Sam Smith is clapping back after Internet Outrage accused him of “whitesplaining” racism after he shared a story about being witness to a friend’s racist incident.
In a series of Tweets, Smith shared how the incident left him “speechless” and expressed an honest need to do more:
Pretty straightforward, right? Well, not so fast.
This being the internet in 2016, Twitter trolls (and more than one intern writing a click-baity headline) decided to take Smith to task for “whitesplaining” racism.
If you’ve never heard the term before, Urban Dictionary defines “whitesplaining” as “The paternalistic lecture given by Whites toward a person of color defining what should and shouldn’t be considered racist, while obliviously exhibiting their own racism.”
Didn’t see any of this there? Yeah, us neither.
Smith’s shocked response to experiencing racism inspired this:
…and probably a dozen other articles that couldn’t wait to attack Sam Smith for actually saying something about racism, as inarticulate as it was (though we admit both of those were kinda funny). The Internet Outrage meter was reaching threat level orange, so Smith responded on Instagram:
“For the record, I was merely sharing an experience I had in the hope it would draw attention to ridiculous it is to be racist in 2016. This is not about me in any way, it’s about a deep rooted issue we have in our society that should now be extinct.”
“I don’t profess to know or remotely understand what it means to be on the receiving end of racial abuse, but having been bullied my whole life for being gay, what I do know is that it is wrong and completely unacceptable. Here’s to people being allowed to be people.”
Look, white people are far less likely to experience an act of overt racism firsthand, so we can understand how it would be genuinely shocking for them. For most POC it ceased to become shocking to us sometime shortly after we found out there was no Santa Claus, so we get it.
But, honestly, if we’re not going to give any wiggle room for growth for a white person who is trying to be an ally, we may as well just all hang it up and quit trying.
Smith will probably think twice before he says anything about racism in the future if he does at all, and that’s a real bummer.