With all the events going on in our nation, surrounding police officers and the black community, I'm even more aware of my hair and my skin color-my brown skin. As a kid I was too busy trying to fit in. Trying to be white. Trying to reject my culture. I got my relaxers in hopes that my hair would move and shake like my white friends. I was called a "black white girl" and for years I was proud of that. I fit in. I was the exception to the their perception of black people. I was black but not one of "them" (the black people everyone is "scared" of). I made it a point to say that I was embarrassed when a black person was being "too loud" or "doing the most". I wanted so desperately to be accepted that as a kid I tried to reject my culture. I was "In" and "they" (the ghetto black people) were out. Somehow, white people loved me and I celebrated that. When I got to college, I was rudely awakened to the fact that white people thought I was some anomaly. I realized, being told I was a "black white girl" was an insult. A way to say I am just good enough to fit in and be accepted by white people. I'm sure they didn't mean it that way, or at least I hope they didn't, but it hurt. I could count the number of black girls on our campus with my two hands. Over time we got more black girls but truth be told, I found my people in college. I realized we needed to stick together. I made white friends too but my friendship with black people became life giving. We had common ground and didn't need to search for it. Today, I celebrate my blackness, my culture, my hair, my people.Wether you choose to acknowledge it or not, people of color know that society believes white is better. Just look at this video. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYCz1ppTjiM&w=560&h=315]My dearest and best friends are white and we have had some hard conversations about the things going on in our nation. Let me tell you, it's not easy for me to truly share how it feels to be a black face in a white place. We adapt to white culture daily. I cannot tell you how hurtful it is to see hateful comments about black people and how "unruly" we are. Seeing comments that justify Dajerria Becton being slammed on the ground by a cop because she "mouthed off", yet a 21-year-old white male gets a pass and sympathy after he brutally murders 9 people. I am baffled by this.I am convinced the only way true change will happen is when people allow the love of God to fill their hearts and minds, as well as, open dialogue and education about racial disparities. If you don't believe in God, I still believe that everyone has a conscience and can support and advocate for humanity. Simply because it's awful to let hate fill your heart. We can lobby for a change in legislation but that will not change the hearts of men. The hearts of men like Dylan who wanted to start a race war. Only God can change hearts. I've been doing a lot of self-examination because this stuff is hard to digest and process. I think if more people tried to self evaluate and open up their perspective to see where people of color are coming from, then maybe more hearts would join in unity. That may be a long shot but I am hoping it can happen.We just want to have equal rights. Dylan gets a trial but what about Eric Garner? What about Michael Brown? John Crawford III? Ezell Ford? Dante Parker? Tanisha Anderson?Akai Gurley? Jerame Reid? Walter Scott? Freddie Gray? Their fate was decided by a police officer not a judge or jury. None of them got a chance to set foot in court. They just got killed. Dylan kills 9 people and they escort him to the car with a bullet proof vest on. If you don't understand why black people are crying out for justice then you are choosing not to see. It's plain and clear. America needs to change.I will speak out and call out injustice because we aren't yelling loud enough yet. Some people stopped using blatant racist rhetoric because it became unacceptable but the same language strategically morphed into political rhetoric. The media has made it seem like people of color are lazy and stealing all of the government assistance money and don't work but guess what? U.S. Department of Agriculture data from 2013, which administers welfare, 40.2 percent of SNAP recipients are white, 25.7 percent are Black, 10.3 percent are Hispanic, 2.1 percent are Asian and 1.2 percent are Native American. If you don't believe me watch this documentary by Tim Wise, it's free, you have no excuses, watch it.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItiXR5m1yAY&w=560&h=315]We will not be silent. #BlackLivesMatter
Thank you MLK for paving the way for me.
Thank you for inspiring me.
For paving the way for me and all the other black men and women in this country.
For putting up a good fight and promoting non-violence.
For being the original leader of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, because they do matter.
Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.-MLK
You and many others went to jail for our people.
You and many others led the way and got beaten for our freedom.
While we have come a long way, we still have work to do.
