Recently, I read a post titled, “Why I’m Absolutely An Angry Black Woman” and I don’t have all the words to explain it. It is a must-read and captures the essence of struggle and strife, the burning beauty, and the severe and complex existence of black womanhood. This woman’s statements are all unconscious and conscious thoughts, fears, and experiences that sculpt my being. And what this woman did with my being was give its pain a strengthening voice of ownership, agency, and pride. To continue strengthening this voice, I’ve decided to extend it as I wish for all voices of the oppressed.
Because when I read, “Why I’m Absolutely An Angry Black Woman”, and reflected on my black womanhood I knew there were infinite reasons for black women’s anger. Because when my elementary friend and neighbor, whom was a white girl, was at school she refused to talk to me in front of her “school friends”. Because when I was in middle school I remember my father coming home livid because on his lunch break because police officers arrested him for looking like someone. Because my mother had to file a class action suit for racial discrimination against her job which occupied most of her family time. Because my mom had to work too hard. Because my father was embarrassed of his job and education level.
Because my brother was chased by a police car and they ran his leg into a tree. Because I saw a group of neighborhood boys being taunted and abused by county police officers in their own neighborhood. Because my mother got angry with me for being angry. Because that night I cried and I couldn’t even explain my anger. Because I had to convince my teachers I was adequate enough to enter Advanced Placement courses. Because my high school vice principal said to me, “Your parents probably don’t even care” when I was caught playing hooky. And then proceeded to be surprised when I was an honor student.
Because a dark-skinned boy told me he couldn’t date me because I was too dark. Because I knew his mother was darker than me. Because I knew that going outside in the summer meant no male attention from black men. Because I am always thought to be intimidating. Because I must have a resting bitch face as a shield. Because I have to always be on guard. Because people called me Hazel as a joke. Because I began using that same joke amongst my friends.
Because people defend oppression by saying, “You all had Obama. You have/had a black president”. Because when I went to college, everything was worse. Because I had to wait to get to college to be educated about my history. Because there was a handful of black professors and administrators at my university. Because most of those professors and administrations have left the university. Because I was repeatedly mistaken for a college student by my white colleagues and told, “You should be proud of that”. Because I am consistently told how to feel. Because I overhear professors telling students that protesting is “negative”. Because my history is embedded in protest. Because I can protest for years upon years and continue to be dehumanized.
Because I get anxiety when I hear Kanye’s Gold Digger. Because when I go to rap concerts and hear the unanimous “nigga” amongst the predominately white crowd, I just have to deal. Because I can’t enjoy a damn rap concert without feeling oppressed. Because I’m a Peace Corps volunteer and have heard white volunteers say “nigga” because it’s in a song. Because these same people call themselves allies. Because I feel I can’t even trust the allies.
Because I can’t say all the names of the black women that have died in the hands of police. Because I can recite the Constitution like it was written regarding women like me. Because I can’t watch the police murdering black people on film anymore. Because I keep scrolling and must continue my life. Because I can’t cry in front of people. Because I’ve rarely seen the women in my family shed a single tear when I know they are hurting. Because they feel they have to be strong. Because they have to be superhumanly strong. Because the only compliment I can get from non-black people is that I’m strong.
Because I have to follow @darkskinbaddiesdaily on Instagram to remind myself that beauty does come in dark skin. Because that account even has to exist. Because I hear things like “black on black crime”, “black people are racist too”, and “I honestly don’t see color”. Because Fox News is a fully functioning network of idiots. Because of the ‘coincidence’ that three black federal judges have been reported mysteriously dead or dead by suicide. Because Katy Perry can be on stage with Migos and say “All Set” instead of “Offset”. Because white people think it’s funny to make fun of the words in Southern rap music. Because they have the nerve to think I will laugh with them. Because something that small represents a larger racial problem that I feel I only understand.
Because I’m in Thailand and young girls say to me, “You’re black is beautiful but mine isn’t”. Because I was in a Thai parade and the artist refused to use the foundation I brought that was my shade. Because I looked like a black ghost princess for 6 hours. Because I saw a group of teachers dressed as a Thai ethnic group that has roots in Africa. Because I saw blackface in Thailand in just 5 days of being at site.
Because majority of skin products in Thailand has whitening in it. Because all the textbooks in Thailand have photos and pictures of white people. Because this is one of the many countries that is infected with white supremacy.
“Because there isn’t a place in the world white supremacy hasn’t touched.”
Because I feel like an agent of white supremacy teaching English to Thai youth. Because there is no educational progression unless you know English. Because I can’t write about anything that isn’t about race. Because it consumes my mind, body, and soul. Because I can’t get a break. Because I didn’t ask for this. Because I don’t believe I will see change in my lifetime. Because I don’t even know what change would look like. Because this was so easy to write.