I am contributing to healing the racial divide by standing proudly in my authentic self; knowing that my life alone defies most people’s expectations when they see my skin.
I remember how, growing up in a predominantly white college town, I was confused by what it meant to “act” and “sound” Black. I felt the burden of expectations that were all too foreign to me. But the little Black girl in the mirror didn’t seem “Black enough”. That confusion seems strange since I had my family and local Black folks as role models. But when you’re young and impressionable, bombarded by media’s stereotypes, and white peers telling you “You don’t sound Black!”, it’s easy to feel like an “Oreo”.
I’m also healing the racial divide by exercising my right to vote (thank you ancestors) and using that power to help elect those who will fight for a more equitable society. I look for candidates who can admit that this country has systematically tried to strip us of our humanity and will strive to repair injustices at their roots – our legal, financial, educational and political institutions. I want politicians who believe that Black people deserve voting rights and political representation. And I want politicians who will fight for everyone’s right to justice, wealth-building opportunities, quality education, food, and health care.
I am also healing the racial divide by not begging for a seat at anyone’s table. Nor will I wait for anyone’s approval or permission to pursue what’s in my heart. That’s what is expected of us. I trust in my intelligence, creativity, skills and talents to build a life and a lifestyle that I want; even on this un-level playing field. I refuse to be seen as inferior, incapable, lazy, or needy. Those are stereotypes I personally want to break.
Healing the racial divide is a collective effort; from checking the bigotry in our homes, to protesting injustices and anti-racism training. Or by succeeding as a Black woman in a world not designed for us.
S.I.T. With Yourself in February
This month’s #soakedinthought journaling prompts are inspired by Black History Month which is observed in February by the United States, United Kingdom and Canada in celebration of the African diaspora including African-American history.