I understand this is a touchy subject for some, but with everything that has been happening, especially with the black lives matter movement and my personal experience, I believe this is an important topic.
In my opinion, I see black awareness as part of an understanding that black people are not just classed as a group of people with very little power to effectively change the conditions or status of their lives as a community; but the existence of a group of individuals, whose character or being, is judged by their skin colour and appearance. Not by their talent or intellect.
Therefore, I believe that the Black Lives Matter movement highlights the importance of black awareness and the affects from racist actions towards black people and other minority races.
As a black person, I have experienced and been confronted by discrimination and racism from childhood. But recently as an adult, before the Covid lockdown, this intensified on a daily basis: this includes interpersonal and structural racism. All in which relates to my skin colour, or the appearance/facial-structure of my face that has been carved by my black ancestral DNA.
The experience felt like a heavy burden every time I left my house. It came to the point where I knew everyday, minutes before I left the house, that I was going to be made to feel like it was a bad day for me. However, since my mother prepared me from childhood that I was going to encounter days of racism, based upon my skin colour, I continued my day and hid my feelings from the world. The more I hid my feelings, the more tense the situation became.
Fortunately for me, I had a mother who educated me in my black history from a very young age; I don’t just mean the traumatic events that occurred during slavery and the aftermath, but black history before slavery even happened and some understanding of the economic system of the slavery trade. Because after all, history is history, which shapes everyone. From our ancestors to our descendants, and understanding how we operate as human beings will help us to understand each other and move forward.
Therefore, through education and my spiritual faith, I learnt about myself and my self worth.
So, when I came across discrimination, racism and prejudice as an adult, I continued my day to the best I could and kept God in my heart. Yes, I was probably too quiet to begin with, but I learnt how to use wisdom and speak up for myself when the time felt right.
I think the moment that astounded me the most, was the prejudice coming from people of the same race as myself. But sadly I remembered that colonialism is real and it exists. The definition of colonialism by National Geographic (2020) is the “control by one power over a dependent area or people”, which occurs when a nation forces “its own language and cultural values upon its people”.
My own metaphorical interpretation of colonialism is: when a person is forced by a coloniser to live in the coloniser’s shoes, without recieving the same privileges as the coloniser. Which, to be frank, does not sound so appeasing. But I have seen through the evidence of history and current everyday life, that we as black people as a community, are good at adapting to an environment. So good at adapting that we endured the slavery trade for centuries, therefore we have learnt to make a life out of very little. As generations are passed down, some of us still remain with the subconscious concept that in order to get along in life, we must accept “ok” to have an “ok” life.
Personally, I don’t like the word “ok”, because in my opinion the word is abstract and has different meanings. When I search the word “ok” on it means to express acceptance or agreement, but it also means not bad but not good.
So, even if a person says ok, and it means the person has expressed acceptance, does it mean they’re not really happy with the decision? Does the word “ok” actually give consent or not?
I’m going off the topic a bit. But what I’m basically saying is, as black people, there’s nothing wrong about wanting a better future for yourself, but it’s about how you go about getting it.
I believe it is important to know your black history and as much as possible. Preferably, from the beginning, before slavery, up to now. You could even find out about your own family history, so you can know more about yourself. As black people, I believe supporting each other and others outside our own race in peaceful fellowship is important in building a better life to move forward.
Also, I believe, as humans, by keeping open minds allows our own minds to learn and expand, so we can show an appreciation for each other cultures and perceptions, as well as feeling confident to choose to not lose being unique.