I have had this on my mind for a while about posting this. Then I thought, “I need to say something.”
I am a black woman in America and it wasn’t until about a few years ago when I realized that things weren’t right. I knew to be a woman that men mistreated women (which is total BS), but I didn’t think about race. Why? Because growing up you’re taught how to handle certain situations so when (and I say when because you will) you get into those then you know how to handle them.
I remember being told to be sure that if you’re pulled over to keep your hands visible and be calm. Also, remember asking my mother why we don’t see her mom anymore and being told that it’s because we are half black. Still not understanding that her family decided not to speak to her and didn’t want anything to do with my brother and I even though we were just kids.
Now, as an adult, I notice that when I want to get groceries that the employees are watching me closely. Literally, standing right behind me. Going into a store and being followed around to be sure I don’t put anything in my invisible bag. I don’t say anything and just tried to keep the thoughts of “they’re just doing their job” in my head.
Here we are where protests are happening because there is no regard for another human being. Where black people are still being targeted and if I am being honest this is just the beginning. I went to the protests and participated and it strikes a place that can’t be explained. Between the chants of “BLACK LIVES MATTER!!!” and “I CAN’T BREATHE”, all you can think about is “ why is this still happening?” You become overwhelmed with disappointment and anger because you just don’t know what the next few minutes will bring.
Police brutality, bias during job searching, not speaking to someone, thinking we are going to rob you, thinking we are all criminals, following us in stores, thinking we are all violent, treating us unfairly at hospitals, restaurants, and the list can go on.
My advice for those who don’t know what to do or what do say is to just listen. Listen to what is being said. Listen to the stories of those who experience things in their daily life. Sometimes you don’t need a reaction. Listening with the intent to respond is NOT listening at all. The link below is a list of places you can donate to in support of Black Lives Matter. If you can’t donate, that is fine. Please keep the conversations going and don’t let this just fizzle out until next time. Let’s prevent the next time and let’s open our hearts and minds more.
Thank you and please feel free to comment on some of your experiences and/or thoughts below. You will remain completely anonymous by creating a name to comment on. You can all use the same one if you’d like.
Let’s not forget to #saytheirnames