To live in America...

To live in America...

To live in America...

2 months ago

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Editor's Note: I wrote this a few weeks ago, right after the Royal Wedding. I wasn't going to post it but today someone tweeted something that emboldened me. So I pulled this out of my Word Docs and here we are...

To live in America is to live in constant fear.
Yesterday, I read the headlines of yet another school shooting. 10 people were killed, 9 of those were children.
The day before that, I learned the story of three Black girls checking out of their air bnb who were “mistaken” for burglars in California.
I was a Black girl checking out of an air bnb in California in March. That could have been me and my friends. Care free Black girls interrupted by everyday racism.
I'm honestly afraid...of everything. I don't know who's going to be threatened by my Black face and call the cops on me. I don't know who is going to look into the face of my sweet almost 2-year-old and deem him a man child capable of harm. Will his tiny legs sprinting down the hall scare them? Will they mistake the pink plastic fork permanently clenched in his tiny fist a weapon?
And my husband...my husband with the broad shoulders and muscular arms. Isn't he public enemy number one: a professional Black man minding his business?
I try not to let the constant barrage of terrible news cripple me into despair, but how I can ignore it when it hits me in the face at literally every turn?
Daily, I am reminded how little our Black lives matter. I am reminded, despite our so-called civil liberties, we are not free at all. Did you know a Black man could get shot in his own backyard? For minding his business?
I didn’t either.
HIs name was Stephon Clark.
Today the world celebrated the unlikely union of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. I never considered their union significant to my life, did not plan to tune into the Royal wedding. But when images of their fairy tale wedding bombarded me at every turn on social media, I wasn’t prepared for how much I needed to see a beautiful Black girl in a fancy gown and a diamond tiara. I did not realize how much I needed to see Meghan Markle marry her real-life prince. To see the Black representation weaved effortlessly throughout their wedding day. To see Prince Charles escort his new daughter in law down the aisle, in place of her father, a public show of solidarity. I needed to see the way Prince Harry looked at her when he saw her for the first time on their wedding day.
Hearing the news of another school shooting gutted me.
Seeing a real life Black princess warmed my insides.
The stark contrast of these feelings makes me feel like my insides are playing ping pong, badly. The world would have you think there is no hope, only empty, mind numbing pain. The tiny glimpses of love remind me life is still worth living, worth fighting for. I cling to these feelings because they make me human, make me feel alive.

I do not want to raise a son shrouded in fear. I want to raise a son who knows the sky is the limit, who understands life is a blessing. I can't do that if I'm too busy looking for the sky to fall.
I refuse to let them take my humanity without a fight. I refuse to let them shrink me down into a docile statue.

Brenda Fadeyibi
Brenda Fadeyibi
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