For anyone who knows me and isn’t Black, this letter is for you.
I can’t seem to shake this feeling of defeat. I can’t seem to come to grips with the realization that my reality is what it is right now. I can’t seem to understand how I’m not immersed in a dream or nightmare rather. I’m trying to hold back tears while writing this. My heart is literally hurting. I’m struggling to find the words to express how distraught I am that my people are hurting. But I am going to try to muster up the courage to pen down some of my feelings for the sake of my Black brothers and sisters who cannot. I got you Mr. George. Trayvon, I know I can do this.
You love us from your many seats in the stadiums as you root for us to shoot another basket or score another touchdown. You love when we write lyrics to songs that become your summer anthem of “I’m a savage!” You try, real hard, to emulate our dances and practice moves with roots from our motherland. You love when you can rock our hairstyles and get “braids for the summer,” not realizing we wear them to protect our natural, kinky curls.
You take pride in acting BLACK because you envy our culture and want to be a part of it … until shit gets real, until your white parents remind you that you’re white, and you’re the “majority” in this country. I’m here to tell you that being Black is an absolute honor, a privilege, the thing about me I am MOST proud of. And no matter how much you try to take it away from us, we will always rise above.
I know by now you’ve seen the memes, the posts, the tweets, the images, the videos, the news briefs. I’m sure you’ve read all about how your Black friends are struggling to accept that your white dads and uncles are killing our Black nephews and grandsons for no reason. I’m sure you’ve thought about retweeting that image of Breonna Taylor, but you didn’t and that’s OK.
“In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote to friends in his letter from Birmingham City Jail.
I want you to take a second, in this very moment, and imagine your non-Black daughter or son. Get that image in your mind of the daughter you birthed and place her face on top of George Floyd’s, under that cop’s knee. Take that same image and put it on Tamir Rice’s face before he was murdered. Keep the same image in your mind and place it on top of Eric Garner’s exhausted face and hear your daughter’s voice while she tries to shout, “I CAN’T BREATHE.” Do you get the picture now? Is it clearer to you now?
Black people are exhausted. I am exhausted. I am sick of crying at night. I am sick of explaining to you how to participate. I am sick of trying to be “politically correct.” I am sick of the leadership in this country. I am sick of racism. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. But one thing I will never get tired of is being who God created me to be and that is a strong BLACK woman, emphasis on Black. So, if you’re reading this and you aren’t currently feeling the emotions described throughout this letter, you will never know what it is to be Black in America. You will never know the feeling of going to sleep exhausted and waking up even more drained because of your skin complexion. What you can do is stop contributing. Stop enabling your friends and parents. Stop being racist.
While you’re learning how to do that, I’m going to continue to watch and live through these defining moments that will contribute to my history. I’m going to wipe my tears, hug on my Black father, mother, sisters, niece and brother and continue praying. What you can do immediately is assure that, the next time you refer to or write about me or any of my brothers and sisters, the “b” in the word Black, is capitalized.