When I Talk About Black People, I Don’t Expect White People To Understand
I do it for me, not for you
A White woman told me to research the information she provided — refuting what I tweeted:
Her response which I won’t post out of respect for the fact that she probably didn’t think I would use the same platform she uses to expose our exchange — cut me like a knife. I battled with myself as I walked to the gym — and felt the familiar urge to jot down my emotions — harden my steps under the pelting sun rays. The cluelessness on her part of how offensive this was — clogged my pathway to a higher ground. And I weirdly felt the need to cuddle her by thanking her for letting me know how she felt at my expense.
Yeah, this was going to be really hard for me to let go.
It’s difficult because when a White person invades your thought process — and then proceeds to shit all over it — with her special contribution — that ends up celebrating her privilege — you can’t deny the warrior instinct to vent.
I guess things do pile up when you turn the other cheek.
Not long ago — an older White man who writes poetry on Medium — responded to one of my pieces with a jab at the fact that my celebrated popularity was rooted in my genius ability to use the issue of race as my winning hand.
And now, after another Medium writer, who I actually admire — attempted to hint at the same thing by thwarting my efforts to extol the memory of a victim — who didn’t get enough love when it mattered — I have no choice but to address this head on — and with no filter.
First off, I don’t write for anyone’s benefit. Black or White.
I appreciate the hearts, claps, and whatever response option comes next — but ultimately, the only one who matters is me.
I know how the policing and garbaging of Black people works because I’ve been personally affected by it. Back then — it was a foregone conclusion that we will always be assumed guilty, without the respect of fair judgment or humane discretion. Looking back — it’s incredible how normal it was to hear my brother rehash the stories of driving through Morristown, NJ, a mostly White suburb — with the expectation of being pulled over.
He was right every time. His late night haul back home — meant that he would have a lot of explaining to do.
Tamir, because he was only twelve when he was murdered, while indulging in America’s most prized tradition. He was playing in a park — and like most boys — he had a thing for cops and robbers. Actually, I don’t know what game he was playing. I just know that he had a toy gun — and the White cop thought he was an adult wielding a real gun and shot Tamir in the stomach.
I’ve often imagined him lying on the ground — staring at the sky with the warmth of his blood providing the coffin for his soul. I’ve often calculated how much better his chances would’ve been if he had been a chubby youngster with wildly curled blond locks — shooting directly at the officer in his path.
Sandra, because she was me on those days when the commute taps me out before I have the chance to earn my living. I can’t shake off the notion that she died for me. She was forcefully ejected from her car and dragged to her death. As a Black woman — it feels shitty to comprehend how much more at risk you are — compared to your White counterparts.
When I tweeted what I tweeted about Tamir Rice — I did it to express my frustration that more notables didn’t illustrate their grief. I was aware — and I recall the absolute horror of logging the silence emanating from the same celebs that are now publicly stoning Trump for his trifling ways.
White people aren’t allowed to pick and choose moments to finally denounce the unfathomable. And they are not allowed to question a Black person’s motives by challenging whatever they don’t understand because they’re White.
Your privilege works in many ways, but it ends with me.
I won’t tolerate your abrasiveness and insults that are packaged in that pure case of trying to enlighten — in case my insatiable appetite for controversy and Black casualties — clouds my dimmed vision.
The White woman who recommended Google for my education and regular updates on how Black Lives do Matter when you hit “enter” — will never truly grasp how she turned me upside down. My anger left me sweaty with confusion and defeat. It also allowed me to finally own the betrayal — that I knew was coming.
Eventually, White people show you who they are.
I learned that the hard way as a college student. The praise, smiles and winks are all a cover for the real thing. Generalize much you say? Yeah, I know it’s not all White people — but enough of you harbor the pressure of being politically correct when the lights turn your way.
Here’s the thing, you don’t have to work that shift anymore.
When I release the latest page-filled banter — you don’t have to read it and if you do — you certainly don’t have to clap your approval — as an obligation to the “justice seeker,” What the eff does that even mean anyway?
Dear White people, save your irritation and victimization for yourselves and leave Black people out of it. Don’t question me when I resurrect souls for answers. Don’t tell me how to channel my query to satisfy your need to humble me in the face of unwarranted accusations. Don’t use your Whiteness to reassess my Black pain for the convenience of proving why your Whiteness isn’t half as bad as Black people think. Don’t ask me to ask Google on your behalf — when I’m a Black woman in America with all the knowledge needed to give you and your method of information chills for days. Don’t praise me for being Black at the right time and take a dump on my achievements — as if you could handle being a Black boy in America for five minutes. Don’t respond with assurances of unity and support when you don’t quite get why we talk about this stuff — as if we’re victims — when you know we really ask for it — every single time.
Don’t think I hate White people, because I don’t.
I just hate it when White people instruct me on how to be Black when they don’t fucking no what the fuck they are talking about.
I don’t expect you to understand. You’re White.
FYI: My apologies to those who recognize themselves in this piece. I had to do it. I’m Black.