Oh S#*T I’m Black: And Other Things Ferguson Taught Me

I know it sounds really bizarre, but somewhere along the way I’d forgotten that I am indeed Black. I’ve run from my ethnicity for most of my life because of many negative experiences I’ve had with those of my very own race — sad I know, childish maybe, but a scar is a scar.  I have had many experiences that made me want to identify with anyone other than my race and in-turn myself.

In a way I was forced out of my race — by my own race. That’s a story for another time.

I’m embarrassed that I have let others form my world in this way, but I am working on it, and I’m healing.

The death murder of Micheal Brown has painfully peeled the naive ignorance from my eyes. If it is at all possible for a black woman to possess “white privilege” then that is . . . was me.

Over the past few weeks I have been hit hard with many realizations. As soon as I felt that I had “recovered” from the last bit of information I was knocked back down. So many needed reminders shocked me out of my fog:

  • Rodney King
  • Hurricane Katrina
  • THIS! The last words of many young men that were killed.
  • Oh and the fact that a fundraiser that has raised more money for Darren Wilson than Micheal Brown’s family

…and so many more sad truths. It was as if God was not going to let me, slip back into my ignorance.He made sure I got dose after dose of truth.

I was intoxicated with faux “White Privilege”.

What do I mean by that?

I mean that even though I am a black woman, I’ve always tried my hardest to distance myself from being black because of the pain from my past. Seeing things from the White point of view has always come easier for me. I’ve made excuses as to why other races may see us the way they do.  I’ve always felt safe here in America.  I’ve never felt that I had been discriminated against, and honestly all of the black power stuff has truly been offensive and annoying to me.

BUT NO MORE!!

I can’t believe I’m being this honest, but there you have it!

Ferguson Has Opened My Eyes in 4 Big Ways.

  1. I am a Black Woman. Living in a country where I’m seen by many as less than. There is no other way to put it.
  2. I have been naive to the reality of my existence, my history as a Black woman. I was reading an amazing article on “White Privilege” written by a white woman who knows more about Black History than I do. She truly connected the dots in ways I would have never been able to on my own. She has more passion for the issue of racism than I have ever HAD (past tense). To me — That. Is. Sad!
  3. I have embraced White Privilege?! WTF? In the article that I mentioned above she describes it this way.

The White privilege to forget history allows us to see this news, apparently, without seeing the unique pain and significance of a Black body, left dead, in public. Whiteness gives us (yes, I will own my privilege as a White woman) the privilege to ignore the centuries of mutilated Black bodies left dead, in public, evidence that they were worth less/worthless, or worse, in order to silence and terrorize anyone who dared not believe that Blackness made a person subhuman.

I, as a black woman did not understand the significance of a BLACK body being left in the road for hours for all to see. I got that it was wrong, horrible, disgraceful, barbaric but I was not able to see it from the point of view of a Black woman.

Reading this article changed the world as I’ve known it!

4. I’m afriad. With all of this new understating, where do I go from here? How do I educate myself, embrace my blackness and my history without becoming a bitter, resentful woman?

There is such a double standard when It comes to remembering our past, what we as a people have been through and what we are still going through. There’s a fine line that we walk between becoming the angry black woman and being enlightened about our past.

Jews are taught to NEVER forget their slavery!

Even if it occurred thousands of years ago. While working at “The Temple” here in Atlanta one of the teachers there told me to never forget our slavery. Likewise they never forget theirs. They observe Passover every single year to remember their deliverance, and it’s a beautiful celebration. Additionally no one encourages them to forget the Holocaust.

Sadly, I feel if I remember my history–Black history, I will be seen as an angry black woman?! Racist even. Maybe it’s because we aren’t far enough removed from our slavery. It still exists.

America does not care about us — ANY of us.

It brings tears to my eyes. It’s not just about race. In contrast with other countries, America doesn’t care about our privacy or our health etc.. . . Other countries have strict regulations on what it allows in there people food and cosmetics. Why isn’t it the same here?

My eyes are open. Ignorance was blissful for a while but the bliss is gone . . . Now what?  I am no longer ashamed or afraid to being a Black Woman. I was put in this beautiful skin for a reason . . . by GOD! I have to sit back and ask myself what His purpose is for me.

Just like I had to educate myself on the food I eat and become vegetarian,  the products I use and go “natural” . . . Home Birth . . . Circumcision, etc., I have to educate myself on MY history and decide where to go from there. I am no longer ashamed.


 

This is somewhat out of place but I wanted to share . . . My husband is a White man that has said that he is ashamed of being white because of the past and present circumstances. I am a Black Woman who has been ashamed of being black because of the past and present circumstances. Isn’t that ironic.

I Raivon Lee have Black Pride! If I am not proud of who I am — if we don’t embrace ourselves it’s hard for others to. It took 29 years but finally I understand, I get it! I am so thankful for all of the white voices that have spoken up! Your fight against racism has abolished the racism I had against myself.

I have to allow myself to feel the pain of the truth but  I will wear my new found pride it gracefully, I will forsake resentment and bitterness.

skin

Fulfilled Living
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4 Comments

  • Bernorris Rozier
    August 28, 2014 at 12:07 am

    That’s right!

  • kandije
    September 22, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Very nice post!