Pain, Emotion, Support: Black Lives Matter

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 reach 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.

post from @ mixed_in_america to mixed raced people

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’re Black and non-black friends 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.

~REMEMBER ~

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 Matter 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.

Oppression with a side of Privilege

Referring to myself as oppressed and also privileged sounds and feels wrong. As a mixed woman, I have been in a tug-of-war with black and white all of my life. I have experienced racism from Whites, Blacks, Asians and Hispanics. I heard comments like “One drop rule means you are black”. “You talk like a white girl”. “You’re not really black”, “n*gger” and “white washed”. Each comment contradicting the other. When I found a couple posts online recently(image below ) I realized it is something I need to write about.

My oppression started at home, where I should have felt safe.
I was so young I didn’t even know it had a word. I wrote two posts on my mother’s racist boyfriend a couple years ago. I felt him treat me and my mixed sisters like low quality humans. It was all emotional damage- the feeling you have in your gut that something isn’t right. He would prevent us from listening to rap music or wearing hip hop clothing. He punished us with physical labor from ages 9 up (scrubbing floors on our knees for hours and using toothbrushes to clean) He would over-educate us with schoolwork grade-levels ahead to the point we cried with frustration and started to feel we were not smart. He even told my sister she couldn’t date Black men.

(more…)

The Black Whisper

A group of friends, co workers, strangers, it doesn’t matter the group really, just that the person speaking, isn’t black. It’s general conversation and one person speaking at some point says something like “there was this Asian chick and a black guy in the…”  or “this woman on the subway was snapping at people so this black woman told her to…” (more…)

The Day I Felt Normal

Curl Fest

I found out that there is an event in Brooklyn, NY called Curl Fest. I had to go, why hadn’t I heard of this through my curly salon or other curl influencers?

When we arrived, it was a chaotic rainbow of brown skin and beautiful curls. The ticket check-in was at the other end of the park and the lines were madness. We waited in the heat for over 30 minutes to get our welcome bags and then went to explore.

(more…)

Rise of the Mixed Girl

When I was growing up in the early 1980s living with my mom, she had a couple of friends with mixed kids and we would play together at times. When I no longer lived with her the playtimes with some of those kids faded out. In my daily life no one at school looked like me, no one on TV or movies, no idols and no one in my neighborhood. Being mixed wasn’t popular. It wasn’t something that any mixed celebrities talked about so other mixed kids could connect. Many mixed celebrities just passed for black or even white.

I felt rare and disconnected from so many people. When I was younger I didn’t understand why strangers would stare, ask what I am, touch my hair, or praise how beautiful of a mix we kids were. Kids teased us, filled our conversation with questions of curiosity or were even flat out mean and racist.

(more…)

Diverse Dolls Matter

As a little kid, you most likely wanted or had a doll that looked like you. Hair, eye or skin colors. It was a bit easier if you were white. 

In the 1980’s, a big craze was the Cabbage Patch Kid which came in a wide range of yarn colored hair and a couple options of skin tones. Another doll called My Child arrived in the mid 80’s offering felt material skin in a lot more shades of color and with hair you can comb. 

I believe I was about 10 when I got my first black doll. I saw him in a newspaper sales page, I had to have him. I circled him and saved the page. Then one day I went with my mom to the store to pick out a doll and I saw him! The black boy cabbage patch kid with a bald head almost the same as the one I circled. I grabbed him up, he was everything I wanted. 

(more…)

Which do I identify as more, black or white

There was a time when I didn’t know I had to identify black or white. I was young and didn’t understand what it meant to be mixed, to be part of two worlds which somehow seem to have a never-ending conflict based solely on shades of skin.

Then, there was a time when I found myself constantly feeling I had to choose between black or white, “which would you rather be?” a young classmate asked.

The thing was, I didn’t see myself as either race specifically. I was raised by the white side of my family and didn’t have any contact with my black father. I have an older half brother who I did see often, he is black. So I knew I was black as well.

Throughout my teen years I realized that it was other people who placed me in one race or another based on whatever I did… or didn’t do.

(more…)

What are you?

When I used to walk my dog I was often stopped and asked “how old is he?” “is it a boy or a girl?” “what breed is he?” And I understand the curiosity because I also ask people the breed of their dog. Especially if it looks like a mix of breeds. It has just become a part of who we are. A curiosity really. 

Now, what about asking people

(more…)

check box “other”

It’s strange how a memory is gone and suddenly a single moment triggers an entire montage of past snapshots, not giving you a clear picture, but bringing in feelings that came in that moment long ago.

This may sound a bit silly to some, but there I was filling out a form and under the race selection, I could click anything and as many as I wanted! Black + White + Biracial + multiracial. Wow, when did this happen?! Why am I so damn excited about it?!

(more…)

Color me Gray

Mixing a crayon is simple, you scribble red and blue together to get purple and you mix black and white crayons together to make gray. I knew this. Every second grader knew this too.

In my first blog post I wrote about how I realized in elementary school that my color had to be explained to the white students. I would be asked about my skin color or why my hair was certain way and I would get to the point where I simply reply “I’m Black and White.” Of course this basic response led to comments where kids called me all sorts of names based on things that are visibly black and white. Zebra, Oreo, Cow, you get the idea.

(more…)