The Breakdown With Shaun King: The True Costs of White Fragility & Toxic Masculinity

Shaun King & Kendi K
Jul 7, 2020 - 5:27

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Masks have been deemed weak and optional by a frightening number of conservatives in America. They have made wearing a mask a left-wing belief. A safety precaution has been twisted into a dangerous political statement. 

This level of naivety seems to go hand in hand with the white supremacy ideals that pervade this country. Not only are they both unfounded, but extremely dangerous ways of thinking.

In the latest example, Daniel Maples, a white man, can be seen in a video yelling and screaming at an elderly woman who works at Costco. Her offense was asking him to wear a mask while he shopped. He completely loses his temper and begins screaming at her. His words, tone and body language are violent. He is yelling in the face of this elderly woman, putting her at risk for contracting the coronavirus. 

With cases spiking in more than half the states across the country, the dangers of contracting COVID-19 are higher than ever. Maples’s white privilege and entitlement not only put this woman, who was simply doing her job as an essential worker and trying to protect her life, at risk but could cost others their lives too.

The number of instances of white men and women calling the police on people of color for committing no crime or offense is exceptionally high, and is only now being flagged as dangerous. 

A recent instance involves Amy Cooper, a white woman who called the police on a Black bird watcher in Central Park who asked her to put a leash on her dog, as park rules require. While speaking to emergency responders after calling 911, Cooper claimed an African American man was threatening her. She was explicit in her inclusion of his race. She knew that his race was enough to incriminate him and demand her protection. At that moment, she recognized her white privilege and abused it to the fullest extent, just as Maples did. 

Not only did Maples use his white privilege, but he also evoked his male privilege. Armed with an ingrained belief in his gender and racial superiority, he yelled in the face of a woman whom he was keenly aware he held systemic power over. This display of power is despicable. 

Since the video of Maples went viral, he was fired from his job at Ted Todd Insurance. This is not enough. White privilege, especially white male privilege, pervades America. It has cost people their lives for decades and must be recognized as the murderous force that it is. 

Shaun breaks down this viral video and its dangerous implications in today’s episode of The Breakdown. 

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