I’ve always found it difficult to discuss issues pertaining to race, but not because I don’t find them important. Mostly, it’s just difficult to describe the intense feelings that come with being a Black woman in a country like America.
I’ve never been an emotional person. I don’t cry much but lately I’ve found myself on the verge of tears just thinking about the way people of color have suffered these past few years. We try so hard only to be criticized by those who view us simply as animals plaguing their land, when in fact it was people of color who made this land what it was. This country was built on the backs of slaves after the land had been torn from the hands of Native Americans.
I see the #BlackLivesMatter protests on TV and I am proud of the passion and the fervor with which my fellow people of color are fighting for their rights. I’m touched as there are also many white people in the crowds who want to see equal rights for everyone. However, I’m also outraged as I watch a few individuals murder innocent members of the police force setting us back even further than before. I do not condone this type of violence and so I mourn the deaths of the police the same as I would anyone else.
I watch as a presidential candidate openly declares their hatred for certain ethnic groups while fueling the ever-growing racial tensions within America. I don’t understand how there are people of color who stand behind him as he has made it clear that our presence is unwelcome.
I see the violence that has been pervading America as of late and I question whether I want to raise children in a society where the color of their skin will mean that they will always have a target on their back. I want to teach my children that their blackness is beautiful in the same way that I wish someone had done for me.
Sometimes I think of how easy it would be to just go to a country where I am surrounded by people who look just like me, where for the first time in my life I am defined by something other than the pigment of my skin. But then I realize that mindsets like these create an even bigger problem. Instead of running away from conflict, I should try and be a part of the solution.
How can you tell me that we live in a post-racial America when many of the people who were tearing us down during the civil rights movement are still alive today? My own mother can still recall her school days where the students had to be released early because of race riots and where people would openly shout racial slurs. Even today, I hear stories of how people of color in my university experience people screaming racial remarks at them from moving cars. Not much has changed. Racist ideologies and prejudices do not just disappear overnight.
I am proud of being black.
When I was younger I thought a lot about it would be like to be white. Not because I thought their appearance was superior to mine, but because I wanted to know what it was like to not have to think about your race on a daily basis. It took me years to reach a point where I wouldn’t trade being black for anything in the world. My blackness is a beauty that knows no bounds.
Until next time,
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