A Week of Tears and a Lifetime of Fear

How do I make you care about my safety? How do I emphasize that black people are dying, let me rephrase that, black people are being murdered. How many more news articles do I have to read until my name is the headliner? Will you find more words to say at my funeral?

This week I have cried out of fear and overwhelming hope. To my friends, remember your silence is a luxury but you can use your voice when mine is taken away. Use your voice before mine is taken away.

I wish I would have stood up for myself, but I will stay silent no more.

“Don’t be one of those angry black ladies.” -Told after understanding racial injustice.

What I said.

I know I’m not perfect but I try to be kind to others, let them know I appreciate them, and that they are worthy of my time. I just don’t understand why we are still fighting for equality.

What I thought.

I am angry because you do not see my pain. My brothers and sisters are being targeted and murdered by the people that are supposed to protect us, how could I not be mad? The world feels against me and it hurts.

“I wonder how your makeup would look on me” - Friend during a sleepover

What I said.

So you want to know what you would look like black… lol.

What I thought.

There are aisles upon aisles of makeup brands targeted to your skin color. In the eyes of many, you and your skin color are the standards of beauty. The little that I have I plan to cherish. It may be a fun little experiment to you but it is a lifestyle for me. I will not let you take what is mine.

“You speak white” - Teacher on the first day.

What I said.

My parents have always been passionate about schooling. They both graduated from college and wanted to make sure their children were educated as well. Although I have always struggled with reading and writing I continue to challenge myself.

What I thought.

If by white you mean proper English, thank you.

“You don't listen to rap music? Are you even black?” -Friend?

What I said.

The music I listen to reflects my mood. At any point in a playlist, you could hear some sad Adele, pump up Lizzo, screaming Hobo Johnson, booty bouncing Megan Stallion, and a whole Broadway production. It may feel all over the place but music is the best way to express me.

What I thought.

Don't claim my culture like you know anything about it and then try to push me out of it.

“You grew up in Lake Norman? You had it good” - YL camp speaker.

What I said.

I think my parents moved to the area because they thought it would be a good area to raise a family. The people were nice.

What I thought.

If by good you mean questioning if the white people around me were racist all the time, then yeah, most of them didn't say anything to my face. I grew up thinking beauty was white, blonde long hair, colored eyes, and skinny. Obviously, I have none of those things so I questioned my worth a lot. I wish I grew up with a greater appreciation and representation of my race.

“You know just because you are black doesn’t mean you won’t get sunburnt” -Lady at a baseball game.

What I Said.

Growing up most of my summers were spent outside. I was always signed up for an adventure camp and swim team. My mom always said she liked us sun-kissed, but I know the sun does not play.

What I thought.

I'm more of an SPF 50 type of girl. Layout under an umbrella type of relaxer. Windows down with the A/C on the type of driver. But I know the sun does not discriminate who it wants to burn.

“I don't feel comfortable with postings about Black Lives Matter” -Friend?

What I said.

You can use your social media to share about your best moments but you are too scared to post about something that really matters in fear of losing likes and making others uncomfortable. I have lived a life of fear and discomfort. We are fighting for life, not likes. Check your privilege

“I don't feel safe protesting for Black Live Matter” -Friend?

What I said.

You don’t feel safe protesting? Is that because we are in the middle of a pandemic or because you recognize the mistreatment and violence African Americans face every day. Check your privilege.

“I'm not educated enough to say anything about the Black Lives Matter movement” - Friend?

What I said.

How many more people have to die for you to understand? How else can we broadcast hundreds of years of injustice? How many more tears do I have to shed for you to see the pain and know it is real? When you say you are not educated enough to say something you are admitting that you are choosing to ignore the problem because everything you need to understand is at the tips of your fingers, a click away. Check your privilege.

This is a movement, not a moment.

I refuse to be separated by my piers from the everyday injustice African Americans face. My education level, social status, faith, and personal accomplishments mean nothing in a system rigged against me. I refuse to be silent to ignorance and promise to stand up for myself and all people of color that face oppression.

They say a photo is worth a thousand words but your silence is a death sentence.

Black Lives Matter. My Live Matters.

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