It’s been a while since I’ve posted on oprahzipbradford.com, but I’m proud to be back and sharing my voice on my platform. Today, I want to shed light on my opinion about being a black woman in America. The world is facing the huge impact on our hearts towards the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmad Abrey who all died at the hands of injustice and systemic racism. My hearts goes out to the grieving families of the victims, and I pray justice will be served for them.
Lately, the world has been faced with many factors and opinions causing everyone to be on edge and taking a huge stand towards racism and police brutality. Social media has spurred in different directions with everyone giving their views and perspectives on this matter. As for me, I have experienced good conversations spreading awareness. But I have also experienced ugly & ignorant conversations which led to me being blocked by individuals, and also having to do some blocking of my own when I noticed this is definitely a critical time where people are showing their true colors and views.
Racism is ugly. Racism is real. Racism is holding us back from true equality in the world. I am a black woman who has experienced racism in my life going all the way back to my childhood.
My first racial encounter stems all the way back to elementary school when I was in kindergarten. My mama was always the type to put my name on all my school supplies. One day, I saw my white teacher literally scratch out my name with a marker on one of my folders, and she gave it to a little white girl in my class. I didn’t know the depth of what I was feeling because I was only 5 or 6 years old…but I knew what she did was wrong. When I got home, I told my mom what happened. And my mama has never been the one to sweep things under the rug. She is going to take action, so she definitely went to my school and addressed the teacher putting her in the right place.
Another encounter happened in my 20’s. My friends and I were outside waiting on another friend to get off work. It was dark outside, and we were just hanging around the car talking and not bothering anyone. A middle aged white man with his young son in the car pulled up and asked us what we were doing and then had the audacity to say, “the building has cameras surrounded.” All my friends, including me, looked at him like “WTF” and told him it would be wise if he drove off, and that’s what he did… because he could have gotten the business and his rights read in front of his son. That’s how angry he left us.
I am not afraid to say I am outraged with how some people in the world doesn’t care about what happens to black men and black women, and the most disheartening part is that even some of my own race aren’t blinking an eye either at the chaos going around in the world. As a black person, how can you be black and NOT be outraged about what’s going on?? I’m not going to put the whole problem on other races because I see some people of my race being silent too. And silence is also a response. ALL of us have to get out of the mindset “if it’s not happening to me or somebody I know, I don’t care”. Because the minute s**t hits “close to home”, you have a whole different perspective now. WAKE UP PEOPLE and stop living in a bubble and stop living in a fantasy land when they have real stuff going on in the world. I’m just saying.
There are also people who have been silent about the injustice, but very loud about the looting and rioting recently going on. Although I don’t agree with the looting and the numerous businesses that were affected in the process, I also know there is a bigger picture at hand even though we may not see the results right now. It’s insulting to say you care about the businesses being affected, but not raising your voice about the lives that were taken as well. Start caring about black men and black women. Start caring about black women like me.
In the words of Malcolm X, “the most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”
There are also people of different races who want equality just as much as black people do, but they might not know how to approach the tough and uncomfortable conversations and situations without coming off as insensitive or offensive. There are ways to come together towards a closer step towards equality, but we have to stop gaslighting the black community with hurtful terms such as the following:
- “But what about black on black crime?
- “Other people are dying, too.”
- “I don’t see color.”
- “Why are they overreacting?”
- “I am not racist because I have black friends” (after doing or saying something racist.)
- “Stop blaming history and take responsibility.”
- “Is the change that has already happened not enough?”
- “Why do these brutality videos only show the end? What did they do to get there?”
- Using MLK quotes to tell people how you think they should protest or grieve
(sourced from http://www.alyssamariewellness.com)
And the main one that some people have used as a broken record… “It shouldn’t be Black Lives Matter. All lives matter.”
If you want to be a part of the change, please refrain from saying the above statements. PLEASE. It comes off as ignorant, hurtful, biased, and one sided. I even got in a recent, but healthy debate, with an older white man on Facebook who didn’t believe that “white privilege is real” after a dear friend of mine (who happens to be white) firmly stated that white privilege is INDEED real. This was my response:
“I see some people getting really mad about her saying white privilege is real, so as a black woman, let me shed light on my perspective and what it means in my eyes. I also work for my own money and I don’t get handouts from the government either, and I agree that some people (whether you’re black or white) have to work twice as harder due to certain circumstances etc. Her privilege theory was leading more to the injustice part of what’s going on with unarmed black men being killed for no reason because it’s becoming too familiar for my race and we are tired of it. I understand crimes happen everyday dealing with all races and backgrounds. I’m not saying my race is the ONLY ones being killed by senseless cops and harmful acts by other human beings, but I am saying that I shouldn’t have to fear for my life just because of the color of my skin. I’m not white and I never will be, so I don’t get to feel the easy feeling of being stopped by a cop and having no worries about it. I will have the feeling of uneasiness because as a black woman, I don’t know what’s going to happen in the situation, and that’s the sad reality of it. And that is what my friend meant when she said white privilege is real.”
My response received really positive feedback (but of course, there’s always going to be that person who strongly disagrees), and those are the people I am choosing not to waste energy on. Instead I will focus on becoming a better person not only for the black community, but for the world, because it takes ALL of us to see the changes. My heart was filled with joy when I learned all 50 states were doing peaceful protesting and not being silent. It’s a step leading in the right direction for our country.
In closing, I will leave you with Psalm 27. The words hit directly what my heart is trying to say during these tough times.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
More equality. More hope. More humanity. More pride. More acceptance. More Love.
Until next time,