With every day that passes, the Brittney Griner situation keeps getting more complex. Currently, Griner’s legal team is attempting to appeal her sentence. While there have been talks about an exchange, the journey has been long and arduous. Earlier this year, the WNBA star was arrested by Russian authorities for having canisters containing marijuana concentrates in her luggage. Although there have been a lot of updates about her imprisonment and the politics around it, the empathy online seems to be nonexistent, and we need to talk about that.
The Narrative Needs to Change
It seems as though it is a common norm for people to become overly righteous and puritan when a Black person gets into the slightest trouble. While Griner shared that she was sorry for carrying the illegal substance into the country, online participants have had different ideas. The fact that people online are dismissively saying that Griner ‘should not have broken the rules,’ and ‘celebrities should not expect special treatment,’ seems out of place. In many instances, statements like these are shrouded in hidden internalized bigotry.
It’s Not Funny
Social media has been awash with a frenzy of light-hearted memes about Griner’s situation. To many people, the situation is a comedic fiasco sandwiched in politics. It can be easy to make memes for a few hundred likes, but doing that misses the mark and pushes us further away from our humanity. The harsh reality is that Griner has been detained for months, and has allegedly been treated poorly. Instead of investing in wisecracks, showing genuine support is what is needed at this time.
The Response Has Been Underwhelming
There have been a few exchanges online of people saying that Lebron would not have put himself in the same situation. This argument is not only deeply insensitive, it blatantly dismisses the fact that Griner made a mistake, has owned up to it and is fighting hard for her freedom. Even though the internet has been awash with think pieces, the overall response to Griner’s imprisonment, which many have collectively called ‘unfair’ and ‘extreme,’ has been grossly underwhelming.
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We Should Protect Black Women at All Times
The truth is that many times, systems fail black women, and Griner’s case is a prime example. People try to diminish the reality that Black women do not often get prioritized in society. There are also a host of other people who are sometimes Black themselves, saying that asking people to protect Black women is ‘bogus’. These types of flippant comments are what increasingly make the case for Brittney Griner even more painful to watch unfold. Of course, we need to protect Black women, we always should, because they are often the most ignored, disrespected and ignored in society, and Griner’s story has repeatedly highlighted this theme.