– An actual thing that was said to me by a white woman while I was working.
I’ve been dealing with a lot of racism at work lately. A crazy customer called me a “black bitch” when I told him he needed to put a shirt on to come in the store. Another man proclaimed me beautiful and proceeded to tell me how I was “descended from African queens” because they only chose the best of the best (meaning royalty) to bring over as slaves. I cut off his delusional rambling, saying, “No, I’m pretty sure they just grabbed whoever they saw.” But he kept insisting.
Then there was that first lady with her backhanded “compliment,” who even had the nerve to ask me if my hair was real (invasive question btw)–as if she couldn’t believe something beautiful could actually be mine. I relayed this story to a mixed coworker, thinking she would sympathize, but she scoffed, “You’re not black.” This coming from a girl who’s lighter than me!
Over time, all these seemingly little comments and microagressions can build up into a bigger picture of racism that starts to take a toll on our mental health. That one comment left me reeling, like, Wow, this is really the way white people think. This is how they see us–as different, other, all one mass. Ugly, unless we happen to have some trait they deem desirable, like long curly hair or light skin. Suddenly I was spiralling, recalling every racist comment that had been said to me recently, of which there were quite a few. It took me a week just to be able to articulate what I was feeling into this post.
Add to that the fact that this is a battle most of us have to fight alone, carrying these horrible comments around in our heads forever.
Subtle racism; it’s hard to pin it
Cuz you’d only understand if you were me for just a minute
I can write about it all day to raise awareness of what we go through and how terrible it is–and yes, it’s an important and worthwhile endeavor because maybe I’ll educate someone as I vent. Win-win. But fact is, people already know racism exists. I want to take action. I want to fight back. I want to DO something.
So I made a playlist of songs from the perspective of black girls with relevant social commentary–hoping that somewhere, someone like me might find it, listen to it, and feel uplifted. This is my humble but heartfelt offering to help my fellow black girls combat all the negativity we face when out in the world, both from racist white people and uneducated members of our own.