The Letter Series: Dear Black People

We are not doing enough. We are not saving each other. We are not protecting our children. We are not acting intelligently. We are not doing enough.

My Facebook thread has been inundated with video clips, memes, news paper articles, and blog entries. The television in my living room is almost always on, and it is almost always on MSNBC. The people of MSNBC have been covering the Michael Brown story almost exclusively since it happened, with only brief breaks to cover the other happenings around the world. I have watched from the comfort of my home in suburbia. I have listened to the reports and ensuing conversations between my non-black coworkers in silence. I have watched my feed, from Ferguson to funny post and have been disappointed by the fact that people are more apt to lend their words and actions to spread awareness about ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) with buckets of ice and millions of dollars, while many haven’t even bothered to pay lip service to an issue that affects all of us.

Dear Black People

Black people, our plight may be unique to us in this nation, but we are not suffering it alone. We cannot continue to complain about “White Privilege” while failing to call our White friends out on their choosing to remain neutral. We cannot even begin to call our White friends out on their neutrality when we still have to tread lightly about our own position on the issue of race… a failure that I am also guilty of.

I’ll start:

I am Black. I am first generation American and I am thoroughly pissed the fuck off. I am tired of having to worry about how my Blackness will be received when I walk out of my home. I am exhausted from having to wonder if today will be the day I get a phone call about my brother having been gunned down by some ignorant fool with a gun. I am outraged that while this nation might have a Black man as its leader, Black people are still guilty until proven not that kind of Black. I am annoyed when my Blackness is questioned because I’m articulate, educated, and don’t care about hip-hop culture. I hate that my having obvious African ancestry automatically diminishes my legitimacy as an American. I am disgusted by the fact that anything negative I do will reflect poorly on my entire race, but nothing positive I do makes a significant enough difference in the public perception of what my being Black really means. I am disappointed in my fellow Black people for not requiring more and better of ourselves. I am dejected because in spite of all of my best efforts to prove the contrary; having graduated from college with limited debt, without adding to the masses of “fatherless” children, having worked my entire Black ass off to be a productive member of society… I will still be viewed as just another smart-mouthed black girl by those who don’t know me.

I am Black. I am Outraged… and I am ready to claim it.

Dear Black People:
It’s time we started taking personal responsibility for our role in our oppression. We cannot continue to be willing participants in our enslavement. Do more. Require better. And don’t stop moving forward.

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