Like many other Black folks who specialize in petty, I’ve spent the past couple weeks reveling in the Dead Sea-level saltiness which has come out of Nike’s choice to make Colin Kaepernick the face of its “Just Do It” 30th anniversary campaign.
Kaepernick’s decision to sit–and eventually, to kneel–during the national anthem has been a source of both inspiration and contention. Though reactions have come from across the globe, the greatest impact–for obvious reasons–has happened here in the (alleged) Land of the Free, where hundreds of professional, collegiate, and high school athletes have boldly followed in Kap’s footsteps. And of those hundreds, many have been subjected to consequences similar to his: temporary or permanent removal from their teams; the incessant spewing of racist vitriol; and underhanded efforts to derail their futures, to name a few.
For those who supported Kaepernick’s peaceful protest, and the reasoning behind it, Nike’s announcement was a major victory amidst the blackballing and bullshit he’s had to endure. Not everyone was celebrating, though. In just the first few hours following the release of their ad, the internet was flush with ceremonious displays of destruction, mostly from infuriated white folks.
Nike shirts cut into little pieces.
The trademark Nike “check” cut out of a pair of socks.
And of course, countless videos of shoes being set on fire; one especially smug individual burned all 8 pairs of his Nike sneakers in an outdoor fireplace.
I found myself tickled more than anything; for one, Nike already got your coins, beloved. Secondly, I can assure you that they won’t be hurting. At the end of the day, Nike is a business, not a social justice agency. They fully anticipated backlash–and possible lost revenue–when making their decision, so they are 100% not stunting you, or your petulance.
Go off with that lighter fluid, though, boo.
However, while the boycott bonfires are obnoxious, I’ve actually found myself more annoyed by many of the white folks who are actually on the right side of this issue. Those particular folks—as is their custom—have centered themselves, and their need to be seen as “one of the good ones,” above anything else.
Ally Cookie Chasers, as I like to call them, have always annoyed me. Between growing up in white areas; attending a PWI for both undergrad and grad school; and working in a field (social work) which is rife with white women wielding their savior complexes, I’ve had more than my fair share of experiences with white folks whose (allegedly) whole-hearted dedication to equity is less about uplifting the marginalized, and more about being patted on the back for their attempts to do so.
Their behavior is never acceptable, but it is infuriating in a completely different way when it comes as the Black community is attempting to navigate tragedy related to, and/or bold displays of, racism.
A brief summary of the usual course of events:
- Someone (eg, folks like BBQ Becky or Permit Patty, who use 911 like it’s OnStar for white fear) does the absolute fool in their behavior toward someone Black, because racist. Or someone (usually a police officer) kills a Black person, because racist.
- Backlash and protest come from within the Black community, along with a call to action which is inclusive of allies.
- Ally Cookie seekers devote 44.4 seconds to addressing the issue at hand; fiftylem minutes to boosting themselves for being woke and ~*social justice-minded*~ enough to know that what’s going on is wrong; and too often, 0 minutes to actually getting boots on the ground to work toward dismantling the systems that created the issue.
I saw it in performative disgust levied at the aforementioned BBQ Becky & Friends. In response to outrage over Beyoncé’s intentional selection of a Black photographer for her Vogue cover shoot. Amidst countless vows to never purchase Nike again.
Most recently, I saw it as white women clutched their (non-intersectional feminist) pearls at how Serena Williams was treated at the US Open, and the unabashedly racist cartoon depicting her response.
Each time, Ally Cookie Chasers (ACC) came out of the woodwork to loudly express their disdain, and to posture for Backpats and Biscotti. And unfortunately, each time, they got what they wanted from at least a few folks.
I was not one of them. I will never be one of them. Over here, the bakery is closed. Completely shut down.
I encourage occasional cookie-giving Black folks, non-Black POC, and non-performative white allies to shut it down as well, and to instead hand out “this is how you got it f*cked up” frittatas. Or some other food starting with f; you know what I’m doing here.
Most importantly, though, for any ACCs who’ve remained out of their feelings long enough to make it to this point in the post…
C’mere. Let’s chat.
Hello, beloveds. To be clear, the time for seeking ally cookies is never. Ever. But devoting your energy to seeking One of the Good Ones cookies amidst controversy–or tragedy–tied to racism, is a different level of trash. Use that energy to a) do the work–in a way which does not center you, your thoughts, or your needs; and b) call out and collect your folks who have clearly lost their minds.