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Monday, October 12, 2020

Flying low

Jon Tyson
It has been about a year since I last posted. So much has happened that I don't know where to begin. So I will just dive right on in. This is the first time in my life that I have actually been afraid to be out in public as a Black woman. I mean, I have seen my share of racism before now like the time when I ran over the Cooper River bridge and a car of white men drove past and called me the N-word. I was shocked, but not rocked to my core like now. I just thought was an isolated incident. 

I don't think that anymore. Nothing is isolated. It is blatant and consistent. I took a break from social media and the news. Too many triggers. Too many unarmed Black men dying at the hands of white police officers. Too many white women calling the police on Black people for just living their lives.  This is reminding too many of us of Emmett Till. I cannot unsee the murder of George Floyd and those 8:46 seconds. And then there is Breonna Taylor. And then there are many, oh so many more. I don't sleep so well these days. Ahmad Aubrey was murdered about 45 minutes from where I live.

And yes I know about civil rights. I was on the planning committee of the first relay from Selma to Montgomery Alabama where we ran the same route walked in March 1965 for voting rights. I know that people died so that I could vote and do plenty of other things. I know my history. I just never thought that I would be fighting to gain the footholds that those before me had already gained. Or was it simply an illusion? 

I don't blame the current administration for racism. It has been systemically around for many years. And as crazy as it sounds now, I thought we had moved past it. Yes, my privilege is showing. I am a Black woman. I am an educated Black woman. I am an employed Black woman. I am a Black woman military veteran. I am a Black woman who owns a house. And yet if the police are called I am just a Black woman with all the stereotypes and microaggressions that the law allows. And the law allows for plenty. People are allowed to be afraid of me because I am Black. My skin is viewed as a weapon even when I am sleeping. And that is why when a police car is behind me I call someone, just in case while knowing that isn't really going to keep me safe. The best I can do is pray for a video. 

It is exhausting gearing up for battle every single day and then expected to be professional. It is exhausting trying to make myself appear less than so that people won't feel uncomfortable around me. It is exhausting to hold my tongue when I hear that all lives matter. When I know the person saying it doesn't give a damn about the Black ones. And yet, I must not raise my voice, cut my eyes, or show any emotion in my face. It is exhausting. 

Every single day that I wake up I feel that I am not doing enough. I stand in front of my classes and try to make sense out of things that don't make sense for not only my Black male students but for the entire class. I have to teach as if my heart is not breaking. I have to teach as if I am immune from all that is happening around me. Black people are being murdered and we fail to hold anyone accountable. Protests are good, but they are not enough. We need to vote. Vote for the greater good. Vote for humanity. 

Well, I did not do what I was supposed to do. I got angry. I spoke out on a podcast. My episode is called Screw ur Kumbaya. That's right I said it. Then I collaborated on the Banners of Courage t-shirt line.  I created a module to address social justice for the yoga community. And I am still angry. I am angry when my so-called white friends remain silent. Or when they privately message me that they are here for me. I need you to be here for me in public spaces. I need you to advocate for me every single day with fire and breath. 

I need you to know that it isn't easy being Black right now. Not that it ever has been, but lately it has been much worse. Black people are being murdered for being Black. We are not okay. I am not okay.  


Anonymous said...

I hear you. I see you. I lift you up.

doretha said...

Thank you. There is strength in numbers.