Becoming a mother is a huge undertaking even in the most ideal circumstances. Khloé Kardashian has embraced this role in the thick of a huge cheating scandal, with millions of people tracking her every move and popping off in her Instagram and Twitter mentions whenever they see fit. It’s a lot to deal with, but such is life when you’re a celebrity. However, one thing she absolutely shouldn’t have to deal with is racism directed at her infant daughter, True Thompson. On Thursday, Kardashian tweeted her frustration about racists (of the troll variety) who post negative comments about her daughter’s skin tone on social media, and then delete them after she responds.
As other people chimed in, Kardashian insisted that people of different ethnicities and skin tone deserve to be celebrated instead of criticised because “our beauty is in our difference.” She managed to turn her frustrations into a more meaningful conversation about embracing diversity, standing up for what you believe in, and holding people accountable when they’re being unkind. However, there was one word that Khloé didn’t use that she should have: racism.
Baby True is biracial. Her father is NBA player Tristan Thompson, who is Black. As such, True is notably darker than her mom. Because the comments have been deleted, we can’t know for sure exactly what was said that triggered Khloé’s tweets. But I don’t need to see them to understand how anti-Blackness works. The idea that darker skin is less beautiful is a nearly universal symptom of anti-Black racism. It is evident in various cultures around the world, including ours. That so many people feel comfortable criticising the skin tone of an infant (regardless of her parents being famous) on a public platform is evidence of how pervasive this way of thinking is. While it’s admirable that Kardashian is standing up for her daughter, it’s important that we name the things that seek to tear us down.
The truth is that True is going to experience racism in her life. She already has, and she isn’t even old enough to know it. The best thing that both of her parents can do for her is be honest about the fact that she will have to deal with more than internet haters in her lifetime. There are going to be critics who go after more than her style and beauty looks. True lives in a world where her skin tone will always work against her, and unfortunately, her mom will always have to defend her.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think that all of the trolls are deleting their comments. I think it’s more likely that Kardashian's followers see these comments and report them as hateful — which they are — getting them deleted as a result. That these comments seem to disappear into the ether after True's mother has seen them is a silver lining: There are good people online who feel just as strongly about racism as Kardashian does. But regardless, this seems like a good time to remind the reality star: Never feed the trolls.