A major reason I started this blog was to speak out on racial issues and injustices that I witness and experience in everyday life. Police brutality*, racially motivated hate crimes and murder, (the irony of simultaneous) cultural appropriation and demonization, careless microagressions to major oppression, and the perpetuance of institutional inequality.
However, actually writing about those things is extremely difficult, and I’ve come to realize why that is.
Every single day, we, as a black community, are confronted with instances that illustrate the continued prominence of racially motivated hatred and inequality. Continuously confronting, being confronted by, and dealing with these actions and their effects is exhausting and, after so much exposure, is traumatizing. Especially when it is in relation to police brutality and racially motivated murder.
Over the course of this past year alone I have read so many articles, scrolled through an overwhelming amount of posts and headlines, watched countless videos where people, my people, are being brutalized, murdered, harassed, and arrested. So many names of innocent people, gone, because of their skin color. To constantly deal with the reality of that is exhausting; it makes you angry, it makes you cry, it makes you feel like you are nothing more than your skin color because of the perceptions of others. It puts a fear into you.
Whenever I’m in the proximity of a police officer my stomach drops to the floor and I feel nauseous, my palms get sweaty, my heart feels like it’s pounding in my head, and I start to shake; I’m afraid to look them in the eyes for fear that they’ll confront me, I don’t like to stand near them because it heightens my anxiety and makes action on their part all the more likely. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering whether or not I would call the police if something bad were happening to me. How much trauma would I be willing to suffer through to avoid the very real possibility of losing my life at the hands of law enforcement.
This kind of fear should not live in anyone, least of all in a petite, law abiding, teenaged girl.
Black trauma is real. The reasons it exists are sickening and the reasons it is perpetuated are unbelievable.
To write about people like Sandra Bland and Eric Garner and the countless others who have their lives because of their skin is draining. To exist in a world where the necessity to always be on the move to take significant proactive action towards equality for people of color is never ending, and seemingly never lessened, is draining. To have to constantly explain and justify your humanity, why you should deserve to live, and why you should be equal is psychologically taxing. To state the obvious to the incredulous masses to no avail can seem futile. And all of those things compounded makes it difficult to keep moving. However, despite this, upon realizing that black trauma is a real thing that even I suffer from, it is much easier to come to terms with the reactions that I, and various other people have in relation to race related travesties. And understanding is the first step towards creating a solution.
I only hope that over time the sources of trauma will be lessened and the ability to overcome and persist through the damage will be heightened.
Until then, keep fighting in whatever way you are able to.
Black lives matter.
*Police brutality is a complex issue and I understand that it is multidimensional and sometimes, in an ironic way, nondiscriminatory; however, police brutality in relation to race is preeminent, and is the focus within the context of this post.