This week, my mind has been tracing back to these distinct moments in my elementary and middle school social studies classes growing up. I remember when we first learned about slavery, the Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement. I remember thinking that I couldn’t imagine being alive during a period of such racial turmoil and hatred toward people of color. I couldn’t fathom the physical strength and mental resilience that it took my ancestors to endure such dangerous and toxic conditions day in and day out, constantly living in a state of fear and uneasiness, knowing that there was no system to protect your basic human rights because the only system that was in place was created to abuse and oppress you. After that thought is done, my mind traces back to these moments of shock and horror as a little girl, listening to my mother tell me about the America that she grew up in, and the America that her parents grew up in. I remember her rubbing my back gently and reminding me that things aren’t like they used to be, baby. Things are much better now.
Continue reading “Processing the End of a ‘Post-Racial’ Era of Political Correctness”
I am exhausted. Exhausted from seeing the final, tragic moments of my brothers’ and sisters’ lives plastered across TV screens and computer monitors around the country. Exhausted from living in a country where Black people are seen and treated as the dangerous and provoking enemy despite being on the receiving end of centuries-long genocide and murder at the hands of white people. Exhausted from having to explain to my white friends and colleagues why I seem to “always be talking about race.” Exhausted from carrying the burden of systemic racism on my back, knowing that it will rear its ugly head at some point in my day. Exhausted from the incessant reminders that Black lives should be feared and ended, rather than valued and understood. Exhausted from seeing white people go on about their merry lives while I struggle to feel safe in my skin. Exhausted from living within the confines of an inherently racist country, knowing that there are limitations to my freedom. Exhausted from having to explain why my life matters.
Continue reading “Dear White Friends, ‘Not Being Racist’ Isn’t Enough.”
This week, I’ve had the privilege of attending the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 46th Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. Here, I’m surrounded by inspiring, Black change-agents who are all working tirelessly to eradicate the social and systemic injustices that plague our community. For a few days, we don’t feel like minorities. We look around rooms full of positional power, and we see ourselves. For a few days, we don’t have to justify our feelings or make a case for our perspectives; we don’t have to code switch or rework our standpoints so they fit within the unspoken dominant expectation. For a few days, we are surrounded by a sea of raw, authentic, beautiful Blackness. And it feels good.
Continue reading “Learning to Play the Game to Change the Game”
It’s all good until people of color start coming for what has historically been explicitly reserved for white people.
As we’re all aware, we have a long, disturbing, brutal history of racism in our country. The construct of race itself was created to ensure white people would consistently benefit from the systems of our government, while guaranteeing the opposite outcome for people of color. It’s important to understand that the fight for racial justice and reconciliation didn’t begin with this idea of “leveling the playing field” that is often discussed in race relations today. Instead, it began with the desire to just be seen and treated as human. It began with the yearning to not live in a constant state of fear. It began as a fight for survival.
Continue reading “Deconstructing the ‘Reverse Racism’ Rhetoric”