- A new Instagram account @OverheardWhileBlack is showing examples of casual racism and micro-aggressions.
- Created by Autumn Callender Lewis, the account’s mission is to “normalize calling out racism and to educate those unaware of their privilege.”
- The account collects stories from real people and shares them anonymously.
A new Instagram account is taking casual racism and micro-aggressions to task using a well-worn format similar to the popular @OverheardNY and @OverheardLA accounts.
Earlier this week, publicist Autumn Callender Lewis began to collect stories from fellow publicists on her Instagram stories, titled #OverheardWhileBlackInPR. Yesterday, she opened a new account @OverheardWhileBlack, posting each micro-aggression independently. “I was told they understand the struggles of being black because they wrote a research paper about it in college,” one post reads, while another says, “When you talk, you sound more threatening.”
One of the most egregious examples of casual racism: “You don’t look anything like what you sound like on the phone. You’re so well-spoken.”
Regarding the recent protests: “Can you stop posting so much racial stuff on Twitter? It’s making my friends think you’re going to be violent. Well because all of those people are violent.”
In her first post on the account, Lewis wrote, “@overheardwhileblack was created to normalize calling out racism and to educate those unaware of their privilege. All submissions will remain anonymous.” In case that’s not clear enough, she hopes that people who benefit from white privilege will follow the account, learn why these micro-aggressions are offensive, and become more sensitive communicators. As so many have learned this week, there is no such thing as being “not racist.”
As Ibram X. Kendi writes in his book, How To Be An Antiracist, there is no such thing as being “not racist.” In fact, he writes, “We can be a racist one minute and an antiracist the next.”
“What’s the problem with being ‘not racist’?” Kendi writes. “It is a claim that signifies neutrality: ‘I am not a racist, but neither am I aggressively against racism.’ But there is no neutrality in the racism struggle. The opposite of ‘racist’ isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘antiracist.’ What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an antiracist.”
Already, the account has over a thousand followers, and it’s quickly growing. Lewis accepts submissions via DM and will post them anonymously to the account. She also accepts questions to her personal account, @autumncallender.
Women’s Health has reached out to her and will update this story accordingly.
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