It occurred to me that people don’t want to read about pain, loss, racism or whatever may be perceived as negative thoughts or experiences.
I don’t want to talk about my pain or that of black and brown people. I wish I didn’t have to talk about it, but what do I do when very little changes in the world we find ourselves in.
I don’t want to talk about the colour of my skin because I want to wake up one day forgetting that my skin colour is viewed as less than.
I don’t want to talk about the pain inflicted upon me simply because I am not white. I don’t want to talk about the constant micro aggressions levelled at me from the moment I find myself in a room where I am the only person who is not white.
I don’t want to talk about the way I speak, how I get my hair like this, how black and brown people are lazy or violent, how I suffered when I grew up or how “acceptable” I am within white communities because I am not like “those people.”
I want to talk about my dreams for my life, my family, my friends, the latest trends or movies. I don’t get the chance to do that though because everywhere I go, much like my gender, the colour of my skin is the first thing that is noticed. White people don’t talk about racism and how to dismantle systemic racism until there is a black or brown person that they know or in the case of South Africa, a black Government ruling us. It is assumed that I want to talk about the Governments’ failure to provide for the black and brown citizens of this country. It is assumed that I know everything about black and brown people even if they are in other countries or that I may want to talk about it.
It’s extremely painful when I see black and brown people suffering at the hands of racist systems so I have no option but to talk about it.
I don’t want to talk about it but I have no choice because this evil cannot continue the way it has for so many years. I am tired of dreaming of a better life, tired of the denial of white people that racism exists and exhausted from having to explain about white privilege.
So, I open my wounds and talk in the hope that black and brown people will not feel so isolated and hated and that white people will realize that racism isn’t worsened because I refuse to remain silent or because I choose to highlight it.
My ancestors didn’t speak about it, so ask yourself, why hasn’t it disappeared? Talking about it is the least black and brown people can do if only to educate each other about the many pitfalls they have to traverse in this world.
I will take a vow of silence as a Catholic nun does if my silence could bring about change. The truth is though, that silence is consent and though I don’t want to talk about it, I refuse to become complicit in the continued harm afflicted upon black and brown people.
When we don’t talk about the problem, as we do in therapy, the problem only worsens until it eventually destroys us all.