Growing Up Black In America

Growing Up Black in America Means…

Being followed around in a jewelry store as a 7th grader.

Seeing very little representation of yourself on T.V. Except on B.E.T. (And seeing arguments that one channel centered on black entertainment is racist).

Having to (laughingly) explaining the difference between a perm and natural hair to, well, a lot of people.

Seeing videos of black and brown people being regarded as “less than” in every single form of media.

Seeing yet another unfortunate viral video of a black or brown man or woman being shot, killed, or strangled, by law enforcement on social media.

Having an AP high school teacher state “I don’t know why anyone would look up to Whitney Houston as a role model. She was a drug addict,” while a picture of Elvis Presley hung on his wall. (He was very much, addicted to drugs.)

Being viewed as the spokesperson for all black people when you’re the only one in the room. Especially at a PWI. (Unless it’s an African American Studies course.)

Having to learn American history at school, and your own history from your parents and grandparents, on your own time.

Sharing stories with other black friends about their experiences with racism because it’s expected.

Seeing this racism on social media, pretty much every day:

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Watching Neo-Nazis and white Supremacists protest on national television and seeing an overwhelming amount of silence from the majority, and exhaustion from everyone else.

Yearning to have constructive conversations with people who don’t look like you, but then realizing that no matter what, their priorities are different, because this won’t affect them.

Hoping one day, this won’t be normal.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

– Martin Luther King Jr.

Praying for this country every day, and everyone in it.