Caution: I am very blunt in this blog. If you cannot take the heat, kindly move on...
Were you shocked by the "Alabama brawl" because I was not; not even by Black people coming to the defense of the co-captain from the Harriet, II, as well as those who were bystanders. Every Black man that I asked said, "Yes, I would've helped them." Not one would have stood by and watched as the co-captain was assaulted and battered. If you were surprised that a group of White men jumped that single Black man, then you are living in a bubble. How many times do Black people need to tell you all that these incidences frequently occur?
We, Black people, just have technology on our sides now. Some of you can see it in real time as we do from the videos shown, however, many of you still deny that racism, even systemic racism exists. The rest of you justify these thuggish acts against Black people with comments such as, "He shouldn't have moved their boats," though you are unaware of the unspoken rules or courtesy given to one another in the boating world. Not to mention, the fact that when you lay hands on a Black person in 2023, you better be ready for the outcome. At least, that is how we feel in the Black community.
So, why were so many black people cheering as the white men were given a good beat down? I saw this question repeatedly on social media. It is because, it's about time! When you walk through life without dealing with this type of unfairness or violence toward you due to you skin color, you lack the comprehension and understanding about how it feels. Yes, I've been through it and once it turned into a physical altercation. Admittedly, it did not end well for the White women who felt entitled enough to TRY to throw hands toward me. You saw the white chair right? OK. This behavior occurred another time in a former place of employment from systemic racism to microaggressions, and a doctorate degree did not save me from it. It was so bad at one point that I coined the term, "White Girl Syndrome" because I noticed certain and consistent behaviors that White women displayed that protected them from the consequences of their behaviors, (i.e., victim mentality, whining, and tears), including police involvement or racism. Today, we call the behavior being a "Karen." You all have seen this behavior numerous times on video with them on the phone with the police complaining about others, especially Black men. When the White woman in the purple shirt from the Alabama brawl was arrested for her assault and battery toward the co-captain, many Black women smiled and said, "Good," including me because she needed to be held accountable for her actions.
I do not need to explain racism, that's obvious. However, we can apply the behavior seen in the brawl not only to past history but how Black people are still mistreated in 2023, (i.e., employment, housing, and police brutality). This brawl was a prime example of White entitlement including the fact that the aggressors were given only misdemeanor charges and no charges for federal hate crimes. If 9 Black men jumped 1 White man, the criminal charges would have been worse for the Black men. No need to debate this point, we all know it is true because the criminal justice system has never been equal between Whites and Blacks, nor has it been fair.
In the case of the Alabama brawl, millions of people initially observed the Black men (only) in hand cuffs as the White men casually walked to their boats, however, we don't want to talk about that point... But, we are discussing it in this blog because White people are so used to turning the other cheek and getting away with bad behavior that walking away after their assault and battery toward the co-captain was normal for them. That is "White entitlement" or the societal advantages and privileges that White individuals experience due to their racial identity. It is rooted in historical and systemic factors that perpetuate unequal power dynamics and opportunities based on race. This is also how racism manifested in this situation, as evidenced by all of the White people from the pontoon boats walking away as if nothing happened. Not to mention, the fact that they ignored a huge riverboat attempting to dock in its designated space with over 200 people on it. Here is what I want you to learn about White entitlement:
How White Entitlement Hurts Black People?
If you DO NOT believe that this behavior occurs to Black people, then you are sadly mistaken, and we are tired of it. White entitlement can have various negative impacts on Black individuals and communities due to its role in perpetuating systemic racism and unequal power dynamics. Some of the ways that White entitlement harms Black people include the following:
After reading this section, you should have a better understanding about why the Black people helped the co-captain, then we all laughed, cheered, celebrated, created funny memes, and etc after watching the videos of what happened. Forget the disclaimer, "I do not condone violence" because sometimes, we all must defend ourselves. Besides, everyone likes it when the bully on the playground gets his or her ass kicked. Or in this case, the entitled White men and women who jumped the co-captain. Believe me, their violent choice was not only something they have been wanting to do to a Black person, because it was far too easy for them to be violent toward the co-captain (Cue: "Try that in a Small Town"), but they were raised with this mentality. They could have killed the co-captain! They had no remorse or empathy, and had zero issues with harming another person. THIS is the mentality that Black people have dealt with for decades from racist White people and live with daily.
