Monday, November 18, 2013

Melanin Fatigue

I have been a minority all of my life, and I am quite happy with the skin I am in.  However, of late it seems as if the United States of America has declared war on those of us with melanin, XX chromosomes, and a salary of way less than 100K/year.  As an African American teacher, I comfortably fit in each category.

From newspapers to politicians it is hard out here for a minority.  It is  not okay for me to embrace my ethnicity.   Being black means the following in 2013:  You will be denigrated, you can be shot for asking for help, and it is assumed that you are part of the population that has stolen from the majority population by virtue of your existence. You can have all the education in the world, but that doesn't mean anything. You are still considered subpar.

I love social media, and I really enjoy twitter, but twitter tells me in glaring detail all about the things that I am not , and the various slights I have suffered, whether real or perceived.  I am aware of the realities of being a working class black woman in America.  Unfortunately I must be privy to the onslaught of the burden that my race has become.  Driving and needing help while black will get you murdered. If your skin isn't light then you will never get a man, and a host of other drivel.  Blackface is still prevalent in 2013, and apparently Dave Chapelle was not only a comedian he was a prophet.

I am suffering from fatigue.  Those with the privilege of just being themselves without having to be a representative of the race have it made.  I am tired of feeling like the weight of the world is on my shoulders and that I must be as perfect as I can be or else the full force of the law will come down on me and I will be unable to recover from that interaction.  I am tired of feeling like I must be a perfect citizen just in case something bad happens to me and my humanity is questions.  I am tired.  I am so tired of this burden than I am forced to carry.  I have small children and I have worked really hard to keep the specter of racism at bay.  I am unsure of how long I will be able to do that.  Until the day that I have to have that conversation with my children, I will continue to shoulder all of the burdens that being a person of color brings.    Oh and yes, this is a race-themed post USA Today.

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