attention to those would help. But for some reason that is not mentioned at all. Only the ones in the past that promote people to hate each other are on the news (not news). The real slavery of today which if people joined together and stopped that horror could be ended will not be on tv or social media at all. They do not want that to progress. People should ask why…

      • I want to ignore you but can’t help but pick at least one bone since I’ve lived in Alabama 6 years now after living my whole life in Washington DC.

        You must live in Deep South of different nation. Google ‘Mountain Brook, AL’ & check out racial composition. It’s not only among the wealthiest cities in America, it’s also one of the whitest. Travel in straight line from SE Birmingham to NW and count the concentration of whites to minorities along the way for empiric idea of community segregation. Do the exact same – from SE to NW – if you’re ever in DC. And do check out the public school facilities along the way. That Mountain Brook – featuring 3 car average per SFH – is only municipality within greater Jefferson County to offer public school bussing is no coincidence.

        I’d also estimate that around 35% of the folks I personally know had at least one grandfather or father in the Klan. My live in partner’s GF was one. And although I can’t name any specific klan members among people I’ve met, I’m sure I’ve interact with them all the time. And so do you.

        And as to the scarcity of N word use among southern whites, you’re either living in a dream world or asking all the wrong questions. Your heads so far up your ass you can’t even small your own shit, much less the stank ass all around you.

  2. I also look forward to reading the take you offer on the bystanders. I like to think I would act against such a person as Abigail in that situation, and certainly would witness against the claim that Abigail was being attacked. What I’ve seen of the video was pretty convincing–the person recording is NOT the aggressor and is clearly trying to avoid the real aggressor and still do what they were in the store to do.

    I am fortunate in that my retail experience has not given me such a scenario in person. The lousy customers I’ve experienced have been bad enough without having to deal with people like Abigail.

  3. These days, I often wonder what would have happened if smartphones had existed from the 1870s through the 1920s. The surprise is based on the reality that folks never anticipated doing anything about racism. At all. They figured everyone else owed placation and subjugation, and that was that.

    • I’m do photography and have long believed that graphic images have galvanized more 21st Century social change than all the books, essays & words ever committed to paper: Photojournalism among top 10 highest occupational hazards, after all.

  4. Thank you for the dissection. The bystanders were the most frightening because they were clearly used to witnessing this type of behavior in their families. This is how whyte people manipulate each other psychologically within their own family unit. There wasn’t even the sensitivity present that would definitely be there if they indeed thought she was having a mental breakdown. They were straight up “business as usual”. 🤓

    • This!! I thought this 100%
      She does this at hone or with family and gets what she wants, so she’s trying it here. I didn’t think about the bystanders being used to this type of behavior, but that makes sense too.

  5. I’m white and it all sickens me. I grew up as a military brat so interacted with all sorts of people. I can’t even begin to accept the sense of entitlement so many have and disdain for others. Unless they’re Republicans. Then I very much feel like spitting on them.


  7. Excellent analysis. Thank you for putting so much effort into breaking it down. I hope your post gets lots of deserved attention and love.

  8. Like, for real, (I’m White), I can only watch some of the videos because Abigail’s screeching and antics are so hard to listen to… Like, I think “Hannah watched it, you should too.” And then I hit pause as your play-by-play is so detailed.

    Maybe Abigail is mentally broken/ill. She seems to be lying about her employment status.

    It doesn’t matter to Ukenta who states quite clearly she is protecting HERself. And rightly so.

    If someone has a mental breakdown and comes at you with a knife, no one disregards the knife. Abigail is a clear threat to Ukenta in the context of how likely it is that no one would believe her. I can hope this Abigail, if she is mentally ill, can get some help. Just as a human thing. That doesn’t mean her behavior is in anyway excusable nor any less a threat.

    And if she is NOT mentally ill, then they better throw a damn heavy book at her for the other sin of crying wolf when there really ARE many people suffering from mental illness in our days of late capitalism.

  9. It’s instructive to note that, while Elphick was worried about losing her job and her apartment as a consequence of physically assaulting someone, she was worried about being arrested. Whereas a black person would be worried about being killed.

    • Precisely. And she KNOWS this. She knows she can call the police and be FINE! And from
      The video we can see that’s true. Doesn’t matter what she did. She KNOWS she’s going to be okay. Even in the video with the murderers of Ahmaud Arbery. They know hey don’t handcuff my son who killed him. And the police DONT! She even says we are CLEANING HIM UP! What?! Where have you EVER heard someone murdered someone and the police are CLEANING THE BLOOD OFF THEM!!!!! I could go on and on.

