This world is a lot right now. I’m currently in the “keep on my hair bonnet all day including to answer the front door” stage of mourning. I simply don’t have the energy to concel the full extent of my Blackness in front of white people. I’ve done that my entire life.
I did it to survive racist ass higher ed, including the Ivy League institution I graduated from.
I did it to survive racist ass medical training.
I did it to be taken seriously, to be respected. But you know what? I have finally come to fully accept the ugly truth. It’s a set up.
It was always a set up.
It’s a game. A trap. There is nothing I can do to make you see and accept the full me.
I can’t be well-spoken enough.
My clothes can’t be professional enough.
My white coat can’t be crisp enough.
My hair can’t be straight enough.
I can’t smile enough.
I had to unlearn the lesson that I came on this earth inferior than you. I learned that lesson before I even knew I was being taught it.
But I know the truth now. I feel it the truth of it in my bones.
There is nothing wrong with me at all.
There is nothing inherently wrong with any Black person, at any time and anywhere.
There is something wrong with the white people who need me to prove my worth and value to them.
It is sick.
It is immoral.
It is wrong.
It feels good to just stop performing.
As we continue talking about the losses we have suffered under racism, let’s talk about this as well: The high cost of living, day in & day out, under the unapologetically judgemental, relentless, & at times, hateful white gaze. It’s exhausting.
I don’t want to go back to that.
I just want to “be”. Just like white people get to. I just want the freedom to just “be”.
I want to be free.
Oh by the way, if you don’t know that most Black women wear hair bonnets at night, you probably aren’t as close to your black “friends” as you think you are. You don’t really know them because they keep their “Blackness” from you. Just trust me.
Or better yet, if you don’t believe me, do me a favor. Ask any one of your Black friends if they show you their full Blackness at all times. And may the pain of the answer move you to do better.