Why The Kayak-Eating Bear Is The Blackest Thing I've Ever Seen This Week

YouTube screenshot via Mary Maley
YouTube screenshot via Mary Maley

By now, I'm sure many of you have seen the footage of a bear in Alaska using a woman's kayak to floss his teeth, ignoring the woman's hysterical pleas to leave the kayak alone. And, if you haven't watched yet, please do.

Unbeknownst to the woman recording this — and, likely, unbeknownst to the bear — this two minute and 30 second long clip is a perfect synopsis of the Black American's experience in America.


To wit…

1. When the footage begins, the bear wasn't in Brooklyn and he wasn't standing in line at a Chick-A-Fil. Nope. He was just minding his own damn bear business in his natural habitat. You know who else was minding his own damn business in his natural habitat before some White person decided to bother him? Kunta Kinte, that's who.

2. And, just like Kunta Kinte, the bear was probably offended by the woman calling him out of his name. He's a bear, sure, but I'm sure his name wasn't "Bear." He actually looks like his name would be "Maxwell." But she didn't even bother to take the time to learn his name. Because all bears look alike, apparently.

3. For all we know, kayak meat could be to bears what ribs and collard greens were to Black people.

4. Even bears experience racism. Brown bears are often called "Grizzly." White bears are "Polar." Biracial bears are "Panda." Black bears though? They're just Black. No special name. No nothing. They might as well be called "Nigger" bears.

5. At the 14 second mark, the woman pepper sprays the bear. Despite the fact that the bear posed no real danger to her. It wasn't being threatening, it wasn't carrying any weapons, and…well, you get the point. Basically, it was shot for bearing while bear.


6. Although the woman's tears don't technically qualify as "White Tears," I imagine that if there was a "White Tears" sleep sounds app, where you could fall asleep to the soothing and comforting sounds of "White Tears" being shed, this is exactly how they would sound.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



2520's always messing. This would've been much more satisfying to me had the bear decided to maul her mid video. Who cares about your little janky plastic boat? I'm sure she has enough money to buy 30 more and take 50 more trips to said lake. If I see a bear having a grand time with my belongings I'm just gone charge it to the game and quietly exit stage left with my life.