The last few days have been a whirlwind on social media, and I’ve struggled finding the right words to describe how I feel about what’s going on in the world. As a light skin black woman, I’ve often felt “not black enough” to find my voice when things like this happen. Time and time again growing up I heard “but you’re not even that black” “you’re barely even black” as if the discrimination and injustice should “barely” effect me, as if my skin isn’t dark enough to feel it.
Growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood and school, I didn’t see many girls that looked like me. Not at school, not on tv, and having two white parents, not at home either. I remember going to bed asking God to make my hair straighter and my eyes lighter, so that I looked like my friends and my parents, so that the kids at school would stop teasing me or telling me that “I must be adopted.”
A few days ago an anonymous cheerleading hate account was posting photos of me and my teammates. I was astounded to click the picture of myself and read the one word caption, “N***er.” I didn’t tell friends or family because for some reason a part of me felt ashamed. There is no word that can be used to slander the majority of the people I know in such a way. I didn’t know how to talk about it. The next day, the news of George Floyd broke. It happened again. It’s 2020 and somehow racism is still VERY much alive and real.
I’ve spent 25 years learning to love exactly who I am. I love my curly hair, I love my brown eyes, I love my melanin skin. I am powerful, I am strong, and I know that I am a role model to so many. Staying silent is not the example I want to set.
This is not a political issue, this is a human rights issue. This is systematic racism and oppression. This shouldn't have happened once and it should never happen again. This is not a discussion. It’s time for change.
Black is bold.
Black is beautiful.
BLACK. LIVES. MATTER.