I don’t normally share my thoughts on the highlights I post, but the author of The Parabale of Sha’Carri Richardson, Kitanya Harrison, wrote the hell out of this piece. Harrison eloquently warns on the problems with inactive empathy and toxic support- those who put pressure on people who clearly need support and reprieve. Here are some of the points that stood out to me.
On what empathy and support actually looks like for those in need
Richardson told us through deed and then words that she was not in the right frame of mind to be under the continued scrutiny that came with her win at the trials. Although the reasons she gave made it understandable to any person with empathy, she committed an act of incredible self-sabotage. For all the talk of the need to show Richardson “compassion” and “grace,” the following sentiment never gained much traction: Perhaps the kindest response to Richardson’s dilemma might have been to advise her to withdraw from the spotlight quietly and grieve the loss of her mother privately, in circumstances where she could focus on her emotional needs. Instead, a vociferous “Let Her Run!” campaign started, and everyone from Drake to President Biden jumped on the bandwagon. Richardson’s new fans wanted their redemption arc, and they wanted it right away.The Parable of Sha’Carri Richardson by Kitanya Harrison
On the perils of toxic positivity and expectations
A lot has rightfully been said about the damage Richardson’s detractors villainizing her may be doing to her psyche. Not enough has been said about the toll it may be taking for her to try to meet the demand that she perform the labors of a hero’s journey on an international stage.
Pressure gets to Richardson, and piling the expectation that she topple a world record that had seemed unassailable for three decades on top of her grief and other personal stressors was destined for a poor outcome. Her “haters” didn’t orchestrate those circumstances; people who were meant to be in her corner did.
If you enjoyed the highlights, please read the full article here.
- Author: Kitanya Harrison
- Full Title: The Parable of Sha’Carri Richardson
- Read: Medium