http://blackartinamerica.com/

http://blackartinamerica.com/

It’s the end of the semester and I so badly want to celebrate, but how can I??? I find myself struggling daily to find hope in what seems to be a season of despair and hopelessness. As I continue to watch responses to the Eric Garner verdict and ongoing responses to the Michael Brown grand jury verdict, I am convinced that there are some people that just don’t get it. While I want more than anything to join my former classmates in a die in, I am stuck finishing homework so I write instead. Sidebar: I am reminded that life is a series of choices. Last week friends gathered to protest but my mom was visiting and at home sick. Today I have chosen to stay at home and finish my homework – I have mixed emotions about my choices and often wonder where I would’ve been during the 60s. If the whole aim is to interrupt, do we not gather in spite of our regularly scheduled programs (schedules)? Food for thought …

My hope is that someone who really wants to understand a different perspective will take a moment to read this post.

I am a 30-something year-old Black woman. I have 3 college degrees and am working on a doctorate. I DO NOT have a criminal record. In spite of the aforementioned, this is what it is like for me to be Black in America:

  • There are neighborhoods that I refuse to drive through after dark.
  • While traveling with my family, friends or white colleagues, I get nervous if we eat at restaurants in neighborhoods that are not diverse or stop in stores that I fear are not accustomed to seeing and serving Black clients.
  • I have entered a room after completing a phone interview and am pretty sure that the people did NOT expect a Black woman to walk through the door.
  • When I travel home to visit my family I am EXTRA cautious about obeying all traffic laws and being at or close to home afterhours for fear of being pulled over by the cops and any subsequent results
  • I often struggle with when and how to comment in class with an acknowledgment that I may be labeled as the “angry Black woman”.
  • I have been the only Black woman in several classes and felt very strongly that the aforementioned is true.
  • I enter high-end retail stores with a presumption that I will be looked at and treated differently because I am not wearing a particular (or often visible) label or other physical status symbol.
  • I often dine at restaurants and wonder if another table will be treated differently than mine or if our service will vary because the waiter/waitress believes that “Black people don’t tip.”
  • I believe the American education, legal and healthcare system has failed Black people on multiple occasions.
  • I THINK ABOUT RACE, THE IMPACT OF MY ACTIONS, HOW I AM PERCEIVED, WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I AM INVOLVED IN SOME SORT OF LEGAL INFRACTION OFTEN!!!

As a Black woman in the U.S. who has participated in many of the things that other  think guarantee equality – higher education, work force contributions, extensive travel in the U.S. and abroad – I am WELL AWARE that on any given day I AM Mike Brown. I AM Eric Garner.

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