Accountability is like kryptonite to whiteness

OPINION: White people are always all for accountability from others, but when it comes to accountability for themselves and their actions, they turn themselves into victims. 

whiteness, accountability,
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Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Racist trolls from all across the internet are currently overrunning the comment section of my personal website, my newsletter and all my social media accounts, and they are angry with me because I have dared to speak openly and honestly about the Sarah Jane Comrie, aka “Citi Bike Karen” incident. 

Side note: We really should be calling these women “Carolyn” or “Carolyns” since the behavior they are emulating when they pull these stunts is akin to that of Carolyn Bryant, the woman whose lie got Emmett Till lynched. This type of behavior is dangerous and can lead to physical harm or even death for Black people, and we need to be calling it out every time we see it, but I digress. 

They are all up in arms in defense of Sarah Jane Comrie, a woman whose behavior evidenced in the 90-second video was reminiscent of so many white women before her who have weaponized their whiteness and their tears to create drama, problems and even death for Black people in the past. 

The racist mob has tried to make the narrative be about everything but Sarah Jane Comrie’s behavior in the video — even though it’s her behavior that everyone is upset about. 

There is a reason for this. 

Accountability is like kryptonite to whiteness. Whiteness does not like being held accountable. Whiteness doesn’t like seeing white people being held accountable. 

You will keep in mind that any time a Black person is in the news after being killed by a white police officer or vigilante, the racist white trolls come out in droves to hold them “accountable” posthumously. They will come up with every reason why the white person was right. They will dredge up incidents from the victim’s past that don’t even relate to the current situation. They will say things like “He should have complied” or ask “Why did he run?” as if any of that is worthy of an actual death sentence. 

We’ve witnessed this recently when Daniel Penny killed Jordan Neely on a subway in New York City. Jordan’s past crimes and mental health incidents have been brought to light as justification for why Daniel Penny should have killed him. 

Never mind that none of those things happened on that subway that day, and never mind that neither Daniel Penny nor anyone on the train that day knew of these things before they were put into the media. Jordan Neely needs to be accountable! He could have hurt someone!

Never mind that Jordan Neely was not posing an active threat to anyone on that train. In the eyes of these racists, he is the one who needs to be held accountable, and Daniel Penny is some sort of hero who needs to be saved from those calling for him to be held accountable in Neely’s death. 

The same thing is happening with Sarah Jane Comrie. 

Every excuse in the book is being given for why she would suddenly start screaming out there on the street when no one was even touching her. She was tired! She was six months pregnant! She just wanted to go home. 

Meanwhile, those same people are calling the five Black boys “thugs” and accusing them of “assaulting” Sarah Jane Comrie when the video clearly shows none of them laid a hand on her. They weren’t even raising their voices. She was. 

The video going viral is causing Sarah Jane Comrie to be called out for her behavior, but in the eye of the online racists, everything that is happening to her is my fault because I dared to write about her and talk about it openly on social media. In their eyes, I am the reason she and her family have had to go into hiding. In their eyes, I am the reason she is now on leave from her job as they review the incident. Everything is my fault, according to the angry racist mob. Sarah Jane Comrie is the innocent and delicate white flower they are protecting. 

This is how whiteness works. This is how white fragility works. Whiteness is blinding — literally — and it makes it hard for white people to see the fault in their own actions. 

The truth is white people and Black people are never going to view that video in the same way. There are white people who can’t fathom why we would call her actions “racist.’ After all, she didn’t say anything racist, so how can it be racist? Why do y’all make everything about race?!

Keep in mind that white people invented the entire concept and construct of race as a way of keeping themselves on top. They have been historically quite happy to let things be about race when it means they are going to come out on top of something. 

Race only started being an issue for them when accountability came into play. 

And also notice that white people — who are never victims of racism themselves — are always the ones who want to tell the actual victims of racism what racism is. 

How can you define a thing you have never experienced?

They don’t understand the history of white women doing this over time, and that is by design. 

The anti-woke laws being passed in Florida and other states all but guarantee that this is going to become more of the norm. 

They won’t even allow the accurate history of the United States to be taught because when that happens, young white children will learn the horrors and atrocities that their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents inflicted on Black people for years in this country. 

The laws are designed so that white people should not be made to feel guilty about things that happened in the history of this country. 

They are legislating anti-accountability. 

Even the attorney for Sarah Jane Comrie is participating in this to a degree. He has gone on several news shows and claimed he would be suing people for “defamation” if they have called her a “Karen,” or said she is “racist” or accused her of trying to steal the bike from the boys in the video. 

I’m not sure how much he knows about First Amendment law, but he would never win litigation of that type. 

The truth is, people talking about Sarah Jane Comrie didn’t defame her. 

She defamed herself with her actions in that video. 

There was no reason for her to escalate the situation in the manner that she did. She could have easily resolved it by showing her receipt and comparing notes with the young man. 

Instead, her attorney has put out a narrative that suggests they used force to keep her from taking the bike, and he has let the unruly racist mob do the rest of his work for him. 

Whiteness protects whiteness, after all. 

We cannot allow the obfuscation to continue. We cannot allow whiteness to continue to change the narrative as a means to avoid accountability. 

We have to keep calling these Carolyns out. We have to keep calling out every instance of racism we see. 

Yes, it stings and burns their skin, but ultimately, that’s good for them. 

Maybe one day they will actually learn something.

Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.