The last couple of months have been a real struggle. We are in a pandemic, and we are still fighting against police brutality and racism. I wanted to write an open letter about some of my past experiences and how I feel today.
Growing up, I had “the talk” about how to act around police. I knew if I needed help, I would have to contact my family. I know this happens in almost all black families. Police have been targeting black people for generations, and absolutely none of this is new. As a mixed person, I have been given different experiences, for better or worse. I have family members on all sides who love and care for everyone. Still, I’ve also had to sit in a room where questioning white privilege in front of me was normal, saying blue lives matter in response to black lives matter was ordinary, not acknowledging someone else’s racism because it doesn’t affect you is typical, and how not seeing someone else’s racism is regular because the other person’s behavior matches their own. These problematic experiences caused a lot of self-pain. It hurt to have people I love make derogatory comments. I’m thankful that it never changed my perception of myself because it could have, but instead, it changed my perception of them. The comments and conversations affected me because they were about me, the rest of my family, and community. I know some people have grown because of these interactions, and I am glad that happened. Still, it also came at my expense by having to educate them on the humanity of black people and history, while pushing them, and remain composed while doing so. These interactions where I had to be the one educating others has created gratefulness and love for those who understand the past leading up today and who have educated themselves on issues surrounding race.
For years, I have been explaining to others why black lives matter; The words and the organization. I feel so drained. Why have I had to explain the humanity of black people and history? I feel like I have hit a wall recently, and I am fed up with people not caring or not taking the time to understand. History has been built for the comfort of white people, but looking into the truth is not hard, the only thing it takes is the confidence to break away from the racism that has been passed down and giving a damn. I ask myself, how can you call yourself my friend or consider me family when you don’t support people “like me”? At the same time, I have compassion because all of our systems are set up to support racism, but I’m angry at those who don’t care to realize that. At this point, it is just racism, in my opinion.
I’m uplifted to see anti-racism supported by my friends and family, and I have strength when I come across family or friends who have racist qualities, because of my bloodline, the people who raised me, and the way I am built. I am still navigating how to handle these relationships, but I know I will find what’s right for me, and I hope you do. I have hope that we will start to see police reform take place and that as a whole, we will make better choices when selecting leaders who will guide our country through tough times, such as a pandemic.