This is a combined repost of two posts that were originally on Facebook.
You told us to get our shit together.
You told us to not be something you fear. Then we’d be safe you said.
We won’t fear you if you don’t look so different from us, you said.
So my mother straightened the beautiful curls out of my hair. And she berated me about poking out my lips.
We won’t fear you if you sound like us, you said.
So my mother worked like a dog for abusive white superiors to make money she would pay to white administrators to educate me.
We won’t fear you if you live in the right neighborhoods, you said.
So we lived miles from family and memories.
We don’t fear good citizens, you said.
So my father taught me to volunteer for any and everything.
We don’t fear the educated and honestly employed, you said.
So I earned 2 degrees and worked for abusive white superiors in an industry that could barely stomach the color of my skin.
And after all this, I continued to believe you…
I didn’t just believe you, I perpetuated your lies through my own actions.
I sent him to private and STEM schools.
I sang the praises of education and grades and honor societies.
I kept a toy gun-free home and restricted TV, movies, social media that depicted violence or disregard for human life.
I kept the radio tuned to NPR to keep the misogyny of popular music out of his ears.
I insisted that he begin volunteering this year so that it become a lifelong habit.
And it’s all a damned lie.
Because you still fear this precious, tiny 12yo boy who is still afraid of the dark.
There is NOTHING I can do to make you not fear him.
You fear our poverty and our privilege.
You fear our strength and our weakness.
You fear our darkness and our dignity.
You fear our silence and our shouts.
You fear what you no longer control. You HATE that you no longer control.
So White people, this is no longer on me, on us. I refuse to allow you to shift the burden of your insecurities, fear and HATE, upon me and mine.
It’s time for YOU to GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER.