I find myself mentally debating not just how and what to feel about the racial climate in America, but also if I have any right to react to the issue at all. Many questions have clouded my mind: Am I educated enough on Black people's history in America to address the issue of racism? How can I share my thoughts and speak up in the best way possible without shifting the focus of the Black Lives Movement to myself? Is spending too much time on social media and dwelling on the current state of things good for my mental health? How should I feel about other people who are not taking this issue seriously, and is it my responsibility to educate them on the current state of things?
If I'm honest, growing up in Nigeria meant that I never had to think about these things or the color of my skin as being a disadvantage. I never had to worry about my father not making it home from work every day or simply taking a walk in our neighborhood. I wasn't scared for my brother's life if he decided to wear a hoodie on his way to the grocery store. No one had to give me the talk about what to do if I ever got pulled over by the police and how the system in place is against people like us. I had other issues, but my skin color was never one of them; at least not until I decided to further my education in the United States.
Needless to say, this is my reality now — living in constant fear of being seen as a threat to others or law enforcement officials that roam the streets of American society. What’s worse is that it’s been the reality of Black people in America and still is. So no, I don’t know if I’ll ever have the right words to address this issue as someone impacted by years of systemic racism. But my anger and the frustration of other Black people worldwide, their sadness, and pain must be felt and understood.