There was a lot of racism on the Internet last week. But there is always a fair amount of racism on the web – peep the comment sections of any mainstream website when it puts up a piece on race or dares to talk about a person of colour – but it seems as though a particularly wide hell mouth was cracked open. What with George Zimmerman apologists, the anti-black vitriol of the Hunger Games tweetersthe responses of despicable nerds to Awkward Black Girl winning a Webbythe Liam Stacey fallout and reactions to yet another account of Metropolitan Police-on-black crime. It is difficult enough processing these events individually but when they pop up in clusters they hurtfully highlight what a mess we’re still in when it comes to getting along.

Unless I’m feeling deliriously masochistic or in the mood to give my blood pressure a concentrated boost, I do not read about race and racism online, pretty much for the same reason I wouldn’t pitch up to a complete stranger and begin discussing the finer points of my menstrual cycle. The arena of racial discussion is too fraught and personal to enter with just anyone. Unfortunately as much as there was going on last week I couldn’t help but stumble into race on blogs that I frequent, fall into it in comment sections, bump my head on opinion pieces, I came away battered and bruised and very upset. I refuse to link to the article that sent me into a tailspin of sighing, weeping and playing Zuma with the curtains drawn, but by early Thursday afternoon I’d had enough. I switched everything off, unplugged everything, took to my bed and full-on cried myself into a nap. I woke up a half hour later, lay very still in the daytime dark of my bedroom and thought about coping mechanisms. Things people of colour can do to help them deal with living in a world that has racism in it, things that can provide comfort when it gets to be too much.

Find like-minded thinkers

Similar to a favourite mix-tape, build up a hit list of writers whose work comforts in times of abject frustration brought on by racism. Son of Baldwin’s internet presence, his no nonsense pro-equality activism provides me with daily reassurance, as does Racialicious’ righteously intellectual analysis. I read The Crunk Feminist Collective when I need a hit of sisterhood and Yo, Is This Racist when I’m in the mood to watch prejudice get shouted down with good humour and serious intent. Your choices should be as personally resonate as your favourite song. Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens lives on my bedside table for re-read in times of need. I never miss a Gary Younge column in The Guardian. I’ve been talked down from high sadness by the words of James Baldwin, Frantz Fanon, Lola Young and bell hooks.

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  • Tonton Michel

    Cant stand the heat than get out the kitchen or end up like the poor student who snapped at FAU. It’s always best to deal with race with a clear and leveled mind, the subject can easily trigger emotions and irrational thinking in people who are too passionate, fearful, pained from a traumatic experience or slow witted. The stress can kill you just as easily as anything else and lead in the over indulgence with some coping mechanisms that do more harm than good.

  • Real Talk

    It amazes me how so many think black “hoodrats” and “ghetto mess” folks inspire racism when it’s so obvious that a black person could be a high-achieving, successful… hmmm, let’s think…


    … and still inspire racist thinking and behavior among non-blacks.

    Seriously folks, this is a presidential election year. Be smart: OF COURSE, there is a whole lotta racism on the rise.

    Why do you think that is?

    Whether you’re a black thug or a black president, what difference does that make to a racist?

    That said, thank you, Sara, for writing this thoughtful and calm post giving us some useful ways to cope with everyday racism.

    Don’t forget to vote come November!

  • edrina

    I know it isn’t easy but to start each person will have to stop internalizing all the negativity thrown your way. If you can imagine what slaves had to endure then what you experience on a day to day basis does not even compare!

    Don’t let someone’s racist attitude become your problem-it is their problem. Do you realize who actually feels inferior? (hint its not most black folks). If others really think that they are superior there would be no need or reason to systematically spew hate towards any group.

    Don’t we realize that others wonder how the hell can some black people achieve success when they do their best to hold us down. We are envied for our endurance, strength and abilities. It blows their minds that we are survivers. (a fact they will never admit).

    What amaze me is how stupid and dumb racist people are-the 1% have everyone below them jockeying for position to keep the eyes away from the real prize. SMH everyday!