As a mixed woman, I am balancing that tiny bit of privilege and my oppression mentioned in my last post. On top of that, I have once again been hit in the face with the same racism and hate experienced in my youth.
These past two weeks have been painful and emotional. I have been called a racist. (“reverse racists”, but it’s not a real term, you are racist or not). I’ve explained a thousand reasons why you should not to say ‘all lives matter’ but, instead of understanding Black Equality, some choose to feel offended by the title of this movement and can’t see the big picture. People I follow(ed) on social media, post comments like ‘black people are showing the world how bad they are – they should be embarrassed’. or “If black people didn’t have the highest crime rates, police wouldn’t be in their neighborhoods”.
I see many people defending the police behavior, but not once speak up for Black Equality. Some have posted their outrage by the riots, but say nothing about the murders. And I have seen people blame the victims for their murder.
I have backed up White friends against other White peoples attacks for supporting Black Lives Matter. I have defended my own blackness when someone arguing ‘black on black crimes stats’ said “you’re not really black” And sadly, had to ask myself in one case, after 10 years of friendship, is a ‘friend’ a racist?
Racism has always been a slow drip of pain for me, manageable. Now the flood gates opened. It has exhausted me mentally and physically. There are days where my body aches and cannot eat. I have lost my breath in shock by what people say and I have had days with tears for the way Americans are hating each other, comparing themselves and showing their ignorance toward equal rights. We are better than this.
Lately, I feel like being mixed has made me into a bridge. I have become someone that many friends and some Facebook followers of all races have reached out to. At first I thought, why are they asking me?! But after talking and texting more people, I realize I can take this as an honor instead of an issue.
I am happy people want to know if they are doing the right thing, they express their shame, guilt or pride. They want my opinion, conversation, to vent or share what they have been learning. Some want to say sorry they didn’t get it before, others share links, movies and documentaries that they have been watching. And some simply ask “how are you holding up.”
Maybe my being mixed makes people believe I can see both sides. It could also be that I openly discuss racism on this blog which has opened a door of comfort.
TO MY BLACK FRIENDS
I see you sharing posts, making statements, explaining Black Lives Matter. Posting videos of police brutality acts over the years, listing names of victims. I hear you mention your friends who have not reached out in support for your well-being. I see your heart breaking from the pain.
I see my Black friends are sharing extremely personal experiences of their lives. This hurts, because why do we have to share such personal parts of our lives, publicly, for people to understand that there is no Black Equality in America?
To my black friends, trying to bring awareness and being vulnerable, I respect you! I see you and I appreciate you. I know how hard that is to open and share your life publicly. Be seen and be heard.
TO MY NON-BLACK FRIENDS:
First I will say, if your friend of color has opened their private lives to you, has helped you, comforted you when this is their time of need, reach out to that friend. Say thank you, tell them you care for them, respect and cherish your friendship with them. Let them know you are in this with them.
To my non-black friends, I see so many of you trying to educate people. I see and hear you when you think you are not doing enough. Some of you have shared stories of your growth, shown how you have stepped up to help your community. I see links to charities, support for minority businesses, and finding ways to educated your families.
I also see photos with you beat and bloody during the protests, standing up peacefully for Black Equality. You are not going unnoticed in this fight.
Some of you have expressed guilt over your privilege. I want to remind you, do not – if you push your privilege down, then you can’t use your privilege to push other up. Use privilege to put the message onto deaf ears, to those who cannot see past peoples skin color or past ‘Black Lives Matter’ to hear our message for equality. It’s people like you who can show them that the path to unity and acceptance is that you are able to recognize that there is an inequality in the first place.
If you are Black and you have non-black friends that are flooding their social media with content and educating for Black Lives Matter, if they are arguing the need for equality with people in their lives, please tell them you appreciate their dedication and friendship. Thank them for their voice. They too are dealing with tension and hate maybe for the first time, and realizing people they are close to, do not share their values.
Slowly over the two weeks I have seen progress and change in some laws. This battle started long before many of us were born. Social Media and internet are pushing it into the faces of people who wouldn’t see it otherwise.
Let’s remember that this is not just about protesting, posting and fighting for Black Lives to the masses. We need person-to-person emotional support too, even if it seems small right now. After emotional months of lock down from Covid-19, we moved into the pain of Black Lives Matter. Let’s make sure we are okay. That our pain isn’t overwhelming and our emotions are not drowning us. We need to check in with friends and family emotionally and positively.
It’s a long road. It will not end today, life will not change overnight.