Tag Archive | My Black Is Beautiful

I Can’t be Racist . . . I have White Friends!

It’s important to tell anyone reading this, I didn’t actually understand that I was Black, until I was about 7.  I never looked in the mirror, and some of my best friends in Elementary school were white.  I assumed I looked like them.  Call it childish innocence.  It wasn’t until my lil’ redheaded friend’s father wouldn’t let me sleep over their house, and my mom had to explain to me why.  I don’t remember exactly how I felt, but as I remember the event some 30 years later, I’m sure it made an impact.

Thats Racist

In high school, my group of friends was like the United Colors of Benetton.  We took our “Buddy Pictures” in plaid flannel of all colors.  There was a biracial girl, 2 white girls, a Filipino girl, and me. Imagine my surprise when one of my white friend’s dad was angry that she was friends with me.  I had talked to this man on the phone almost every day for a year.  He KNEW me, I thought.  That’s when I found out her dad was racist.

The majority of my life, I’ve befriended people based solely on merit. If you can hold a conversation, or we have something in common, or we work together, I’ll talk to you.  I’ve never really looked at race as a determining factor in my relationships with people.  I don’t mean, “I don’t see color,” I mean color didn’t determine your worth in my life.

Then Travyon Martin was killed.

All of a sudden, people I’d been friends with all my life – some people I considered FAMILY – were saying the most horrifically racist things about this CHILD who was killed by an overzealous asshole, who was probably racist.

“I mean, maybe he did attack that guy!”

“Why was he looking suspicious in a neighborhood he didn’t belong in?”

“I have to hear both sides . . “

Snape Flippinf Tables.gif

 

For the first time in my life, I realized that my existence as a Black Woman was in no way separate from my position/worth in some of the relationships in my life. I was the Black friend,  not the black friend.  I was being regarded as “hostile,” and “argumentative” for expressing an opinion.

Then, Mike Brown was Killed.

It was at this point, I started to lose friends in droves.  Before it had been, “Let’s just agree to disagree,” and precarious alliances were formed.  As long as I didn’t express my opinions, or acknowledge the unfairness of the USA, it was all fine.  But I couldn’t be quiet. I had to express myself, the pain was too great. First it was unfollowing people on FB, then I was being cussed out in the comments of my own posts, then it was people blocking me.

I’d never specifically expressed myself as a Black Woman around my friends.  I shied away from all that, because I understood it wasn’t worth the fight.  “Just shut up MJ, they won’t get it.”  Suddenly, I was trying to MAKE people understand.  I tried to have serious dialogues with people about race in America, and how it affects everyone in some shape or form.

Then, #BlackBoyJoy happened.

There was a video of a little Black boy dancing to some song, I honestly don’t remember what song.  I shared it on my FB page, with a comment like, “I love to see a Little Black Boy having fun!” There were probably some heart eye emojis, because HELLO! Lil Black Boys dancing is ADORABLE.

LILBOyDancing

The step sister of my best friend – my LONGEST friendship (since 5th grade Latchkey), my #WhiteBoyBestFriend – commented on the status something to the effect of, “All children having fun is beautiful, why just black boys?”

I can admit now, she caught me on an off day.  Any other day, I would have probably just blocked her.  But I had TIME that day. I didn’t call her out on my status, I sent her a FB message.  I’ve known her since she was 12 years old, and her mom married my best friend’s dad. I was trying very hard to maintain this relationship.  Maybe she didn’t understand that she was #AllLivesMattering my post.

I’d felt some time of way about her for years.  She, IMO, was the Epitome of what was wrong with America.  She was white, and entitled, and felt that everything should always go her way.  She had never had to be hungry, or experience life failures (to my knowledge), or fear for her life when she got pulled over by a cop.  She lived with her parents, was over 25 and had NO SHAME in that.  She did the absolute bare minimum on an hourly basis, and somehow, she felt she had the right to tell ME, that #AllLivesMatter.

I was tired of her, and her White Privilege.  Her Whiteness was offensive to me that day. I tried yall, I really did.

