Dear White Privilege,
I appreciate the fact that I can no longer be enslaved because of my melanin.
I appreciate that I can no longer be segregated as a result of my melanin.
I appreciate that I can no longer be arrested for my melanin.
I appreciate that I can no longer be stolen from my parents because of my melanin.
I appreciate that I can no longer be suppressed from voting because of my melanin.
However if you think for one second, that I am equal, think again.
When I was 5 I prayed to god every day that I would wake up white. I did not know about slavery, I did not know about apartheid, I did not know about the stolen generation. I knew however, that I had black skin. I knew that white skin was more beautiful.
When I was 10 my hair was chemically straightened. When I saw my bone straight hair I was ecstatic. I knew my kinks did not belong in this world. My parents or anyone else around me never said my hair was bad. I knew however, that everyone on TV or magazines had “good hair.” Beauty came with terms and conditions, and my nappy hair violated them.
When I was 13 and started liking boys, I always held my tongue because no boy would ever like a girl with dark skin. This idea was woven into existence. No one around me ever looked at black women as beautiful. Beautiful was white, blonde hair and blue eyes.
As a kid I would aim to distance myself from my blackness. I knew I was black but if I didn’t act “black” then I would be able to maneuver the world better. I knew that my existence carried with it a stereotype and I am not the “loud, aggressive and opinionated black woman.” So I made sure I made myself as personable and agreeable as possible. I laughed as my white friends threw around the word ‘nigga’ and said jokes fueling the existing black stereotype.
I distanced myself from my own culture. I saw the dialects that poured from my parent’s mouths and it reminded me of my inability to shut off the reality that I was black.
In the last year I have had a mentality change in terms of the way that I see the world. This world is not equal, nor does it actively seek to achieve equality.
Growing up, my father told me time and time again “you have to work three times as hard to get the exact same thing someone who is white has.” I always dismissed him, I always saw his views as extreme and that while discrimination occurred in the past, these injustices don’t occur to me.
To someone who has never experienced racism, one person might agree that my father is reading too into it, and racism doesn’t work that way anymore.
My parents created that mantra from experience. The reality is that they do not say this because they want to bring me down; rather they want me to rise up despite the odds. They have experienced the pain that dark skin brings, and use their experiences to prepare me for the life I have ahead.
Today is another day that I decolonize my mind from your toxic thoughts.
White supremacy, you have existed amongst my ancestors and I am saddened by the idea that you will plague my grand children. However, you are akin to a drink, and with every generation your concentration with lessen. 200 years ago your taste overpowered the senses. Though your taste has been diluted, your aftertaste burns my tongue. I hope one day your taste will cease to exist.
The very black