  10. Wtf why didnt the store employees ask her to leave?where was the store manager? She was driving customers away with her theatrics – I’m surprised but not really that security didn’t show up – I thought a lot of VS actually have their own security and they were no where to be seen either – the store manager could have called the police and told them they have a woman screaming and causing a scene in the store and need her removed as she is attacking other customers – this is wrong on so many levels and the bystanders were ridiculous you would think one would call her out on her stupid behavior and tell her she was making a fool of herself – Uhg

    • Retail workers don’t get paid enough for dat bullshit… Please… I gotta call a manager to tell you the same damn thing!

      • ALL OF THIS.

        This chick is having a full blown temper tantrum (not mental breakdown).
        What do most people do when kids have a tantrum? They get ignored. So they ignored her.
        People all about minding their own business. The racism inherent in this video portrayed by
        Ms. Elphick is staggering. She was flipping out because someone was taping her. She could have
        left the VS store at any point and went someplace else if she really felt that she was in danger.
        Ms. Ukenta had verifiable and legitimate reason to be in VS that day that had not been completed.

        Ms. Elphick got into Ms. Ukenta’s bubble and was told to back off. She didn’t and that made Ms. Ukenta
        uncomfortable. So she started taping Ms. Elphick which is not a violation of her rights to privacy. At least
        this in the reason Ms. Ukenta and it seems reasonable especially given the “social distancing” we have all had to
        endure in the past year.

        Ms. Elphick was wrong and should have been escorted from the property by security.

    • My guess was is no one called security because of the way we extend white women the benefit of doubt that they’re harmless. Reaction to Black woman behaving like that would be swift & likely physically forceful.

  11. Outstanding breakdown of a horrific incident. I (not “look forward,” perhaps “am very interested”?) in the second part as, yeah, what the hell, bystanders?

  12. The woman screaming in the store seems like she may have autism. I heard someone asking if she is alone, could reason b that she appears to have autism?

    • You can be autistic and not be racist. 🙃
      (My son is on the autism spectrum and even he says this woman is ridiculous and embarrassing and offended that this would be used an excuse for her behavior. )

    • No, this is absolutely NOT an instance of autism. It is an ableist narrative to think autistic people act like this. You also cannot say if someone is autistic based on 10 minutes of video. Autistic people go out in public alone all the time.

  13. Well said and explained! The whole time I am reading, I think of how White woman Carolyn Bryant took decades to clear her conscious on her death bed and admitted she lied because her racist antics caused death to Black boy child Emmitt Till and the whole incident became their embarrassing American history. I am looking forward to part two and the lies to cover the lies.

    • I’ve been thinking of Emmett Till since the first time I saw this video. Women like this make me so angry.

    • After reading your comments, runner guy, you’re obviously very white, and obviously very racist. To quote your later comment, “Well when you’re a racist, and don’t hide your racism by posting racist things, I’m not surprised.” Unlike the bystanders who stood by and let Abigail have her rant, I don’t feel like being a bystander when it comes to reading your crap. Back off Ms. Drake. She’s writing truth. You may not like it, but it is truth. It’s racists and trolls like you who get Black people killed. (Thanks for these two amazing articles and your earlier ones, as well, Ms. Drake.)

      • The goal of racism and what you are doing is to cause distraction. That ends today. Enjoy your running.

      • Thank you again, Chris for your comments. I have dealt with people like “running guy” many times and trust me, running guy is not Black. He can claim he isn’t White but he is certainly not Black and has an anti-Black agenda. Also that is often the case when racists hide who they are, they try to claim “they aren’t White.” Sure, running man. 🙄 I am writing a new article soon about the goal of racism and this person’s only goal is to be a distraction. This article has helped many people, he has stated his opinion but now his focus is to be a distraction and take away from the larger goal. I see exactly what he is doing and while I am always open to different opinions there are some things I just will no longer put up with.

  14. I usually lurk, but this gets me fired up. RE white bystanders. White people need to understand that what was called “nosey” years ago is obligation. We all know “if you see something, say something” and this is “if you see something, do something”. If you have to stop and ponder or don’t already have a plan when you see an Abigail or when you see blue lights, then ask yourself why you don’t, why you’ve never thought about it, and what you are going to do about that… because it will happen. The question isn’t IF you will be a bystander. In certain parts of this country, you WILL, that’s just basic statistics. The question is: What will you do with that power? That is what this is about. Do you take the power or do you neglectfully leave it in the fists of authority? Bystanders can mitigate abuses of power even if they are silently witnessing and recording. Truth is the purest power and we are physically holding that in our hands when we press that big ‘ol red VIDEO button on our phone. Accountability does not have a chance without truth, and systemic change requires accountability. This is a vital component. Let’s be real, white people do what what they see other white people doing – so it’s time to step it up, be the bystanders we want to see in these videos, show others how it is done so they won’t be a chicken shit when it is their turn, and teach our children that being an ally isn’t a choice or something to ponder because that “privileged ponder” is the difference between life or death. As a side note, aka a rant for another day, it is literally just PRESSING. A. FKIN. BUTTON.

