Friday, December 5, 2014

My love letter to Black people

I see the black community different than some.  I see a group who survives in the best way it possibly can under decades (centuries) of mental, physical, and spiritual abuse and terrorism.  I see a people who constantly figures out how  to seek out happiness and joy under scrutiny  and judgment from the majority group and from its own. I see creative and inventive people who can make something from nothing over and over and over  Some of us make it.  Some don't.  Some develop self hate.  Our children are deemed less innocent and treated as such and then we are surprised when they grow up have a lack of respect for themselves or others. We don't receive empathy in regards to how centuries of terrorism - mental, physical, and spiritual-  impacts our health and well being. We somehow are supposed to get over it while the whip is still swinging. 

 I see people overcoming.  I see people trying.  I see people succumbing to constant and persistent messaging and imagery of inferiority.  What is interesting is that as the majority group believes we are super human and some of us believe we are as well.  We have the super human ability to overcome this terrorism and "act right".   We tell ourselves to "be good, be better".  When one person does wrong, we are still tribal in our thoughts and see that one person's crime as a blemish on the group.  It is US who rob.  It is US who kill.  It is US who rape.  Our lives aren't our own.  We are responsible for each others behavior but is that fair? Maybe its ok that we understand we are an reflection of one another. That is our connectedness. 

 I love being Black.  I was raised see the beauty in us and have an understanding of how this system of oppression can and does destroy us.  We need  a better understanding of where personal responsibility meets systemic oppression.  As I make decisions about my life, they are rarely personal.  I, Rhonda, represent Blackness everywhere I go even when I don't want to do so.  I have to think in terms of how does my behavior and choices impact black people.  So, it is difficult to say that I can move through my life and it be my own. What does personal responsibility really mean when my actions are connected to my community at all times?  This is another added pressure of being not only Black in America but being a part of any oppressed group.  We have to stop the respectability politics and understand how oppression influences behavior.  What about collective trauma?  Racism is damaging to our core. A baby in utero is impacted by the racial discrimination experienced by its mother.  Constant stress impacts heart disease.  Violence impacts asthma.  Racism isn't just a social justice issue but a health issue. 

To my Black  community, I love you.   We are over-comers.  We are a beautiful people who continues to fight through the constant abuse.  I urge us to see ourselves as a powerful people with grand fortitude.  We have been and continue to be a very forgiving people.  Its very difficult to heal as you're being abused but we must to continue to strive for some healing and relief.   The Black American is a people to be admired and respected.  I'll continue to say over and over, I Love YOU. 

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