Grasping Race from you know…

A black girl in America.

I usually don’t write about topics like this,  even though I think part of my role in life is to make others uncomfortable.

But the truth is, the topic of racism makes me uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because I’ve encountered many people more willing to talk than listen.  Or because, where I currently reside, I don’t want to be that person.  Maybe it’s because I go to a predominantly white university that pulls amazing students from all over the country, but so few of them look like me.

Maybe I’m the only one who is bothered by this.

The truth is,  I’ve found that race just isn’t something talked about in many white communities. And I understand that; people generally discuss what specifically affects them. It’s no one’s fault. You’re not a bad person if you don’t talk about race.

I never thought that race would be an issue I would have to mull over or wrestle with. Yet, here I am, a senior in college, and over the past couple years this whole Black Lives Matter campaign has seriously caused me to think over what it means to be black (or a minority in general) in America.

I have become rather self-aware, concluding that I likely see the world differently because of my brown skin.

I was raised not to be a statistic. Truly. Because statistics about pregnancy, jail, welfare, and drug abuse are all prominent in the black community.

My dad would tell us that most of the people in the prisons looked like us. I never took it to heart until now.

I think it’s terrible that so many in minority communities have to teach there kids this. But you must realize that no one wants their son to be another black boy shot by the police, so we teach them how to interact with the police when (not if) they encounter them. I’ve been followed in stores before, as has my mom.

You have to understand that there’s still alot of stigma with natural hair being unprofessional, but it’s just our hair. It’s that simple.

You must understand that lower income neighborhoods and single parent homes are so much more evident in minority communities.

I used to be angered by the people I knew that really had no minority friends, but I understand. You can’t help where you grow up, just what you do with it.

That being said, I feel, even more now,  that sometimes it’s hard to black in America.

But I do realize that I am oh so blessed and priveledged. I have a voice that many with my skin tone will never have.

So wouldn’t it just be neglectful to not stand up for them?  Wouldn’t it be rude of me to not devote my thoughts on how America needs to change?  Shouldn’t I seek to learn, to listen, to speak when necessary?

As of now,  I’m still engaging with what it means to be black in America. I’m still learning why topics of race make so many of my white friends uncomfortable.

But mostly,  I’m realizing that it’s okay to want black professors at my school.  It’s okay to be angry about unnecessary police brutality, while still supporting the police and advocating for their safety as well. It’s okay to speak my mind about important topics that involve race, allowing others to think through this as I am thinking through this.

And it’s okay to be heartbroken when I read statistics, because they’re not just numbers. They’re the faces of family and friends, all created uniquely in the image of God, made for a specific purpose with eternity in mind.

It’s okay to talk about race.

-A World Changer

 

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