    • Great post. If I as a white person I already have the power & obligation to do the right thing, all that’s stopping me is the biggest privilege of all: Choice.

  15. I’m sorry *if* this woman has a mental problem that leads her to outbursts like this, *BUT* she is just as dangerous as a white woman in full possession of her mental faculties who does exactly the same thing. She is a *danger* to Black people whether or not she has an excuse. If she is indeed mentally affected, then she might be accommodated in her behaviors BUT NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF INNOCENT PEOPLE AROUND HER.

    Based upon her performance, however, it seems as if this white woman knows what she’s doing and knows that her reactions are flat-out wrong. And her first attempt to shift the blame to the Black woman (even before the recording) doesn’t work, but it is all that she has, so she does it again and again, trying (like so many children) to escalate her behavior until adults come in to soothe her.

    And white people do not fail in this; indeed they come in to soothe her and tell the Black woman (who is minding her own business trying to get what she came in for) to move away *when it is this white woman who is causing 100% of the problem*.

    Where are the people coming in to protect this Black woman who is the target of this threat by this white woman? Don’t we usually want to protect victims and confront the people causing the threat? Why are the tables turned when it’s a white woman? Ask yourself if the aggressor was a Black woman and the shopper was a white woman–who would be soothed and protected, and who would be going away in handcuffs?

    We’ve trained ourselves to default to “protecting” white women, and unfortunately this has been internalized by us all.

    It would have been nice had a store manager told her to get out of the store and trespass her so she could not return. That white woman is a *threat* to every Black shopper, and a manager who wanted to protect their customers and their store’s reputation would have seen this clearly as the course of action: you do *not* put your customers in danger by accommodating dangerous people.

  16. As someone who manages a mental disorder, no “mental issue” excuses shit fit hysterics let alone physical aggression and it’s downright insulting to anyone struggling with mental disorders for her to use that as an excuse for her racist temper tantrum 🙄 hard cringe!

  17. Whenever I have experienced this, it’s the reactions from the people around me that kill my soul the most. Like you have been standing here since before this started, seen every movement and heard every syllable and I’M THE MONSTER!! The onus is on me to DO MORE. “You have to understand…?” No, not at all. “Maybe you could…?” No I can not. “Why don’t you…? Because it’s not my work to do….this is where I normally pack up my desk and start the hunt for a new job. Retribution is coming for the black monster that scared that poor little white girl. The air is going to get thick and I never like working that hard to breathe.. The attempts at work sabotage start to trickle in to you after the weekend usually around Tuesday….they still don’t know we start preparing on day one for this! #FAIL! But I move on, if only you could have kept your racism under cover from me. I mean we both know, but there was no need for confirmation damn! At least that’s what I use to do, I’m old now and tired of moving off the sidewalk SOLELY because of incident like this. I’m good at my job, so there is no legitimate reason for me to leave.

  18. Thanks for writing this breakdown. It is engrained in the conscious of White America and the day to day interactions of white women towards Black women. What needs to also be acknowledged is the burden of Black people in these situations to stay calm and not react. Anyone who is getting attacked would go in self defense mode, protect themselves by any means needed. Black people dont have that luxury. Within a split second, we have to analysis the situation in a way that is more about (1) how do I capture this so at least I have a video to back up my case (2) how do I keep myself calm while this person is physically and verbally abusing me (3) how do I keep myself safe and (4) how do I position myself as non-threatening so when the police arrived and sees this white woman actually a fcking fool I wont be killed. We know we are guilty until proven otherwise even with a video. I def want to read your writing on the bystanders, especially the two white woman who signed off on her white tears and put the blame on Ukenta.

    From a Black woman who is sick and tired of being sick and tired.

    • Thank you for speaking about how black women literally don’t even have the luxury to protect and defend themselves in accordance with natural law. Whiteness is calculating.

  19. Black people are reaping the reprecutions of our ancestors,white people have to answer to almighty God,their not getting theirs yet. I would be more afraid of that than a black person dealing with white supremacy. Think about it

  20. As brit I found this article hugely informative. I was inspired to doom-scroll lots #karen videos – and you can definitely decode the pattern of behaviour – in some case its more blatant than others, usual by the appalling acting abilities of the perpetrators.

  21. I’m ashamed to admit having read this series that I am one of those bystanders who probably would have done nothing. I elaborated on that nothingness in different comment on part II of this series so won’t go into same detail here. But this whole series broke ground in forcing me me to acknowledge what I didn’t want to acknowledge what I didn’t acknowledge about the racial blind spots & biases or mine feeding that behavior. And galvanized me to unpack specific character defects underlying them. That’s the 4th step of Alcoholics Anonymous; after 5 years of sobriety I just never expected to re-work it within a racial framework, but that is now the work in front me.

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