Black people

All posts tagged Black people

This skin I’m in…

Published March 24, 2015 by hrhdana

Lately this skin I’m in is heavy.

I love it,

this skin,

caramel candied perfection

a little lighter now from winter’s lingering presence.

I love the history

attached to my genealogy.

Love my family.

Love being me.

But lately…

Lately this skin is a barrier.

Has me speaking to people who can’t understand my words

even though we speak the same tongue.

Lately my truth about this skin

is uncomfortable

for lifelong friendships.

They implore me to

just

stop

talking.

Stop sharing.

Stop making them

uncomfortable.

And it hurts.

Hurts to know that

my love

given freely

and honestly

is only palatable

if encased in silence,

lies,

hidden cries

late at night.

Unwelcome in the daylight.

That if I stand in public

wear my tears like my tiara,

unashamed

they look away.

Accuse me of playing card games

laugh privately

and amongst each other call me names.

These friends

wound me

deeply.

Lately this skin I’m in is heavy.

A wet blanket

dousing conversations

like fires.

And I’m so tired.

The silence

It chokes me.

I can’t breathe.

They can’t see.

And the optimist in me

is languishing

slowly extinguishing

a flame I thought would burn eternally.

If love isn’t all the gas we need

to push past racism and misogyny

then what will propel us towards healing?

Someone tell me.

Please.

I’m asking.

I’m dropping friends at an alarming rate

I want to say I’m okay

and I am

but I’m not.

Racism isn’t just wearing hoods anymore.

It’s more subtle

But it hurts just the same.

It’s people whom I considered family

“disgusted” with me

because I fear for my child

and I say so publicly.

They want me to take a seat.

Sit quietly.

Eat the scraps thrown to me

contentedly.

 But THIS skin I’m in ain’t paper thin.

And although goodbyes are hurtful

I have work to do.

They do too.

I can’t force you.

But if you run from the discomfort of a conversation

If my truth “nauseates” you

you are part of the problem too.

If you can forget the ties that bound our friendship for years

the shared tears

the love held dear

because it’s too hard to just hear

then you only reinforce that my fear

is real and clear.

See,  I am them.

I am not different.

That’s the problem.

This skin I’m in is beautiful.

I’ll gladly carry its weight

on its heaviest days.

I have no desire to be your tolkien

Black friend

divorced from a “them”

that you can’t comprehend

my family and friends.

And the thing is

You knew me.

You loved me.

You saw me.

Until I shared with you

the reality of this skin I’m in.

And that is your shame and your sin.

Goodbye “friend.”

1

Justice denied = A much needed conversation

Published August 7, 2013 by hrhdana

I’m still reeling from the verdict.

I’m still trying to figure out how to raise a hope-filled, loving, sweet, smart little brown girl in the wake of the verdict. I’m still trying to figure out what I teach her about her country and her place in it.  I’m grateful she’s so little. I’m grateful that I have some time to heal and think. I have found myself, more than once, thanking God that I don’t have a son.

Sit with that.

I am grateful that I don’t have a little black boy to raise.

This is my truth.

It makes me uncomfortable

but my discomfort makes it no less true.

I live an integrated life. I always have. My family and friends span the entire spectrum of skin tones. I don’t, “hate whitey” or think that all white people can’t be trusted. That’s silly. My life has not borne that out. But I’m hurting. I’m hurting so badly and all I want is for people to TRY and understand and then TRY and make it better.

Racism won’t be legislated away. Yes we need laws to strike down the systems set in place to hold all non-white people back. Yes we need level playing fields. But racism won’t be eradicated by laws. Racism can only be totally and finally conquered by love. It can only end when we all make REAL connections with each other. Racism ends with boots on the ground loving. It ends with us SEEING each other, and LISTENING to each other, and LOVING each other. It ends when the non-black people who love me can hear my pain, not as an indictment of them but as MY truth. It ends when they can hear my pain and see ME, as a person who is hurting. Because THAT is what makes people stand up the next time someone makes a joke that isn’t funny. That is what makes a person outraged when someone makes a false generalization about another race.

Those interactions…those intra-racial conversations are what will change things.

I’m hurting because I want to believe in my country. I was born here. My parents were born here. This is my land. This is my home. I am proud to be American. I know we aren’t perfect but I also know that opportunity abounds here. I know that possibility is nourished here. I know that freedom is here. Even if it’s just the freedom to talk about what IS wrong here. I love America.

But this country hurts me, it wounds me, deeply and then refuses to acknowledge my heartbreak. I keep believing in our justice system because I am American and I believe that we can get it right. We can’t get it right until we can admit it’s failures. The justice system failed the family of Trayvon Martin and all of us who hunger for justice and equality.

We held our collective breaths waiting for a verdict that would equal justice. We held our breaths because we knew that Trayvon could have been our father, son, brother or friend. We held our breaths because we know too many people who have been profiled. We held our breaths because we know too many Black men who have been murdered simply because their skin tone made them scary to someone else. We held our breaths and some of us….we are still holding it. We are still waiting for someone to recognize the humanity of our Black boys and men. We are still waiting for justice from a country that we love no matter how much it disappoints us.