Silence Isn't Enough

Current Events & News | 08/03/2020

Shamyiah Williams
Stand For Children Intern

I am not my hair. I am not my skin. I am not the country I was brought to. I am not the air that circles my lungs. I am not what I call myself. But do you see me as I am or what do I look like to you? As a young black woman in a racist society, my reality is a jungle that constantly implies that I am nothing but an animal- not a human being who takes pride in her blackness. Don’t take away my pride! I am not pleading. I am not going to say please to anyone.

When I was younger, I didn’t understand what black actually means in America. I am grateful to have a mother who sat down with me and explained to me what it meant. The power of being black and the beauty we all have as black people, in my opinion. I love having my black skin, culture, and tradition. However, I had to see the devastation black people have to go through for myself to fully have an understanding of what it’s like to be black in America. I remember I was in the 8th grade and I was listening to my teacher explaining the history of African Americans. He expressed the importance of understanding the depths of our history and to love our blackness.

That was the same year police brutality became a huge topic in American society, of what I remember. I knew it wasn’t a new situation in the black community, but my peers and I were new to this. I was scared. I was thinking about how this will affect everyone in my generation. How we will be too afraid to step out of our house to go to school or to the park with the police behind us.

As a black person in America, I am forced to understand the story of my life and others who look like me. Although I have to fathom the life of black people, I have a better understanding of who I am and my mission. I realized the world doesn’t value me- that is my story. Systemic racism is a part of our lives and I had to come to terms with it when I was in the 8th grade even though I didn’t know the term or the definition of it. I still knew, by experience, I will have to live with it and profoundly educate myself.

Systemic racism was designed to hinder black women, black men, and black children from achieving a peaceful life without worrying about being a personal target for those who hate us. I hate that this is our reality. Reality makes us grow up too damn fast than we should, and it tells us that we are too grown to think for ourselves. A reality that is made to teach us that our skin is not beautiful and our style is not presentable even though I love who I am. I know there are black girls, like me, who don’t because of lack of representation. Or black boys who don’t have any clue of what they want to be when they grow up.

I don’t want to be in my fifties and see this repetitive trend of racism my grandchildren will have to experience. But the reality is, it is going to happen. I am angry and I have the right to express my feelings for something that should have ended decades ago. I don’t want to be negative about the legacy of the country that allows history to repeat itself, but there will always be a ‘bigoted racist a**hole.’ 

My feelings towards police brutality are as typically expected, ANGER. Rage is a better word to describe my hostility towards the justice system that isn’t invented to protect the people who have built this country on their backs. Am I being too honest? I couldn’t possibly be because I am right. My blackness comes first before anythingthat the world will offer me in return. Silence isn’t enough.

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