I would like to share something with my white friends and family. Please hear me out. Please listen very carefully.
I LOVE you. There is no hate between us, no disdain, no blame, nothing but love. I know that you care about me. I know that you love me. I know how you have accepted me and even how you may see me. I am a part of your life and a part of your family. You are a part of my life and a part of my family. However, there tends to be a misunderstanding. So let me be clear - very clear.
I am still BLACK.
Telling me that you don’t see my blackness does not make me feel OK, it makes me feel ignored.
Telling me that you don’t see race does not make me feel safe, it makes me feel more vulnerable because you aren’t acknowledging the reality that I face daily, nor the dangers that I face daily.
Telling me that it’s not about black and white does not make me see a light at the end of the tunnel, it makes me feel alone in this darkness.
Telling me it’s not about me but instead about hate and that people in “other countries” experience this hate too does not shield me from what I am experiencing right here and right now in front of you.
How you see me or don’t see or what it’s about or not about to you, does not address my reality. It does not make me any less at risk. It does not excuse me from exclusion or hate. It does not reset and clean my history as an African American nor my present as an African American. It does not give me equality or make my life equitable to yours. It actually serves to do the opposite because others who don’t love me as you do need you to turn a blind eye in order to continue to target me, to exclude me, to denigrate me, to stereotype me, to criminalize me, to falsely imprison me, to hurt me, and even to kill me.
If I was gay bashed would you say, “It’s not a gay vs straight thing?” Would you say, “I don’t see you as gay?” How does that protect me? How does that defend me?
If I was a woman and was raped, would you say, “It’s not a male vs female thing?” Would you say, “I don’t see you as a woman?” How would that help me? How would that comfort me?
So then why is it when things happen to me or others like me - Black people - do I/we suddenly lose identification, defy description, and become colorless, blank, and neutral beings?
If you love me, if you want to help me, then you must see me for all that I am and not just what is convenient or safe for you to see. You have to see me as I really exist in the physical world, in this skin, in this country, or else you are abandoning me.
I do hope you can hear me today and understand. I love you all dearly. Please heed my truth.