Hello DeSantis, that is Black History, which cannot be erased or viewed as a benefit to Black people...
In the case of the brawl, I think someone neglected to remind the White folks that it is 2023, ironically, in Montgomery, Alabama. (Cue: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
White Entitlement and Mental Health
White entitlement can have implications for mental health, both for those who benefit from it and for those who are marginalized by it. The psychological impact on mental health for Black people is due to the constant exposure to White entitlement and systemic racism on Black individuals, including stress, anxiety, and feelings of marginalization. The ramifications of White entitlement on Black people is typically coined, "paranoid" or being overly "sensitive" about what we perceive as racial injustice. That is how society, especially some White people, make themselves feel better about what they observe and know to be true about White entitlement or privilege.
Have you ever asked a White person why they ignore racism or White privilege? I have plenty of times and it has been the same response; either, "You have more privileges than I do a a Black person," or "I do not see color." Both responses are wrong and allows them to ignore the racial divide and problems within our society. Although some White individuals actively work against racism and are allies in efforts to promote equality and social justice, for many of them, it evokes feelings of guilt or responsibility, especially if individuals recognize that they benefit from systemic advantages. Some might choose to avoid these feelings by ignoring the issue altogether. Racism has been normalized over time; some individuals might view it as an unfortunate but unchangeable aspect of life, leading them to accept it rather than challenge it. For others, it makes them uncomfortable and emotionally charged and they avoid these conversations to prevent discomfort or conflict. Allow me to make you uncomfortable:
For Those Benefiting from White Entitlement:
For Marginalized Individuals Impacted by White Entitlement:
How to Overcome White Entitlement
Black people never had the privilege of being entitled, which is why Affirmative Action was so important. No whatsboutisms for this one because Black people are privileged. Introspection, communication, and education can challenge and improve White entitlement. In doing so, take the time to reflect upon your own experiences and biases and challenge them, educate yourself about the history of racism to gain a deeper understanding, listen to the stories and experiences of Black people with empathy and a willingness to learn, rather than asserting your perspective, dismantle your ignorance, engage in uncomfortable conversations, overcome your defensiveness to grow, amplify the voices of marginalized individuals, work to combat racism and the systems that perpetuate racial inequality, support policies geared toward racial justice, surround yourself with diverse perspectives and individual from different backgrounds, acknowledge mistakes, continue to learn, and promote diversity. Overcoming White entitlement is a journey that requires dedication, humility, and openness to change. It's about recognizing your role in a larger system and actively working to contribute to positive change and equality for all.
My Exhausting Conclusion
A White man said to me, "What about all of the Black people who harm White people?" "Did we make that viral in the media?" This is the type of response and behavior that correlates with this blog. He turned the Alabama brawl into a "whataboutism" or, a counteraccusation along with the "victim" mentality which is the typical behavior of a White person with White entitlement. He saw the videos as we all did, but wanted to debate about the history and percentage of Black violence toward White people in America.
My Response: I need you to check American history 1st, then address me with that same non-sense mentality.
I am all for open conversations about the Alabama brawl as well as White entitlement; however, I have my limits. Until White people, such as the man above, recognize the existence of White entitlement as being a type of privilege, we cannot foster an understanding, addressing systemic racism, and promote a more just and inclusive society. White individuals must acknowledge one's own privileges, challenge their discriminatory behaviors, and actively support efforts to dismantle systemic racism. Moving toward a more equitable society involves dismantling structures that perpetuate White entitlement and is a crucial step toward fostering a more just and equitable society.
The mental health implications of White entitlement are factual, empirically proven, and clearly impacts all of us. If you benefit from White entitlement, use self-reflection and education about privilege to challenge your biases. For Black individuals, seek support through therapy, our community, and advocacy to help address the mental health challenges stemming from White entitlement. Ultimately, dismantling the harmful effects of White entitlement can positively impact the mental health of Black people. We need a break!