I no longer have the words to write about another black body, and I don’t have the tears to cry for one. Maybe that was they’ve won.
This country gaslights you, if you’re a person of color. It’s taken quite a while for me to realize, but once I did, I understood, and I realized it was everywhere.
In school, you usually start your history with the founding of America. A few brief lessons on the Mayflower and then you’re at the Boston Tea-party, the Boston Massacre, the Revolutionary War, etc. They don’t teach about the irony though. They never teach you that first death in a war waged between slave-owners was that of a black man.
You learn about the expansion west, too. You learn about all the land purchased from Napoleon and stolen from natives. You learn about the Trail of Tears. You never learn that all that land still belongs to the native peoples though. You never learn that even by their own legal systems, the government acted brutally and illegally. You never learn the names of the countless dead native peoples. You just learn the number they’re reduced to.
Living in this country, you definitely learn a lot about crime. You learn about how minority populations apparently have a greater disposition to commit crimes, and how minority populations are more likely to be impoverished and overweight, but conveniently you don’t usually learn why. They don’t tell you about red-lining in most high-schools. They don’t tell you how a million black soldiers were denied the G.I. Bill. They don’t tell you how they destroyed almost every attempt to arm and uplift the African American community in this country. They don’t tell you about how they targeted black people in the war on drugs.
But they’ll still tell you you’re a criminal.
It’s kind of funny. The being followed around part sucks, yeah, but you get used to it. That’s not the issue any more. The issue is the fear, that I feel. The anxiety that I experience, checking out at the register, walking out the door, worrying that, even though I didn’t steal anything, and I know I didn’t, the alarm might still go off, or maybe someone slipped something into my bag when I wasn’t looking, or maybe I stole something by accident without realizing it. Maybe when I was putting my phone in my pocket something slipped in. Completely ridiculous things I cannot help but think because this country has raised me to believe that I am a criminal.
This country has given me a mean case of cognitive dissonance. I do not know the solution.