I’ve held off writing this. I get very emotional about this topic so excuse me if I ramble on. This subject is touchy. The incidents that have stemmed from August 9, 2014 in Ferguson, MO are disturbing, heated, controversial, emotional. They are real. They show us real issues in this country. These are my feelings.
I’ve always been the Black girl that seemed White. I’ve dealt with the stigma or praise that comes from it. Yes. Both. I’ve been teased by many Black folks for not being Black enough and then praised by White folks for being able to fit in. The fact that I can speak relatively good English seems to make many of my friends think I’m not quite Black. I’ve even had someone tell me that they were afraid to meet me because they knew I was a Black person and wasn’t sure what I’d be like. Yes. In 2009 this very thing happened. I laughed it off but it stung. This person wasn’t even White so don’t think that the profiling and pre-judgements are only there. But the point of this is to say that many of my friends and Facebook associates seem to forget that I am indeed a Black woman. I am one of those people that gets profiled. People don’t talk to you before they make their initial judgement. They look at skin color.
This little fact about me has made it clear that many of my friends list forget to hide their posts from me. After all, I’d never agree with protesting — would I? I’d never agree with the way these Black people are reacting to the fact that Darren Wilson will not be tried — would I? I mean I’m Black but not Black Black — to them. But I am Black and I am hurt. I am hurt to see my friends not see why I might be a little bit upset. I am hurt when people don’t acknowledge racism exists. I am disappointed that being Black is enough of a reason to make someone fear for their life. Now don’t get me wrong. I understand that people can be intimidating. I understand that people can be scary. I understand that there’s a lot of pressure being a police officer. I get it. What I don’t understand is why being White affords you just a bit more time to convince someone of your worth.
Before you roll your eyes and think that this is another one of THOSE posts I challenge you to consider reading on. I was good enough to hear before I had an opinion so surely I’m good enough to hear now.
Being Black in America can be scary.
You might not like it. You might not agree with it. Until you live it, you really have no idea. Have you ever walked into a restaurant and looked around to realize you’re the only one of your ethnicity there? If so, how’d you feel? If not, how do you think you’d feel? Are you scared? Are you worried? Are you thinking that there must be a reason you’re the only on of your kind here? Imagine it being like that on a daily basis. Imagine wondering whether or not you’ll be treated fairly or even greeted when you walk in a store. These things happen. Not a day goes by that I wonder if my comments on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter will be construed as coming from the Angry Black Woman. Can’t I be angry when I see injustices without being labeled? After all, White people can. And I’m not saying that I want to do and be whatever a White person can. I’m saying that I shouldn’t be judged just because I’m Black.
Race is an issue in this country whether you like it or not. Having a Black president means that we’ve come a long way but we aren’t there yet. There are still pockets of racial injustice in this country. There are still underlying — or obvious — cases of racial bias. I’ll admit. I believe that White people have it easier in general in this country but I will NEVER let that be an excuse for me to not succeed. Sure you can point out some White folks that are having a hard time and many Black people that are doing extraordinarily well. One thing that doesn’t change is the color of our skin. Don’t be offended by that statement. Just think about whether or not it could POSSIBLY be true. When you’re driving down a dark road at night are you worried about the police stopping you for being in the
right wrong neighborhood? When you go in a store are you constantly checking to see if you’re being followed but not helped? Remember, people don’t get to know you before they see your skin. I could go on which I really hate. I hate that I have so many scenarios to share. I hate that this is even an issue.
So Michael Brown was shot and killed. He was shot and killed because a police officer that chased him apparently feared for his life. I don’t know why he feared. I don’t know why he shot him. The stories are unclear. What I do know is that I’m tired of even having to question why.
If you know me then you know that I have friends of many ethnicities. I want to end this saying that I love my true friends whether they are Black, White, Chinese, Puerto Rican, anything. I love the friends that I have that aren’t afraid to admit that I am indeed an ordinary Black person and they love me all the same. I love my friends that can admit they might have experiences completely different and own it. I love that I can have this conversation and still be respected by them.
Tell me what you think. I’m interested in your perspective, too.