Racism in your Living Room

I’m tired. There has been this trend in my life of white people, predominantly white men, who feel the need to tell me something about blackness. A joke, a story, an observation… This need is so overwhelming in fact, that they feel it necessary to encroach upon my safety and the safety of those around me. To the point of physical violence.

What’s more, these men cannot seem to fathom the fact that I have less than no interest to hear, engage or indulge their certain to be offensive and off base anecdotes.

This seems to enrage them. Beyond reason. That’s not to say that they were all that reasonable to begin with, but they lose it. Shoot directly to rage, then bargaining, then back to rage.

Some of these incidents, the last two, actually, occur after at some point in the night, I have rejected some sort of advance from them. How dare I not allow myself to be fetishized?

I see the changes in them. See the confusion work across their face, ugly and stupid. Watch as confusion morphs into bargaining, then rage.

And when I push back? Talk back. Rage back ?!

They’re beyond reason. They push people. Hit people.  Break things. I cock my head while looking at them, watch as they throw temper tantrums on a massive, dangerous scale.

These men live in Portland. Drink at your bars, walk down your streets. Hang out in your living rooms. 

Privilege is a hell of a drug.

At times, it’s as though I can hear inside their heads, thoughts spiraling. I see the fetishization of myself in their eyes, projecting onto me like a shroud.

They move toward me, eyes glazed. They step forward, I step back. They step forward, I step back, a rage filled dance.

Until I stop.  Until I’m done. Until I move forward. Advancing. Raging. Throwing their language back in their face. Stronger. Righteous. Knowing that the odds are not stacked in my favor. Knowing how precarious the state of my body is.

But heres the thing:

I’m done. I’m tired. I will no longer allow people to press their will onto my own. Racially, emotionally, physically, sexually, I’m done. For twenty-seven years, this body has been a dumping ground for other people’s baggage – garbage that they have forgotten, neglected, or refused to unpack – and I’m sick of it.

So, the next time you have an urge to tell me (or any other black person, for that matter) something about blackness. Don’t. Just – dont.

I promise you, we don’t want to hear it.

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