A Bit of Real Life, General Writing


basic silhouette1-blackI’m intelligent. I have perspective, can put events and people in context. I know what’s happening in my country is #NotAllCops, but the latest video making the rounds (a teenage girl of color violently dragged from her high school desk by a cop for having a cell phone) makes me livid to the point of catatonia. It’s hard to concentrate, or work effectively, when the men in the white hats are exuding pure darkness. I resent the force hired to protect us, and coldness is setting in. They face danger in doing their jobs…. And?

I don’t want to feel this way; I don’t want to pass beat cops with disgust, or look through them as if transparent, or feel indifferent as to their safety. But I’m human, and I can only see people who look like me abused, assaulted, and killed for so long before the rage bubbles up. I don’t want to call them in an emergency. I don’t want to see their uniforms, I don’t want to trust them to be the good guys, New York’s “finest” (as vague a term as I’ve ever heard). From what I’ve learned this summer, I shouldn’t drive, lean against a hotel, attend a BBQ, turn my back in a wheelchair. And I *definitely* shouldn’t be a teen with a cell phone in school. To quote a friend, I should basically avoid “blacking while black.” Where does it leave me?

Currently it leaves me with resentment, bitterness, numbness. It leaves me with a humanity I struggle to hold together as its foundation is tested almost daily. It makes me feel less like myself and more like a stranger who wants to spit epithets & demand retribution. All of which would undoubtedly give those cloaked in blue an easy fallback that I’m disgruntled, violent, needing to be locked up. And as we know, even a local jail may be a death sentence.

What I can do now is take breaks. From media, social or otherwise. From the endless parade of videos. A traffic stop gone wrong. A stop and frisk gone wrong. A cell phone mistaken for a gun are you f*cking kidding me gone wrong. I’m meditating, and praying, and leaning on my humor and the humor of my friends, because I feel threatened. Not in a vague sense. I feel directly threatened as a black woman in this country, and currently, ironically, and unhappily, I have to choose to ignore the plight of others some days to save my sanity. I feel off balance, traitorous, cold blooded. In this way I survive. Every day I hope to do more than that, but for today, my armor is thick. It weighs me down, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s what I have. I want to move through the world today safe. Time will tell if I do.


9 thoughts on “Blacking”

  1. It feels… wrong… to “like” this. I really just want to say, “I feel you.” Most depressing for me is the realization that so many seem so very indifferent to the pain of so many.


  2. I’m a white man that came across your blog by chance. I know how angry and frustrated the hatred, ignorance and brutality make me, and I don’t have to live it day to day. I’m aware that I only have a vague sense of what black Americans actually have to experience, and that already seems like more than I could handle. I am sorry about how pervasive racism still is, and I’m sorry that so many white people don’t see it or try to understand it. It seems to be so deeply woven into our society that white people don’t notice it like they don’t notice the air. The overwhelming unfairness of it all breaks my heart.


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