Don’t Tell Me How To Feel When You Haven’t Lived My Life
The more I think on the topic of race, the less I understand it.
It seems to be a word, a topic and an issue that haunts me; and will haunt me as long as I live as a black woman.
I have been trying to understand how someone could hold so much hate for another human simply because of the colour of their skin. I have been trying to understand how someone could treat anybody lesser because they look different.
I have been trying to understand hate.
Maybe that is the problem; because I can honestly say, hand on my heart, I have never hated anyone. There are people who have wronged me, and people who I do not understand, but I have never hated.
And how can I understand hate when I have never felt it?
There have been so many people so quick to tell me how I should feel.
Black people who are telling me to be angry, to fight back; and, ironically, white people who tell me to be calm, to forgive and forget. It is an argument where I hear so much in countering the “black” argument.
But how do you tell me how and what to feel, when you have never felt what I have felt?
How do you tell me how and what to feel when you have never walked in my shoes?
How do you understand something that you have never experienced?
I have never felt hate but I have come close to it. And the only time I have come close to it is the more I understand how much I have missed out on, how much has been taken away, and how much I have not experienced because of my race.
It angers me when I hear the words “it was much worse back then,” because all that tells me is that the issue is still here and is simply being downplayed when it shouldn’t exist at all. It angers me especially when those words come from a white person; because it is not for a white person to tell me how much better the world is today when it comes to racism. Let the people who have been oppressed make that decision.
I have often wished that I could be white. It’s only recently that I have become proud of who I am. But I started to wonder how many white people have wished that they could be black. Not to have the desired black features, but wishing to have the black life.
And I don’t think I have to tell you the answer to that question.
How many people would gladly live the life of a black person, of any minority? It is a privilege that a lot of people will never have to experience such struggles, and will go on to live their lives; and yet will try and tell me how to deal with struggles they will never face.
I have never experienced hate. And if I had one wish, it wouldn’t be to be white. It would be that one white person lives their day as a black person, then still try to tell me how to feel.