As a Black person, talking about racism to white people is like giving directions to someone from out of town. It’s time-consuming. Sometimes I have to repeat myself 27 different ways for them to get it. Sometimes I absolutely hate doing it. But I do it so they can move in the right direction.
And right now, the world is trying to move in the right direction. Many Americans have come to the realization that racism isn’t a problem of the past, but a pervasive ideology that they both knowingly and unknowingly perpetuate. So schools, companies, and municipalities alike have decided to learn about the Black experience, and the demand for Black DEI consultants has never been higher.
Hear me out— I’m Black, and I love my Blackness. I love our venacular… our shared, turbulent history… the music… the perseverance of my ancestors… oh, and did I mention the food? But I’m kind of tired of only talking about race.
Black people have learned expertise outside of their racial experience. Read that againTweet
Everyone one is an expert in their own experience. Even if their logic is off, no one can deny or question the validity of someone’s emotions because they are their own. Mainstream America is calling upon Black people to share our expertise from our racial experience. I’ll admit, it’s nice to be listened to after being silenced for centuries. But Black people have more to offer than anti-racism education.
While my Blackness defines me, it doesn’t confine me.
- I’m Black, and I’m a writer.
- I’m Black, and I’m a singer.
- I’m Black, and I’m obsessed with romance theory.
- I’m Black, and I love learning new languages.
- I’m Black, and I constantly investigating ways to practice self-care and preservation.
White America would rather listen to Black laments instead of our knowledge. Perhaps this is because Black excellence is still viewed as an anomaly.Tweet
Of course, I talk about race in my chosen areas of expertise. I’ve even been asked, “Why do you make everything about race?” I can (and do) address Blackness in areas across my life, but the thing is… I shouldn’t be able to. Like, no interviewer is going to ask a white writer, “How did your racial upbringing affect this work? It must’ve been so hard living in the suburbs.” For me, the more important question is Why does race impact everything? Whiteness is the default. It’s the norm. Hiring a white person to educate people on whiteness would be redundant because our school systems teach us Whiteness: 101 from birth. Whiteness provides a blank slate onto which any chosen identity can be superimposed without expectations. But white people hiring Black people to teach them about race and not perform any other skills is diminutive. It positions us as talking heads explaining to our oppressors how they oppress us.
Okay, not literally anything, but you get the sentiment.
I’m Black, and I’m kind of tired of talking about race. But I’m here to keep talking about it until I no longer have to.