Its in times like these that I wish you were here.
Times where the church is needing healing.
Times where Facebook can be platform for division and not much change.
Times where young unarmed black men are being shot and no one is held accountable.
Times where it would seem that the police and the black community are at war.
Times where the people of all colors are demanding justice.
Its in times like this, where I feel like the movement stopped when you died.
Our people lost hope and got discouraged.
Our people gave into mental slavery.
In some ways, it feels like we are back to the 1960's Riots.
In spite of the statistics and facts, we are still pressing on.
Some may never truly understand what it means to us have a Black President.
Some may not understand this movement.
To the white brothers and sisters, that stood and continue to stand with us, thank you. I know that some of you did want to help MLK's dream come true.While in someways that dream was fulfilled, in other ways his work did not get finished,there is more work to be done. Will you still stand with us?
Thanks to MLK breaking down walls, some of my best friends are white.
Color does not divide us.
I pray we as a black community can continue the work MLK was after.
I hope, we can have hard conversations without fear of what people will think about us.
I hope, we will have the boldness to stand up for our rights and use our voices, intellect, and determination to make a difference in our communities.
I know, we can build a bridge and tear down walls of deep seated racism and prejudice in this country.
That starts with you and me and the church.
To the church: As MLK said, "He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it."
May we open our hearts and minds.
Speak with love and compassion.
But may we NOT remain silent.
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It's no secret that racial tensions are alive and well today. For black people this movie was brilliant and laced with truth and statistics. Why do you think real housewives of Atlanta (all the housewives shows) get so many views? People love to watch that mess and guess what? Who mainly watches it? A Caucasian audience, the same group who purchase 70 percent of the rap music played in this country. The point of Dear White People was to bring the dialogue and stereotypes to the forefront. To expose the fact that black people are lumped into a group and if you divert from that said "group" you are trying to be White or you have to earn your acceptance from the White community by proving that your education takes precedence over the color of your skin.The movie also revealed the inner tension amongst the black community. Some of us aren't the next Malcolm X and all White people aren't bad and awful, nor are they all racist. That would be a narrow view of people. It is ignorant to lump everyone in one group. I'm learning not to label people racist so quickly. I believe a lot of people are uneducated about black culture and therefore make assumptions and statements about black culture based on the news or TV shows. A lot of people do not live in an area where there are black people. So what they grasp of our culture is media based. Unfortunately, the media is biased. As much as we would like to think racism is dead it isn't. When you turn on your TV and you watch who the reporters choose to interview on local television (Antoine Dodson, Sweet Brown), you know there is an agenda-get ratings. While we all laugh (myself included) and joke, the truth is, people view black culture through that lens. Let a Black person be dressed nice and articulate their words and it's as if you are apart of a zoo, everyone is fascinated that you have been "tamed". When in fact, slang was never allowed in my household and my dad was a stickler about our presentation and dressing nicely.Honestly, growing up, I did not like my skin color. Lighter the better. I wished God made me light like my dad. I felt the inner struggle of being called "white" because I was educated and articulated my words. On top of that I was homeschooled. Can you just guess how many black kids were at the homeschool group? Like 10 out of over a 100. It was hard to find people to identify with. The reason I personally didn't struggle that much with being the only black person was because my parents never allowed us to view our skin color as a disadvantage. Truth is, no matter that country or area of the world you are from, in America, people see black, white, Hispanic, Asian, and indian decent,etc. we are all lumped in groups based on looks. No one is going to look at me and see that my great grandmother was half white and we are of German decent on my paternal side, no one will look at me and know that. They just see black and my hair.Now as an adult, I have learned how to love myself and love my heritage and culture. I have also become quite aware of how differences still exist. While my crew and friends are diverse, the world does not look at me the way they do. We have worked hard to build a friendship. We have worked hard to learn about one another's cultures and have engaged in hard conversations with one another.Dear White People was a breath of fresh air for me. One of the opening lines said "Dear White People the amount of black friends you need to have so you don't seem racist has now been raised to 2." It