I’m black, I’m tired, and while I love being black, I’m tired of the experiences of prejudice because of my race not being taken seriously.
Yup, you just found yourself another black person’s think piece in which they complain about their experience in America. You’re probably sick and tired of these by now, but there is a good reason why these are prevalent.
Race is such a sensitive topic that either no one talks about it or they try to tip-toe around the subject. I’m not with that. If we’re going to talk about race let’s talk about race because believe it or not, it matters in society and our day-to-day interactions more than some people are aware of.
White people, no matter where they go, unless they’re actively forcing a persona, have a clean slate in the U.S. There are few assumptions made about them and everywhere they go, there are people who look just like them. Matter of fact, there are some instances where they can choose to not interact with people who don’t look like them.
On the other hand, my people and I are black. That’s literally the first thing everyone sees when we’re walking around. Our slate doesn’t come clean. Our slate comes with “aggressive” or “loud.” Our slate comes with teachers setting their expectations low for us. Our slate comes with the assumption that we’re at predominantly white schools for an athletic scholarship. Man, I’m 5 feet 9 inches tall and weigh 135 pounds. What sport am I going to play? Badminton?
No, I don’t think white people understand how much different our day-to-day life experience is from theirs. Have you ever been followed around a convenience store by an employee? Have you ever had to go to a job interview and one of your immediate thoughts is, “Man, I hope these people aren’t prejudiced.” Have your parents ever had to sit you down and warn you about how to avoid conflict with cops? You know, like the people that are supposed to be the ones serving and protecting everybody? Oh.
So, yes, I’m complaining; why wouldn’t I? My race is seen before any other characteristic of mine. It’s extremely frustrating. So when you condemn us for putting ourselves and our experiences into the center stage for people to comprehend, that’s such a slap in the face. When Colin Kaepernick took that knee, everyone who was against him judged the what but never bothered to question the why. Black athletes are everyone’s favorite until they decide to speak on something that matters to them.
In a study conducted by the National Center of State Courts entitled “Helping Courts Address Implicit Bias,” you can see the concept of implicit bias is very real. Implicit biases are “…[biases] in judgment and/or behavior that results from subtle cognitive processes.” The thing is, though, there are judges, teachers, and public service workers, people with power who have these biases, that can make the life experience of minorities harder than it has to be.
Just because racism, prejudice, or discrimination isn’t happening to you doesn’t mean it’s not happening to someone else. Our shouts of “black lives matter” isn’t to exclude or make us seem superior to others; it’s a reminder that our experiences matter. Even through constant invalidation and people chalking up our genuine concerns are simple “complaints,” we’re still determined to be heard. All we want is some cooperation.
By the way, the fact of the matter isn’t that white people are oblivious. Everyone knows there’s a problem but they just don’t care. Don’t believe me? Ask any white person if they’d prefer to be treated as a minority instead of how they’re treated now.