The weight of it is heavy. The burden is enormous. To endure daily, an unapologetic denial of equal treatment in every, single, endeavor you encounter. To know, subconsciously, going into every interaction, that the color of your skin, can play an integral part in it. That pay increases, promotions, employment opportunities, loan applications and even educational instruction, can be altered by the color of your skin, or your place of origin.
Generationally, we have been resigned to the premise that “one day,” things will get better. Yet, that “one day” always seems to be just a little further beyond the horizon. So we adapt. We persevere to the degree that our skin color will allow and we strive to do better than those before us, like all citizens of this nation aspire to. But that “second glance” from a police officer, that ‘head turn,” from the store loss prevention person, or that “inquisitive look” of the cashier, prior to making your payment selection, reminds you, that you fit the stereotype of someone we’ve been taught to question.
Oddly, some Caucasians will attest this to paranoia, drug use, lower intelligence, or just a person who doesn’t have the motivation to do better. In reality, the one that these same Caucasians reside in, they, too, know that there is this relegation, or unspoken attribute, that is attached to people of color.
Envision a scenario where that doesn’t occur. To be able to walk freely in a different city, just to see the sights. To have the opportunity to excel, because your family “owns” the largest dairy farm. To have financial support, and “generational” wealth. To get the job because your “uncle” is the manager. To attend the school of “your choice” because it’s your mother’s alma mater. To be given a warning, rather than a citation. To stay on the same side of the street when approached by a person of color and not clutch your purse, or grip your partner’s arm tighter. To not stereotype your new neighbor and hope they don’t “bring down” your property value. To extend your hand to assist, when it would be just as easy to look the other way. These are weights we must relinquish. For they are the “privileges” of the past that must be removed, so that our full future can be derived.
Freddie L. Brown