Right-Wing Media Flaunted Their Racism in Smearing Brittney Griner’s Release

Brittney Griner had barely landed within the U.S. earlier than the right-wing media blasted the prisoner commerce settlement that secured her freedom in alternate for the discharge of Russian arms vendor Viktor Bout.

“To alternate the Service provider of Loss of life for this,” sneered GOP Home Chief Kevin McCarthy on CNN, “It’s made us weaker, it’s made Putin stronger.” Former President Donald Trump posted on Reality Social that Griner “overtly hates our Nation,” and Tucker Carlson stated Griner hated America as a result of she supported Black Lives Matter.

These statements present that main figures of the mainstream proper wing see Black individuals who assist equal rights as a “fifth column,” a harmful inner enemy destroying the nation from inside. It’s a harmful worldview that may solely be sustained by a refusal to acknowledge the humanity of others.

Griner’s freedom issues as a result of it means the best elected workplace within the U.S. acted as if the lifetime of a Black girl mattered. The conservatives who criticized the prisoner commerce expose that their imaginative and prescient of the U.S. has a double commonplace for Black life.

Proper-Wing Media Pit Griner Towards Whelan

“The Biden administration selected Brittney Griner over Paul Whelan,” Carlson said on his present, “The basketball participant over the Marine … there was solely room for one on the lifeboat and the Marine obtained left behind.” He went to attract a cartoonish distinction between them, saying Whelan is a Trump voter and is “paying the worth for that,” and that Griner “despises America.”

Carlson and right-wing pundits have stoked white grievance when reporting on Griner’s detention and launch. They painting the U.S. because the battlefield of a race warfare during which Democrats and “cultural elites” are attempting to “replace whites” to be able to lock in political energy. Within the zero-sum battle, the theme of white victimhood have to be continually refreshed with new examples. Cue Griner vs. Whelan.

The Griner-Bout prisoner swap was twisted by the precise into supposed proof that whites are the actual victims of racism. Griner is a Black lesbian, a WNBA participant who goes abroad throughout low season to earn cash. In July 2020, on the peak of the George Floyd protests, Griner said, “I’m not going to be on the market for the nationwide anthem.”

Whelan is a straight, white male, former Marine and cop who labored as a safety officer for a U.S.-based automaker.

In February 2022, Griner was arrested in Russia for lower than a gram of cannabis oil, prescribed by an Arizona physician. She was sentenced to 9 years.

In December 2018, Whelan was arrange by FSB, the Russian Federal Safety Service, basically the brand new KGB, with a USB containing “categorized data,” and sentenced to 16 years. Each are pawns in a worldwide energy sport. However just one is seen as actually harmless by the precise wing.

Now, if one seems on the info, it’s clear that Russia took Griner hostage to extract concessions. Putin is losing the war on Ukraine and is desperate to indicate dominance. It was a PR stunt. It’s an empty act of bravado by a frontrunner whose hubris led him to wage a warfare that sparked world blowback and uncovered the weak point of Russia’s navy.

However the U.S. proper routinely abandons info for the sake of an ideology that may incite their base. Racial stereotypes are the warped lens by which Griner’s life was devalued. The primary is the “Black prison.” The second, the Nat Turner stereotype the place Black individuals are “indignant, crazed, revengeful brutes with a bloodthirsty hatred for whites.” The 2 stereotypes overlap in right-wing rhetoric. For instance, Republican Scott Perry tweeted how Biden “traded an enemy who smuggles weapons and helps shoot Individuals for an American who smuggles medicine and shoots basketballs.” Comply with that with the various conservatives calling her a “traitor” from Donald Trump Jr.’s post the place he says, “We get an terrible America hating WNBA participant,” or Trump Sr.’s assertion that she “overtly hates our Nation,” to Carlson’s rant on her BLM-influenced protest of the nationwide anthem: “She hates the nation a lot, she doesn’t need to hear its anthem. That’s the type of place that will get you rewarded by Joe Biden. Hate America! Good!”

Dig one layer deeper and the implicit concept is the Black freedom battle is a menace to the U.S. By inference, Black individuals who protest are the fifth column, an inner enemy.

Brittney’s Life Issues

The appropriate’s obsession with loyalty to white supremacy has made the sports activities discipline right into a political battlefield. Brittney Griner is the newest Black athlete in a protracted listing that goes again many years to be devalued, threatened or punished for bearing witness. In his 2020 e-book, Policing Black Athletes, creator Vernon L. Andrews, who teaches at Chico State College, factors out the contradiction of sports activities franchises during which the homeowners are principally white, the gamers principally Black and Latinx and plenty of followers are conservative whites. It’s a unstable combine for athletes of shade — who, in the event that they stand in opposition to racism, are branded traitors.

“He’s a traitor,” said an nameless NFL exec about quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee through the nationwide anthem. Extra nameless administration adopted, saying “Fuck that man,” and “He has no respect for the nation.” However Kaepernick was not alone. Maya Moore of the WNBA additionally protested police brutality and police walked out of her video games; the Minneapolis police union chief led a backlash and publicly scorned her. And 20 years earlier than them, within the ‘90s, basketball participant Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf refused to face for the anthem, and at different occasions recited the Quran to make an announcement in opposition to racism. He was traded and his profession fizzled. Lengthy earlier than them was Muhammad Ali, who select to not struggle within the Vietnam Warfare and famously said, “No Vietcong ever referred to as me n*****.” He was banned from boxing for years. And in 1968, Tommie Smith and John Carlos held up black-gloved fists within the Black Energy salute whereas being awarded medals on the Olympics. They confronted demise threats once they returned to the U.S.

The explanation Brittney Griner issues is as a result of, as Martin Luther King Jr. said in his Mountaintop speech, “Someplace, I learn that the greatness of America is the precise to protest for proper.” In refusing to face for the nationwide anthem throughout marches in opposition to racist policing, she turned an instance of that proper.

When the Biden administration traded her for Bout, it introduced dwelling an American who lived the nation’s ostensible beliefs. Nonetheless, the precise wing, so defeated by its personal racism, can solely see her as somebody who betrays their conservative imaginative and prescient of a nation that solely has room in it for straight, white Christians.

Brittney Griner isn’t a traitor. She is our sister. She is a job mannequin. And he or she deserves our solidarity.