This is a response to this article.
So, I started writing this post sometime at the beginning of this here panini, and wasn’t able to finish it until now due to mental health reasons. I feel like it’s a little dated, my feelings are the same but also so much more as I’ve experienced the loss of white friendships/acquaintances over the last few months due to fragility, etc….but I want to go ahead and post it cuz these were/are my feelings.
I recently read an article that encapsulates the feelings I’ve been having recently about the seemingly sudden boom in global consciousness regarding issues of racism.
I do get this sense that this time, the protests and outrage are different. The energy feels more charged, the vibrations more heavy. I hope that change – major change – will occur. But I also feel much more frustrated, terrified, irritated, sad, numb, and exhausted this time around than the many others. And the aforementioned article helps articulate part of the reason I have those feelings.
I remember, a few years ago, some folk asking me why I share so much Black content on my page, that it seemed I was “passionate and political” on facebook but not in person. 🙄 My response was “Because I’m Black, duh.” In person, I tend to not join in conversations that I don’t find interesting or connect with. On social media, I share what calls to me, what I identify with. It only seems that I’m “political” on social media because:
To be Black is to be political.
And YALL made that distinction, since basic ass human rights are now seen as politics.
A partner and I were recently had a conversation about some folks in a shared space we are in being shocked at the minor injustices and microagressions Black people face. It was both hilarious and exasperating – because it’s like, where the fuck have you been? Black people BEEN saying this shit happens. I’m confused. Were y’all just not listening before or…??? Or maybe your Black friends don’t share this with you because they’re not comfortable with you. Or maybe you don’t have Black friends – just acquaintances, coworkers, regular service folk. As she said: “How lucky for you to be so removed from this common occurrence.”
In all honesty – you didn’t know because you didn’t want to know, it doesn’t affect you, you wanted to remain oblivious so you wouldn’t feel guilty or obligated to take action. And I say that because I would like to point out that Black people (ahem, specifically Black femmes) are, and have been, holding it down for other marginalized folks; hell, we be holding it down for White folks who experience injustice too.
So yes, I am happy that more people are waking up to this shit. I am happy that people are outraged, that it seems like more are listening. That more people are learning simple compassion and thinking “What if me and mines were subjected to this for the sole reason that we exist? How would I feel?” I’m glad that non-Black people who knew this shit already are putting action behind their words and awareness – and for those who were already putting in that work, that you now have more backup and are continuing to fight. Cuz we need to fight for everyone, continously, til all this shit is undone, rebuilt, restructured.
But yall, it’s fucking sad and lowkey heartbreaking to think that it took this long for non-Black folk around me to realize the full extent that my Blackness is trashed. It’s exhausting for non-Black folk to randomly message me, recently enraged about the injustices so many face. I HAVE LIVED THIS MY ENTIRE LIFE, SO MUCH SO THAT IT IS ALMOST A PART OF MY PERSONALITY, INGRAINED IN ME. I DON’T HAVE ENERGY TO HELP YOU PROCESS SOMETHING I HAD TO DO AS A CHILD, AND CONTINUE TO DO EVERY DAY BECAUSE THIS WORLD DOESN’T ALLOW ME TO FORGET I AM A BLACK WOMAN.
As the article said: “‘It’s good these conversations are happening, but it’s also draining to be the person that has to clap and applaud and validate. Why should we be white people’s cheerleaders at the moment? Where has everyone else been for decades?”
I’m gonna let myself feel these feelings, because I can be both annoyed and resentful at people conveniently being late to the party AND overjoyed that they are here, fighting for a better society.