I’m tired of suppressing myself to get along with white people

Op-Ed By Priscilla Ward

I met my new roommates on Craigslist.  Two white, one Chinese.  Together we represented Portland, Florida, China and (with me) D.C., and as we moved into our apartment in Bed-Stuy last fall, I was excited for the potential of cross-cultural exchange.  We had a get-to-know you powwow on the rooftop.  We talked about ourselves, what brought us to New York.  It was a warm evening in September, a couple of weeks after Michael Brown was shot, and somewhere in the mix I brought up Ferguson, hoping to spark a “conscious conversation.”  Then it happened.  The nightmarish response.  “What’s happening in Ferguson?” one of my white roommates asked.  “I heard some kid got shot or something like that.”
…But I want to stop tiptoeing around race. My blackness is not a secret I have to keep. I want to be able to publicly express my honest admiration for being black, outside of my little black planet. I don’t want to feel marginalized, like I can’t speak hard truths about myself. Having honest and challenging conversations with people of another race will hopefully disrupt other people’s ignorance. But it will also help me. I need to stop with my mental temper tantrums. I want to get free.
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Salon.com |  Dec 31, 2015 | Priscilla Ward is a writer whose work has been featured on Health.com, AfroPunk.com, Youngist.org, as well as in Essence and Ammo magazine.  She’s obsessed with natural hair, bell hooks, sandwiches and really cool art shows. You can find her tweeting about running one moment and being black the next @Macaronifro.


5 thoughts on “I’m tired of suppressing myself to get along with white people

  1. http://theenglishprofessoratlarge.com March 10, 2016 / 10:40 am

    Race, gender, religion, politics…..all seem to separate people at times. I’m hoping the day will arrive when we can all just be human beings without being slotted into some category.

    Liked by 1 person

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