I originally posted this on Facebook when I was locked out of my blog but wanted to put it here as well because it’s important to me. You can click on the link if you want to see the original comments. Let’s get this discussion started.
I’ve been asking myself recently why I’ve been so outspoken about women’s rights and the condition that is sexism but have yet to speak out about what’s happening in America for black people. I’ve always considered myself someone who stands up for what is wrong.
On the surface it’s because I can relate to being a woman. After all, I am a woman, I’ve seen and experienced sexism in everyday life and know that it affects half the population. It’s wrong and shit needs to change, and I can see this.
If I dig a little deeper it’s because I don’t feel like I have a right to speak out. It’s because I spoke out for so many years when I was young but then I moved to California and my rich white friends cast me out for speaking out against racist jokes. I got thrown out of parties for not tolerating the casual racism that took place. I was from Baltimore; I was half hispanic – they may have thought I looked white but they didn’t know who the hell they were talking to. I was sensitive to being identified as a race that I never fully believed I was.
If I dig any deeper it’s because I realize I’m a hypocrite and perhaps have been benefiting from the fruits of looking white for a little too long. Because no one stops me in the street to interrogate me. Because no one suspects me of stealing anything from the shop. Because although being a woman has probably held me back in ways I will never know, looking white and being a woman has probably also moved me up the ladder in ways that a black woman has to fight ten times harder for.
And if I’m truly honest, as I got older, my pool of friends got smaller and revolved more around the rich white folk I had at first despised but were now paying my wages and taking me out for drinks.
The more I gentrified, the more I found myself getting increasingly paranoid walking down the street when a black man was walking towards me, and I started to believe the propaganda that was all around me. I can’t say I consciously believed it but if I’m truly honest it seeped into me. I would go home to Baltimore and shake it off because half my family is black there. My accent would come back and it was as if my other life didn’t even happen. Baltimore always reminds me who I truly am.
I’ve never considered myself ‘racist’ but what is the difference between slowly giving into the mindset of mistrust, watching as your friends are thrown into jail for no reason and not saying a thing vs. idly standing by when a man is murdered? Pacifism by all of us is killing a population of people who deserve to be given the same god damn rights as everyone else.
This is a black issue, an American issue, a world issue and one we have to stand up and fight against. Watching what’s happening breaks my heart, and I never EVER want to let the propaganda take over again. I can’t be on the streets right now so I’m here on Facebook saying my piece. Hoping this makes at least one person think about their own mindset…
To my black friends – I stand in solidarity. I am your ally. I see what is wrong, and no one should have to live scared for their lives because of the people who are supposed to protect you. I can’t know what it’s like but I can help with the conversation, I hope.
Thanks to Mustafa Effortless Shakir for really making me think more about this issue. We must speak out – we must start and continue the conversation. ‪#‎lovesvoice‬
This video is what sparked my thoughts: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=584073291688230