Eric Garner. Ezell Ford. Michelle Cusseaux. Tanisha Anderson. Tamir Rice. Natasha McKenna. Walter Scott. Bettie Jones. Philando Castile. Botham Jean. Atatiana Jefferson. Eric Reason. Dominique Clayton. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd.
All killed by the police. Some walking. Some assisting neighbors. Some, sleeping. All killed by the police. But the list over the last 5 years in the media is 10 times this amount of black names. As a Black woman who has always spoken loudly for my community, I will be honest - I am beyond baffled that with every name you have read, heard in the news or assumed ‘they must’ve done something", we, black Americans, have been making this up the entire time. Now that I have stated my own concern with ignoring black people are decades, now what? Now that we as a collective human race are acknowledging a problem that’s existed - before you were born - do to eradicate racism?
By the way, YES, I am fully functioning in angry black woman mode, but I guess you understand that now. The reasons most black women and men are seemingly angry all the time is just a disposition we have from having to comply with society while witnessing the injustices every where - in every micro class within our race - age, sex, orientation, preference, etc.
I guess since this is a "fashion column" - luxury fashion houses have been a major culprit for stealing, exposing and manipulating black and African (notable differences, by the way) culture, style and fashion for decades. Your favorite celebrities and reality stars . . . the biggest culture vultures of all. Sarah Baartman. No need for me to go into detail when Google will do and seeing Sarah, who was exhibited as a freak show - is praised on non-black skin. This is far more than cultural appropriation.
Now that is out of the way, back to what you can do to eradicate racism. However, I am merely one person with my own experience, privileged by measure of many of my brothers and sisters - so I turn to ask you: What can you do? What are you willing to accept about yourself, your family, friends, heritage, privilege, abusive system of oppression across housing, capitalism, wealth creation? Will you know accept that there has been and is a system in place to keep 1) Black people oppressed and then 2) some (not all) people of color (because some groups really think they are excluded.
The facts and knowledge is there; it is not in the books we are not allowed to read. You live in a free country even if you need guidance on free thinking - it is your responsibility to accurately know your history. After you read this, check out the reading list below.
One of my favorite life principles I use to guide myself is by the Iroquois: The Seventh Generation Principle - make change and decisions today that will impact seven generations from now. That takes you out of the equation, because the future will benefit.
More important than anything, actively engage in conversations and provoke change - not the seek first to understand - we are past that.
As a Black woman, Christian and Cancer - I straddle the fence of optimistic skepticism. Meaning, I don’t believe much in what I see, but I do have faith in . . . good people, absolutely not the system. Good people who will now be decent human beings as we add another level to this human fight - recognizing centuries of error awaiting to be justified. Will this be easy? NO. Why? Because the change is in the form of you changing a system that has benefited you.
But will you do it? Even at a personal loss?
If you're interested in hearing more about my thoughts . . . reality of living while black in the South trying to make my mama 'nem proud, I promise, I am more professional and likeable (safe) . . . and stylish over on charissestyles.com.