Seriously, my pride in beautiful black children is my own…allow me to have it without trying to make the focus about you and ur feelings

Calm your bitch down dude. I asked a genuine question. There is absolutely no need to jump down my throat. You know, I used to believe you were a tolerant and understanding person, but I have to say that I no longer see that in you. I see a very angry person and that saddens me. I don’t know what happened but I feel sorry for you.

Note: My response . . . and hers. I started off doing so well, right?!?!? Like I didn’t call her out her name, or ANYTHING. Because, growth.  But after her response tho . . . I went the FUCK OFF.

So since you already pity me [I’ll] tell you this. You live in a world that doesn’t exist. You are the EPITOME of White Privilege and Frailty. If you have paid attention to ANYTHING I’ve posted in [the] last 3 years, you would know “what’s wrong with me.” You are vain, and selfish, and I pity what your life is going to become.

Keep talking bitch

Of course I had to call my best friend, and tell him what had happened.  I screenshot the convo, and told him I understood if he wanted to fall back on our friendship for a while.  Thankfully, he said, “That’s between you two.  I’m not in it.” It was at that moment when I had to remind myself – They aren’t all like that.

Some Facts which, at this point, must be Stated:

  • Whiteness is a threat to most people of color. Anytime I, in my Blackness, challenge the status quo (Whiteness), I am attacked in various ways and on multiple levels.
  • White Women, and their fragility is harmful to the voices of People of Color.  I’m tired of quieting my voice so that white tears can be heard.
  • I Don’t Hate White People. I hate White Privilege.

All this has been written to say: I’ve been entirely too quiet about this feeling of . . . unease I have regarding our current  society.  My fear/anger is turning me into a person who pushes buttons on purpose.  I wear/purchase shirts just to piss off the people I see.  I wear my hair in an Afro to offend the eyes of people who dislike – or are uncomfortable with – Blackness. I put color in my hair because I know people think it’s “Ghetto,” not creative, because I’m Black.

There are a myriad of White people in my life on a daily basis.  I have White friends on FB, Instagram, and at work.  Lately, I’ve had to put disclaimers on my status’ and posts, and what I say in group settings.  Sometimes I don’t even speak at all.  Because of the impact it could have on my job, my life, my relationships is too great. {Which is a PROBLEM}

The . . . silencing of my voice is getting to me.  It’s making me fall into depressive states on a regular basis.  When I trace back the origins of all my waves of depression in 2017, it was an instance when I silenced myself in some way.

Tupac Shhhhh

I’m not Racist . . . . I’m Black. This shit is HARD.

Before I’m a woman, before I’m a Social Worker, before I’m a Friend, before I’m a Daughter, I’m Black.  The burden of that . . the weight of that in today’s society is slowly sucking the Joy out of me.  It’s like you have a 1,000,000LB weight on your back, and every white person can’t see it.  Better yet, they keep saying to you, “Girl, it’s just 3 flights of stairs.  You can do it, because I did!” It’s making me bitter. It makes me think snide ass comments about Whiteness, then feel bad for thinking it.

To ME: My Blackness is beautiful.  My skin is damn near flawless, I haven’t aged since I was 12 (I have the pics to prove it.) My hair is amazing.  I can do 1000 things with my natural hair, and it will be just as beautiful. My curves are sexy – these hips can hurt you if I want them to, or they can change your life. The original woman probably looked just like me.

To Society: My Blackness makes me less than. My Blackness is ugly, and the exact opposite of Beauty. My hair is ugly, dirty, and nappy.  My curves are unhealthy and I don’t deserve to sit comfortably in any chair, ever.  People who looked like me, were shaped like me, where kept in museums and displayed at circuses. {Look up Venus Hottentot}

Adulthood for me, is finally understanding the real meaning of the following poem:

Mother to Son

BY LANGSTON HUGHES

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,

And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor—

Bare.

But all the time

I’se been a-climbin’ on,

And reachin’ landin’s,

And turnin’ corners,

And sometimes goin’ in the dark

Where there ain’t been no light.

So boy, don’t you turn back.

Don’t you set down on the steps

’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.

Don’t you fall now—

For I’se still goin’, honey,

I’se still climbin’,

And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

This is Blackness in 2018.  This is Me.

Can You Hear Me? Do You See Me?

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