Societal issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia regularly flood headlines of news outlets and social media platforms, making it nearly unbelievable for anyone to vow complete ignorance of any of them. Yet plenty of people seem surprised when they witness intolerance firsthand.
Well-meaning singer Sam Smith is an unfortunate example of this. The white pop star recently tweeted about the racist experience of a black friend in London. The intention of calling out the story in and of itself is fine, important even, but the way he framed it is what got him into trouble. He referred to the incident as a shocking and rare occurrence, when in fact everyday racism still holds a firm grip on society (as it always has).