I’m currently thinking of the current social climate and like many of you I’m overwhelmed with the trauma I see on my timeline and news alerts.
The other morning I watched in horror as a black woman was being held down by Hartford, Connecticut police officers whom accused of her stealing a car. You can hear her cry out in pain and exclaim over and over again that she cannot breath. I winced as I watched them drag her and throw her into a police cruiser and slam the door repeatedly on her leg.
I felt the air escape my lungs as bystanders exclaim there’s a baby in the backseat of her car.
That’s how I started my work day.
I prayed to God and hoped beyond hope that woman was okay. My gut instinct told me the car probably wasn’t even stolen and I made a promise to my oblivious infant that I won’t pop off at the mouth if we find ourselves in a traffic stop (even though I know mustering restraint won’t guarantee a favorable outcome).
As a person of color, I was always gravely aware of the constant need to always present myself in a manner that is palatable to non black colleagues. In graduate school and later in the workplace I was always mindful of how my passion and advocacy for an issue may be misinterpreted by those around me.
However, during the current mayhem we find ourselves in I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t have to present myself to be palatable to anyone. What you see is what you get. Ones interpretation of my passion, commitment and advocacy is not one me. I’ll continue to be my wonderful, fabulous and very black self. The reality is during the times that we are living in no amount of restrictions will save my life if someone is only able to see my black skin as a threat or as a life that is inherently less valuable.
I’m reminded of a Zora Neal Hurston quote where she recognizes her own uniqueness and refuses to be perturbed by those whom can’t see pass their own ignorance to actually see her for whom she is. She states:
“Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”
Dear reader, as we rapidly approach Election Day, flu season and the unfortunate reality that Coronavirus is here for the remainder of 2020, continued racial tensions, blatant injustices as well as employment and food insecurities please continue to recognize your own beauty, uniqueness and joy. Don’t let not one person or persons dim your belief in yourself and in a better tomorrow.
Feel free to share your thoughts below.
3 thoughts on “Double Consciousness and America’s Racial Reckoning”
Anika, your words gave me great pause to think. It really doesn’t matter because we all come with our perceptions when we interact with others . First impressions are always peppered with our own perceptions .
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Queen, I thoroughly enjoyed this thought-provoking and honest writing! Thanks Anika! This statement was it for me: The reality is during the times that we are living in no amount of restrictions will save my life if someone is only able to see my black skin as a threat or as a life that is inherently less valuable.
I hope all is well with your family and beautiful baby. GOD bless and stay well.
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