I once wrote that “there is too much.” I have come to realize that while this is true, I was born being overwhelmed by such a feeling.
Eric Harris was killed by a White reserve deputy in Oklahoma, and although several officers were around him, they did not help. Even worse, one of them told him, “fuck your breathe.”
There is, as there has always been, too much.
Almost everyday we hear news of the murdered life of a Black man or woman, shot dead by a police officer. We live in a world where as soon as 8 hours or as late as 28 hours after one soul has been taken, another follows. I wake up wondering who may be next.
I am numb. I am angry. I am hopeless. I am devastated, shattered, immobile, stricken with a grief that I was born breathing. I grew up alongside my black friends. Three of my mentors from my undergraduate and in New York are Black men and woman. And I live in a country, alongside so many, that do not think those lives matter. They see them and see nothing. I wake up and see the names of those murdered hashtagged, part of me enraged, another part unmoved. It is not that this has become our normal, but it has been our normal for 500 years. All skin not white, especially skin black, are lives we are not allowed to mourn or love. They are discarded. They are forgotten. Even those fighting to remember, to love, to breathe, are silenced as if we speak treason.
And this is the core of it. Black lives have never mattered. Brown lives have never mattered. Only White lives matter. And yet we have #AllLivesMatter as a response to the murdered Black men and women. White people continue to scream reverse racism or deny its existence. White people remain oblivious to their privilege, but most jarring to me is their obliviousness to the violence we experiences almost every second of our lives, and the violence we have experienced for 500 years.
There is and unbearable whiteness to life. Constantly telling the people I love they are worthless, building walls high and wide to stop them from moving, moats deep to stop them from breathing.
Today I went to work with a friend at some cafe at some street. We’ll both be returning to the US soon. And while we laughed and worked and laughed some more, I couldn’t help but be afraid for him. I’m afraid for him, because even though he has done everything right, he’s followed the rules, has a graduate degree, will be employed, to so many back home, all that will matter will be the color of his skin.
I don’t want to be afraid for him or any of my friends or anyone who is Black in America. I don’t want to be afraid, but I am. I don’t want to see a cop and wonder if they’re going to kill someone today. I don’t want to live in a world where White people continue to obliterate our existence, both body and mind. I’m tired of being patient. I’m tired of explaining how racism still exists. I’m tired of feeling out of place. I’m tired of the funerals had too soon. I’m tired of it all.
I don’t expect those of you who are White to get it. I’ve learned to expect nothing. I’m not even writing this to try and have you get it. I’m writing this because it allows me a bit of something, something that feels only a tiny bit better than the moments of despair.
It is all too much.