Navigating My Blackness
My emotions are all over the place, I’m angry, I’m hurt, I’m sad, I’m overwhelmed. I honestly feel like for the first time in a long time America (and by America, I mean white America) got to see a glimpse of what Black Americans feel and go through every day.
I’ve been pulled over and harassed by police, I’ve been questioned for things I had nothing to do with. I’ve listened to friends, co-workers share indirect racist comments to me... and let me remind people that just because you have A black friend that does not in fact mean you are not a racist. I’ve had friends directly tell me that “All Lives Matter” and fight that we need to stop focusing only around “Blacks”
"Why is ending racism a debate?
For me, I grew up in a very diverse school all the way from elementary to high school. While there were typical cliques where I felt racism the most is from the parents and grandparents of some of the white friends I hung out with. I’ll never forget the look on their faces and the short rude comments. I personally thought it just me for a while. I tied it with my looks and thought maybe I just looked funny? But as I got older I was able to identify that racism lived heavy in some of the homes I frequently visited. From there on I felt silenced, I didn’t want to say anything to upset “them".
As a kid, I was once in situations where I was with a group of girls playing outside and I forget but something happened or someone got hurt the blame was instantly put on me. We all know who did it but I was hand-selected by them and their parents believed them. I didn't know what to do, so I took the blame so others wouldn’t get in trouble and I continued to do so for years.
I was teased about my braids, I hated them. Teased about my dark skin by white AND black people, given the nickname “blackie” I was often told I was beautiful for being a dark-skinned girl. I was made fun of as a kid for having big lips and told me that I look like a monkey. All of this affected me and left deep scars and wounds. It made me feel unwanted and unworthy.
As I get older I see so much beauty in my blackness. I love the way my skin-pops when wearing bright colors, I love my full lips, I love the beauty in my heritage and the hustle that’s been passed down from my grandparents to my parents to me. I love my textured hair, straight AND curly. I love my unique features and the very small curves my Mom passed down, though she could’ve given me a little more 😉
I love everything about my blackness, but hate is that my skin color is treated unfairly and limits me from jobs, renting a home, going into certain places, and the list continues.
The talk about racism starts at home. All of the rude remarks I was told as a kid shouldn't have happened. Parents must encourage a diverse friend group as well as have a diverse friend group. Textured black hair shouldn’t be a “new” thing that your kid is introduced to at the age of 20.
"No child is born into this world hating others, HATE is taught"
I'm thankful for my upbringing as my parents have very diverse friends and co-workers, my church wasn't a black church nor a white church, and in school, my teachers embraced me with open arms. I joined various after school clubs to learn more about my mixed group friends. All of this has allowed me to be more educated on other races outside of my own. For those of you who say, "I don't see color" then you don't see me. You need to see color and for anyone who has the privilege to go through life not ever having to think about twice about being pulled over, please use your voice to not only change but fix the broken system we live in.
"I want to feel safe, I don’t want to feel uneasy around white people or the police. I want to be free in the country we call, “Land of the Free”
For those of you asking, What can you do? Listen to Walk After Falling's podcast HERE on Spotify to learn more about my perspective on Racism in America and the BLM Movement.