Brittney Griner has been inspiring the world by being true to herself
"When you're confident, you're going to do things a little differently. You're not going to be hesitant to take a shot, you're not going to be hesitant to make a certain move.." — Brittney Griner
They have expressed thanks to God she's home and safe, wondered about the prioritization of her emotional wellness, declaring its about time, and no matter who they swapped her for, it wasn't going to seem fair because of her crime..
Alternately, there are just as many who are disappointed and frustrated that she was exchanged over other prisoners. They suggested it's not a "fair" trade due to geopolitics, her mouth got her in trouble, she shouldn't have broken the law, and more. One person even suggested Griner identifying as a lesbian was enough cause to keep her in prison.
According to the Wall Street Journal who offered a timeline of Griner's detainment and release, she was convicted of "smuggling" 0.7 grams of hashish oil into Russia while on a basketball trip for a Russian team. She was sentenced to 9 years in prison and fined 1,000,000 rubles ($15,996.17 USD as of today). At the time of her release, she served 10 months.
Many expressed outrage in comparison to Audrey Lorber. CBS news reported Lorber was a 19 year-old American convicted in Russia for "attempting to import" 19 grams of marijuana while on vacation with her family in 2019. She was fined 15,000 rubles ($235 USD as of today), credited for time served and released after a two months detention stay. Lorber was allowed to travel independently back to the US.
This is a vital comparison and speaks to a deeper issue of how Black people are portrayed in the media and the efforts taken to search for them when they have gone missing.
In less than 72 hours after getting release, memes started circulating showing individuals with male features walking suggesting Griner has become more male-like since her incarceration. Why is this funny?
From my perspective, there is nothing funny about the memes and speaks volumes about how these individuals and groups view Griner's traumatic experience.
It is impossible to truly see, support and attempt to keep Black women psychologically safe if you are mocking our painful experiences.
This can include not speaking up for us when it’s deserved or even sharing a meme adding to society’s attempts to make us a mockery. It’s low. It’s defining.
For Black people joining in the wave of memes, it’s your truth masked by suggestions that you care because you are married to a Black women, have Black sisters, have Black daughters, etc.
What's been most interesting to witness is the number of Black women expressing their disagreement and preference for her to stay in Russia. I'm sure this isn't because they are trained in negotiations, believe the time fit the crime, or have an in-depth understanding of the situation.