We should all rethink certain behaviors and situations that we accept as “normal” in our lives.
After I posted my article about the treatment of mental illness within the black community, I received an alarming number of complaints against me speaking about the black experience. These complaining people attempted to force me to be passive in the face of racism because that person has normalized racism. This normalization of racism, in itself, is a strong reason to be weary of the world.
I speak about race because I do not want to be passive.
I speak about race because I live a life of resistance against our country’s racist systems. I speak about race because just because this is the way that it has been, does not mean that it’s the way that it should be.
Racism is so deeply ingrained that when people of color speak of their experiences or point out very real flaws in our legal systems, white people get offended that the experiences they share do not align with their own.
History books, literature, tv shows, and most classroom lessons show us that the white experience is THE American experience.
But when people of color point out how our country and society have always been in favor of the white person, some white people assume that we are invalidating their own successes and feats, attacking them with attempts to invalidate their experiences and facts.
When I speak about my experience as a black woman in America, I am not insulting the experiences of white men in America. I am solely shedding light on the differences of experiences among races and genders in the country.
With being a person of color comes the annoying (yet necessary) burden of needing to literally FIX people’s racist or flawed mindsets. We have to educate people on the ways they have been unknowingly offending others and we literally have to force people to realize that their way of life is not THE way of life.
We cannot keep trying to convince ourselves that all races and experiences are the same.
Although we are all a part of the human race, we are different in so many different ways. But just because we are different, does not mean that we should not be treated equally and given the same opportunities. Our country continuously uses our racial differences as an excuse to oppress us, while convincing itself that it “doesn’t see color.”
Saying that you “don’t see color” is another way of saying, “I don’t see racial problems.”
And that is a sad attempt to excuse your ignorance of the grievances of those around you. If you never talk about or take action against our country’s racial problems, then you are passively permitting racism to occur, which automatically places you on the side of the racists.
We, the oppressed, want to just be able to live our lives like everyone else –– constantly fighting against injustices is incredibly draining. But if we fall back into silence and passivity, then we fall back into the state of accepting our oppression and dehumanization. If we don’t advocate for ourselves, then the daunting inequalities will stay in place until we finally take action.
All races should be presented the same opportunities and should be granted the same privileges –– and this idea should be fundamentally shared by everyone.
When you do not directly face the consequences of racism, it becomes more difficult for you to see that it exists; however, you cannot use your privilege of not facing the consequences of racism as an excuse to allow racism to continue happening.
Now, just because you may have previously committed microaggressions or you have privilege does not mean you are a terrible person; however, by learning what things may have offended someone else, and owning up to your mistakes, you can improve your social interactions, and ultimately our country and world.
I talk about race because it is an incredibly overpowering narrative in our country.
So as much as you want us to ignore racism, we can’t. We physically cannot ignore it. And neither can you, because these conversations about race are not going away –– we will continue to discuss it until we see concrete action taken by our country’s government.