Why I Can’t Anymore With Shaun King’s “Racism Porn”

What I love about my son’s school and his administrators is that they all want to make our children and our community great.

In the last year, I’ve been invited to school board meetings, PTA meetings, and offered volunteer work by administrators in my son’s school. As much as these offers warm my heart, my work schedule makes doing anything outside of working nearly impossible. I’m trying to work that out, so that I’m not a bunch of “talk,” but as any working parent knows, it’s a difficult process.

Either way, I appreciate the efforts of those who choose to include me in making my community stronger. That said, since I live in a predominantly black community that embraces social media as much as the rest of the world, I follow social justice warriors on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms for ideas that I could bring to the table to help my own community. That’s why I’m starting to turn a blind eye when I see “racism porn.”

Don’t get me wrong, we all need to be aware of racism when it rears it’s ugly head. What I don’t want to see are social media pages that seems to be dedicated to it.

Enter Social Justice Warrior Shaun King.

King is a writer for the New York Daily News, and his platform mainly focuses on fighting racism, and I appreciate that. However, when I scroll down King’s Facebook timeline, I see the worst America has to offer. Photos of crimes against black people, acts of bigotry and the like floods his page. It’s hurtful, and since he’s been doing it for so long, it feels exploitative.

Ahead of his December 5th boycott to help fight racism, I’ve been consistently looking to him for ideas on how to cut my dependency on the demon that is Walmart (because Lord knows I can’t leave there without dropping a bill). I’ve been also looking to post more on black businesses that I could support, black Kickstarter campaigns that’s worth funding, or activities I could incorporate with my local PTA to make our black and brown children stand up guys and gals.

While I appreciate his 25-part series on ideas to reduce police brutality, I’d like to see more of what people in other communities are doing to help make their children and neighbors stronger, and more supportive of each other.

But after I saw his post on how we’re just now seeing the impact social media had on the country after this presidential election, I realized that maybe it was time for me to let Shaun King go.

This post bugs me because King gained his social media following through racism porn. Again, people need to know when racism emerges in society, but a photo of  swastika on a subway seat should not be included in that. There’s talk of a Muslim registry, and I have yet to hear King give any ideas on how a mom who lives 20 minutes from a Klan resting area could help support my neighbors.

I see hardly any ideas from him on what I can do now to strengthen the black vote and the black dollar ahead of the boycott. But I see plenty of social media stories on crimes committed against people of color, and that’s something that I can not keep watching. It’s like a trusted family member that keeps asking you to tell the story of how you were raped – talking about it helps, but we don’t have to keep being re-victimized.

I don’t want to keep seeing the worst things Americans have done without seeing the best Americans could be. Hopefully in the future, King will perhaps add more balance to his social media pages by discussing what black Americans are doing now to make this racist and bigoted world we live in more tolerable.

But I won’t get my hopes high.

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2 thoughts on “Why I Can’t Anymore With Shaun King’s “Racism Porn”

  1. I both appreciate and understand your sentiments, Joy, about how overwhelming “racism porn” can be. In saying that, I have to add that I can also appreciate that @ShaunKing has a different agenda.

    I’m confused as to why you would scroll through his pages and be upset, though. Or, why you feel it’s necessary for him to care about giving you answers to questions that he (so far) hasn’t found relevant enough to answer. Is it possible that you can do some research on your own to come up with answers (as he has done for things he finds problematic)? Is it “necessary” for him to address issues that are so important to you that you blog about why you “can’t anymore with Shaun King?”

    I can remember when Dr. Martin Luther King was beginning to make a name for himself (yep, I’m an elder) in his fight for civil rights for ALL people. There were innumerable articles about what he “should” focus on, multiple times that were people telling him how he should go about his business, and multitudes of white people trying to shame him into staying out of their corrupt system of racism. I’m feeling that here with your remarks about deflecting Shaun’s focus, although it may not be how you meant what you said.

    From my perspective, Shaun’s whole focus has been on POINTING OUT racism wherever it rears its ugly head. And by the way, in an effort to balance all that hate and pain, he has also offered 25 ways to improve policing.

    Personally, I think Shaun King does Shaun King very well, but would do poorly trying to be Joy Stokes, for example, don’t you think? So rather than demean his valiant, daily and constant pursuit to shine a light on injustice anywhere he finds it (and there’s a LOT of it), I think his readers should commend him on his diligence and let him work on doing his best the best way he knows how. And if scrolling through his pages is disheartening, just–don’t, and I really don’t say that in a mean way. I don’t know the man, but if I’m feeling overwhelmed about injustice (and I really do some days) then I don’t read so much that it’ll send me into depression.

    We can only do what we can do, and somewhere along the line others have to do the best they can with what they do. I can see no other way to make significant contributions to our society.

    Be well. Be happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading. Here are my answers:

      1. “I’m confused as to why you would scroll through his pages and be upset.”

      For the record, I’m not constantly upset by what he posts. Meaning, I don’t start my morning routine with drinking tea, and shaking my fist at Shaun King 😝. I think that some of his posts, like the swastika on the subway seat, feels like tattling. With this POTUS administration, we really need to be more aware of different kinds of racism that may not be so blatant, not the defaced subway seat racism. JMO though.

      2. “Or why you feel it’s necessary for him to care about giving you answers to questions that he (so far) hasn’t found relevant to answer.”

      You’re right, I’m irrelevant in comparison to the people who asks him questions every day. I just thought that leading up to the boycott, I would be given more tools and resources to use to cut my dependence on businesses that use racism to fuel their profits. He’s asking me to boycott businesses that I have been attached to my whole adult life, so it’s natural to want guidance from the person who is starting the boycott.

      3. “Is it possible that you can do some research on your own to come up with answers (as he has done for things he finds problematic)?”

      Absolutely! But even the Birmingham Bus Boycott members had each other to trade ideas with. So far, I have not seen those conversations on social media, which is why it would be nice for him to point out where I could go for those ideas on his social media pages. A helpful hint never harmed anyone.

      But then again, my perspective is all “expectation vs reality” commentary. *shrug*

      4. I once had a professor who marched with MLK as a young man, and he told me that everyone had criticism for the Civil Rights leader when he was alive, both black and white. He also said that criticism is necessary, because it’s how we grow, and that no one expected that criticism to result in MLK’s death.

      Now I am certainly not demanding that Shaun King change anything about his platforms. His platform has taken him to The Young Turks (my favorite show), and to radio. That’s superb! I want my black brothers doing big things. But I also think he can point out racism, as well as show how great America could be. That’s not shaming anyone, that’s asking for balance.

      5. “So rather than demean his valiant…”

      I’m not demeaning him at all. I think constructive criticism is often misconstrued for demeaning language. I’m sorry if you felt that way when reading, but I shoot straight from the hip.

      6. When Huey Newton died, he was burned out. In his biography, David Hilliard described Huey as exhausted, tired, and mentally drained (among other things). Years later, the exact same burn out happened to David.

      That said, the way he described confronting social justice stayed with me, and it made me aware of the need for balance. What I want for our leaders today is to take notes from yesterday’s leaders. It’s possible for us to have balance and fight for the world we want, without running ourselves into the ground. I don’t want that for anyone else, especially not Shaun King.

      But again, I won’t get my hopes up. And that’s scary.

      Like

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