Black Women’s History in this country encompassed in one photo: “Silenced, dehumanized, subordinated by white man.”
Have you ever considered relocating to another country? Sometimes I feel like the history of systematic discrimination, the institutional racism and disenfranchisement of Black people is too much to bear. I feel so violated as a person when I am constantly mischaracterized, stereotyped and mistreated just based on my skin color.
The stereotypes make me feel like I’m being stuffed into a box and all the negative stereotypes are just suffocating me.
When I was very young, I used to think that racism was a thing of the past. I never experienced Jim Crow racism with COLORED and WHITE ONLY signs in the window, so I didn’t believe it was a problem. Sure, I knew I was different. My white classmates always wanted to touch my hair and everything, but I didn’t think too much of it.
There was the one time that I was invited to my white classmate’s house to go swimming. Her father was prominent member of a country club, he took us there, we swam in the pool and ate french fries. Later, I found out that the club didn’t accept Blacks or Jews and the only reason I was allowed to swim there was because of her father. Basically, my presence there was a fluke, but my family would not have been welcome there. Things like that happened, but I always found a way to excuse them somehow.
It wasn’t until my senior year when I had my wake up call that I accepted that race was indeed a systemic issue. I had inquired about a summer job at a local store that my friend worked at, the manger said ,” they weren’t hiring graduating seniors.” I took him for his word and didn’t inquire any further. Later, my friend told me that “her manager keep hiring all these seniors for two months before they go to college.” I thought back to the store and I noticed that I had never seen any African-Americans working there. I didn’t say anything, but i knew in my heart what had happened. It wasn’t until later when my mother visited that very store and told me how no one had offered to help her and that the lady wouldn’t even look at her that I told anyone what I had experienced.
Why had the store manage told me they weren’t hiring seniors and then hire a bunch of seniors of 2 months before they went to college. It wasn’t fair.
I had worked so hard to be a “nice person,” but at the end of the day, it didn’t matter that I got good grades, it didn’t matter that I went a nice prep school in the City, it didn’t matter that I lived in the suburbs, it didn’t matter that I tried to be a nice person, when he looked at me, he saw one thing, my skin color and that was enough for him to decide he didn’t want me working there.
That was a dehumanizing experience and I have not looked at things the same since then. All the time, racism has been so in my face, but I chose not to see it. The poorest areas and the worst schools are reserved for the Black people, there is so much depth to the racism in this country, how could I have been so blind to it?
Do you all ever think about relocating outside the United States?
What would happen if there came a time where Black people needed to flee the country, do you have a plan in place just in case?
It doesn’t hurt to have a plan in case you need to leave the country ever: You should always have a passport and some liquid assets on hand just in case. Research a country that you can flee to and find out if you need a VISA to get in, have job prospects lined up, there are lots of places where you can get work teaching English etc, research and find out where, watch for the signs and leave if you feel that you need to.
There are some great things about the United States and my family is here, we’ve lived here for many many years, generations and it has been my home and is my home, but it is really hard to feel safe when you are being mistreated and when you’re made to feel like a perpetual foreigner and not a full person, even though you were born in this country and your family has been here for generations. It’s an uneasy feeling to say the least.
I don’t know what might happen to Black people if sh-t really hit the fan.
Unfortunately, if something ever happened, lower income Black people (the people who are most at risk) may not have any way to leave the country. If Black people were supporting each other, we’d have a way to get them out, that’s the sad thing.