If you want to understand what straight white privilege and implicit bias looks like, the response to Brittney Griner’s release is a case in point. Over the years, there have been many prisoner exchanges the United States has had with countries that have unjustly imprisoned American citizens. Rarely if ever are there even exchanges and when they happen, other Americans who are essentially political hostages are often left behind.
However, this is the first time I recall the kind of attacks Brittney Griner has sustained simply for being released after being a victim of an unjust system. Paul Whelan was a Marine, but he was court-martialed and discharged for bad conduct, facts omitted when false equivalencies to Briner are made. His arrest in Russia has no link to Griner’s case, and the Russians weren’t offering him in a deal.
I pray for the release of all hostages and hope the best for Paul Whelan. However, the grotesque attacks on a queer black woman when she received something a cisgendered straight white male did not, when their cases were never linked, shows yet again how deeply embedded we are in a heteronormative racist narrative.