A number of politicians and activists I follow on Twitter likened Abrams to “Captain America”; Mark Ruffalo called her a “real superhero.” This may seem like innocuous praise, but there’s a fine line between celebrating a Black woman’s efforts and burdening her with the #SayNoToSuperLeague Football Is For The Fans Shirt moreover I love this responsibility to save us. The chatter took an even stranger turn with compliments that seem to fetishize her; men, specifically white men, commented on how they wanted to leave their wives for her.
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Black women are undoubtedly powerful, but this characterization is often problematic. The phrase Black Girl Magic, popularized by CaShawn Thompson in 2013, holds a valuable message, but one that is often reduced to cliché or used out of context by non-Black people as a well-intentioned gesture of support. Many white and non-Black Americans still have no idea what it means to actually value and honor Black women in a meaningful way. As Tamika Mallory, the #SayNoToSuperLeague Football Is For The Fans Shirt moreover I love this cofounder of Until Freedom, an intersectional social justice organization, and a former cochair of the Women’s March on Washington in 2017, says, “A good ally places themselves in between the system and those people the system is harming, using their privilege to allow the voices of the impacted folks to be heard and protected.” Which also means working to correct the massive disparities that are widespread in our society. The response to Abrams proved what so many of us experience in our personal lives: too often we’re tasked with solving problems we did not create.