Blackhaustion 2

Give us any chance we’ll take it
Read us any rule we’ll break it
We’re going to make our dreams come true
Doing it our way

Nothing’s going to hold us back now
Straight ahead and on the track now
We’re going to make our dreams come true

There ain’t nothing we won’t try
Never heard the word impossible
This time there’s no stopping us
We’re going to do it

Just like the Tuesday nights of my childhood, I just finished watching Laverne & Shirley.  Back then, I would’ve been sitting too close to my family’s floor model TV on our olive green carpet, probably eating a TV dinner, with the food separated in perfect little aluminum-foil sections, and drinking a large glass of whole milk.  Thanks to the invention of remote controls, the extinction of antennas, and the trend of having TVs in every room, this time I had the luxury of watching it from my bed with a bag of Tostitos and a glass of cabernet.

I probably have not watched Laverne & Shirley in over 20 years; but last evening I sought the show out – or really, I sought out any show that was completely different from now.  Because “now” sucks.  I am suffering from yet another case of Blackhaustion (pronounced: Black-zah-tion) which is the overwhelming fatigue experienced from being Black in America.

That our President told four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to where they came from is disgusting but not particularly surprising.  Those of us who have paid attention have known that Trump was racist long before he ran for President. 

What has been more sobering, scary, and shocking is how his presidency has revealed the number of Americans who share his views; how even the non-racists or anti-racists refuse to acknowledge racism (because denial is certainly easier –except for the victims of that racism); and how brilliantly the racist system has been designed to effectively silence and/or vilify the victims of racism for speaking up or out.  Living with racism – enduring daily microaggressions and maneuvering through systemic-racist systems is tough, but sadly it is as much a part of being of color in the United States as is melanin.

But the way most Americans treat racism is the proverbial insult to injury.  First, those whom are accused of racist behavior are oftentimes allowed to be the judge of their own behavior.  Not surprisingly, they never conclude that they are guilty of wrongdoing.

Additionally, the definition of what makes something or someone racist has been so narrowly defined by many White people, that racists are armed with ample opportunities to freely be racists.

A person must call a person a Nigger, own slaves, and be in the KKK for many to accept that a person is racist.  Any  more subtle racist behavior – both conscious and unconscious –goes completely unrecognized by many, which allows verbal abuse to go unchecked.

For instance, saying “go back to where you come from” is inarguably racist, yet people are passionately arguing that it isn’t.  That it is almost exclusively said by White people to people of color makes the argument immediately ridiculous.  The term suggests that a person isn’t American – isn’t from here.  Why would this assumption be being made?  Color.  The phrase also suggests that America belongs more to White Americans than to minorities; and that if a person of color doesn’t believe or behave as a White person thinks they should – the person of color should leave.

But, the last week has taught me that the real truth isn’t what people want; it’s far too inconvenient.  It’s far too ugly.  It speaks too brutally about America and about them.  And almost all White people hate the idea that they could be racist – more than they hate the actual racism that people of color must endure.  Accusing someone of being racist is met with more outrage than the racist act itself.

A person of color is victimized and then victimized again should they complain or protest. I’ve lived it; and this week I’ve watched esteemed Congresswomen, who deserve nothing but respect, living it. I’ve also watched the way this country, my country, has responded. And I’m disappointed, hurt; but mostly tired. I’m Blackhausted. So, for now, I will sometimes watch television shows like Laverne & Shirley to escape the stories about the challenges that come from living as a minority in America; so I have the energy to withstand my own.

Blackaustion 1:

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About Randi B.

Randi is a diversity and inclusion strategist, speaker, trainer and writer, focusing on making connections and cultivating empathy in this diverse world one trip, speech, article, book and conversation at a time.

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