challenges popular culture and shows that black young people are trying to hold onto their heritage and be a people who can be proud of who we are and where we come from. I don't want to give up my culture to fit in. It won't happen. I've spent my young teen years trying to camouflage my heritage. My great grandparents and grandparents fought too hard for my freedoms for me to throw their hard work away. I want to be apart of breaking stereotypes about black culture. The news and mass media paint us in such a negative light. FACT: There are bad people everywhere of every color.I so desperately wish hair, color and everything else weren't dividing factors. I wish it wasn't something that kids got teased over. I wish we could all get along. I wish we could have these hard conversations without fear of retaliation from one side vs. the other. I wish we could unite and learn from one another. I wish people didn't point out when all the black people are on one side of the room like its a big deal. No one says anything about segregation until a group of black people are sitting together amongst white people and all the sudden we have a non "blended" group. Why is this an issue? Why do we make it an issue? Trust me I wrestle with this because there are things that I have said and done and wondered, why do I think my hair is not as good because it is corse? Why have I thought I'm not as beautiful because my skin is dark? Why have I thought, I don't want to marry someone dark so my kids won't be dark and have to deal with being teased? Why? I have a lot of questions and not many answers besides a burden to pray and a heart to see Black people believe the best of themselves and understand that they can accomplish their goals and don't have to give into the status quo that we are less than, because we are not. No matter what our skin color is and where we are from, we all have purpose and value.I love teaching and helping. I love telling people about black culture and explaining our jokes and humor. I would teach a class or hold a webinar for people wanting to learn more about black hair and how to do it. Especially for the adoptive moms. Raising a black child can be hard. Trust me, if I have experienced it and felt the differences and feeling out of place and I had two black parents, imagine what a kid who doesn't have that will feel like? It's tough and I'm praying for all of you as you navigate tough waters.Moving forward starts with people coming with open hearts and minds and leaving their backpack full of junk behind (maybe we need to throw out some tables as James suggested). It's time for our nation to realize that racial tensions and biases still exist. That's why Ferguson is experiencing so much tension. It's evident that local leadership must change. Whatever the story, black youth being killed by the police is a problem. We have a justice system to deal with offenders accordingly (I am not going to get into our flawed justice system dialogue, that is a whole different discussion).Something has got to change. It's starts with us. It starts with knowing who our local leadership is. Not only that, we need more diversity in politics and we need for more minorities to get engaged in representing the communities. Especially communities whose demographics are predominantly minorities. We need to educate our youth and young adults on the importance of local elections. It's imperative that we learn the value of voting. There was a lot of depth in movie. Although it was presented in a funny manner, the purpose was to make people think. To me it's great way to begin the hard discussion that needs to occur between cultures. My friend, James Hill said it best in his article "Don’t Invite Me to the Table (Allow Me to Help You Turn it over and Take it out)"
However, I am fervently convinced that we cannot have constructive dialogue until we are first willing to partake in deconstructive dialogue. I believe with all my heart that if our unity is based on a fallacy, blessed be division. Moreover, I am all for inclusion, however, when our ‘inclusion’ is used as a subtle tactic to eviscerate a movement of all its raw and influential potency, it becomes nothing more than a co-opted tool of Satan and must be extinguished at the root. It does us no good to ornately decorate a table in the midst of burning house. We preserve ourselves, not by taking a seat at a table that is sure to be consumed in fire, but, rather, by having enough sense to know that sitting down is not what we need to be doing as the roof is caving in on us.I understand that removing a table concretized in moral folklore is never easy. Many have taken pride in the so-called table of reconciliation. You’ve told many jokes on this table. You’ve shared countless half-off appetizers on this table. There is no way you can muster the strength and courage to flip over the table of unseen power and privilege. Don’t worry, we see your struggle.Allow us to help you take it out. We never liked that table anyway.
I am thankful to be apart of a generation willing to get dirty and tear off the roofs of oppression. A generation willing to go to bat for one another. This movement happening in Ferguson, Hong Kong and all over the nation and world is about people of all colors standing up for freedom and saying NO MORE.Comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts.