(Photo Courtesy of Dominique Bates)

Photo Courtesy of Dominique Bates

Being Black in America

A message from a Millikin Alum and former Decaturian Staff Member

June 3, 2020

This past week has been indescribable. So much pain, anger, and growth. All rolled in one.

People are finally starting to see what it is like to be Black in America. The countless videos and stories are flooding our social media timelines. Our Black brothers and sisters from all over, have spoken on their experiences of racism. And voicing their pain.

I would like to share my experience and tell you what it is like to be Black in America. The fears and hurt we deal with. So, here we go.

What does it mean to be Black in America?

Being Black in America means feeling the need to feel the need to remain silent and not voice your opinions because your fellow co-workers are White. And you may be judged.

Being Black in America means being called Monique when people know damn well that your name is Dominique. Not Dom. Not Dominique.

Being Black in America is experiencing racism at the age of six. Being told by two little White girls that they can’t play with you because you are Black.

Being Black in America is having White people always touching your hair. Telling you at 13 that you would look prettier if you did not wear braids. If you wore your hair down. You do it and have yet to wear braids since then.

Being Black in America is being called the N-word at the age of 15 by your so-called friend. “Run N-word, run.” You react by flipping him off.

Being Black in America is having that boy respond by putting a dead rabbit head in your mailbox.

Being Black in America is being called Blackie in high school. Every day by your friend. That is your nickname for two straight years.

Being Black in America is not giving law enforcement a reason to fear you. Smile, wave. Show them that you are the least threat they will ever face.

Being Black in America is having only positive experiences with police, but knowing in an instant, you could have one that goes sour.

Being Black in America is fearing police officers. Maybe not being scared, but being aware. Knowing you have do everything perfect. Both hands on the wheel. Eyes straight forward. Phone in your console

Being Black in America is not wearing dark clothing at night, having hoods up, or looking like a threat.

Being Black in America is having the “Talk” with your mom at a young age. Not that talk. The talk your siblings will never have because their skin color appears White. That talk of needing to understand my skin color could deem me a threat and put me in danger of becoming another Sandra Bland or Trayvon Martin.

Being Black in America is being out with your Black grandpa who has a habit of being impatient and can sometimes come across as rude. And worrying about the police being called on him. So you try to calm him down because you fear him becoming another statistic, too.

Being Black in America is being with your Black friends and worrying you are too loud and rowdy. Always keeping your eyes out for police and White people who may be bothered by you.

Being Black in America is being with your White friends. And feeling a bit more safe.

Being Black in America is not putting yourself in situations that your White friends will never have to worry about.

Being Black in America is to fear doing the simple things your White friends do without hesitation.

Being Black in America is feeling different.

Being Black in America is something my White friends and family will never understand.

Being White in America means you can’t tell me how I should feel as a Black woman in America.

This All Lives Matter stuff is offensive, and absolutely nonsense. We are not saying you don’t matter. Of course, you matter. But this isn’t about you. Black people in America, obviously don’t matter.

So all lives can’t matter until Black lives matter.

So sit down, shut up, and listen. Because we are screaming at the top of our lungs. Listen! Listen!

Listen! To what it is like to be Black in America!

 

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