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.)