Written by Essence Wynter
I see the way you look at how I move, I see how confused you are about my reactions to your actions. my reactions to constantly being undermined and questioned because my skin has more melanin. My reaction to being told to get over the centuries of my people being beaten, raped and killed. My reactions to my dad being shot down in the street with his hands up, My reactions to being hosed down like a house on fire. When in actuality You created this house and lit it up, I am just reacting to the Trauma inflicted on me.
I see the way you look how i move when i walk in to your store. I feel the need to keep my hands in plain sight to avoid the embarrassment of you checking my bags. I feel the need to be opposite of your idea of a black person yet trying to avoid become Americas token negro. i had to wake up one day and decide that everyday would be a fight against being a stereotype.
I see the way you look at me when i speak. I’m sorry that my vernacular contains ain’t and conversate but I have to find ways to remind myself that I am black. In the world, i am stripped of all blackness I am Shannon not shakwanda, i am Jamaican not negro, I am always working twice as hard to get half as much. I am calm yet always perceived as aggressive.
I see the way you move to make yourself feel better. I don’t need you to remind me that black is beautiful. I don’t need you to remind me that I matter. I need you to recognize it. I need you to fix a system that causes me to take a big exhale when my interaction with the police ends with me keep my life. I CAN’T Breathe. I can’t breathe I’m suffocating under the oppression of a society that ignores the truth in place of easy solutions. My people are suffocating at the hands of the police. I am tired of having to remind people that We are people, we are not your property and we are not your labor.
I see the way you look at me with your lights pointed in my face. As if you have me all figured out, i am Americas criminal, the gorilla that abandons her family and spends her nights selling drugs. Yet you don’t know shit about me. My name is Essence, I am a straight A student, who just got accepted to 4 IVY Leagues and the light you have in my face have me ready to say yes master because I would say anything to avoid a case.
We see the way you look at us, we see the way we are depicted in your movies and your tv shows. we see the social media campaigns needed to remind our community and ourselves that black means beauty; not criminal; not below.
We fight every day against our constant anxiety and changes in our identity as a reaction to your actions.
PSA- Violence and Racism against Black Americans is a constant threat to our identities and health. Just because it is not consistently televised does not negate its existence. For Additional Resources visit the link in our bio.
For more information on trauma and healing, please visit our resources on our website.