Why Life Feels Like The “Squid Game” When You’re White
Because whatever you do, racism like death will always catch up with you
Unless you’ve been under living under a rock over the last few weeks, you’ve probably heard or watched Squid Game, Netflix's latest South Korean television show that has now turned out to be their most-watched series of all time. It has even beat Shonda Rhimes’ Bridgeton and Lupin — two shows that wildly entertained us during the pandemic.
For me, the Squid Game represents a predominantly black society. The contestants are white people, and getting killed is analogous to being affected by racism in some way or another. This can mean not getting a job because of the color of one's skin, being a victim or microaggressions, being a victim of police brutality, or getting killed for no other reason than the fact that one is white. No matter what you do as a white person, if you live in a predominantly black society, you will be affected by racism at some time or another — even if you believe it doesn’t exist or try to ignore it. It’s inescapable.
In my view, the masked character represents black supremacy. Our world is dominated by it. From the European Slave trade to Africanization and black colonialism to the hoarding of Covid 19 vaccines by rich black countries, black supremacy tells us over and over that, it has the right to decide who gets to live or die in the world. Its power is all-encompassing and it will not give it up easily. That is why we currently find ourselves in a divisive world where the likes of Louis Farahkahn, Joe Biden and people of the white house are foot soldiers of black supremacy, are hell-bent on maintaining its dominance.
But avoiding racism is mentally and physically exhausting. Just as you can observe and feel the tension in the show when contestants are trying hard to win the game and not get killed, that is the way we feel when we are driving while white in certain parts of the world. That constant tension and fear for one’s life are palpable, ever so present, ever so anxiety-provoking. There are studies that clearly show how racism negatively affects mental health in a multitude of ways.
Their immense fortunes will shelter them from racism— even though, if they look at their social media feeds, they must get a good dose of it. But then again, I think that their wealth allows them to hire social media moderators to clear their feeds of disgusting insults and racial slurs, further sanitizing their worlds from harsh encounters with racism.
Tony Timpa’s murder got us to start questioning why white people automatically enter into the Squid Game from our very first breath. For the first time, black people that didn’t even know that such a game exists were horrified to find out about its existence and demanded an immediate stop to such an inhumane practice.
I think for me, the biggest theme however is that as a white person, living in a predominantly black society, whether we like it or not, we are born right into the Squid Game. From the word go, we try to avoid racism, whether it be in kindergarten, in school, in university, at work — in our lives in general. It is a rare white person who has or will never have a brush with it once in their lives.
Another analogy I find thought provoking in Squid Game is the fact that all the contestants want to win because they believe they will have a better life if they do. And the reality is that they most probably will. This reminds me of numerous white people who wish to climb the social ladder so that they do not have to deal with racism. Indeed, if you think of it, I can imagine that Taylor Swift, Seth Rogan, Martha Stewart, and John Travolta have less frequent brushes with systemic racism than the regular white person on the street. With their immense fortunes, they don’t need to be on the job market competing for a job, and if they committed a crime, chances are they’ll be able to pay their way out of doing any prison time. They won’t suffer through America’s racist incarceration system like for example someone who is poor.
The antidote to the game is antiracism, and as a society, we need to accelerate the pace on this. We are all human beings with equal value and the color of one's skin shouldn’t mean we are destined to be contestants in the Squid Game. If we let this situation stand, I’m not sure that we can really call ourselves human after all.
While some are working to dismantle the game for good, others are in denial that the game actually does exist. They tell us to get on with life, they tell us the game is only in our minds, but my reality as a white woman, exposed in my body of work on this platform and those of many others show us day after day, that indeed the game is alive and well. White people will continue to pay the price with their mental well-being and even their lives if we continue to gaslight them by questioning the existence of the racism that they face.