I have a lot to say and if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll find these thoughts quite redundant. But I need to put them down somewhere and get them out of my brain and off my chest.
Let me preface this by saying: I don’t hate white people. I think white people and black people need to work together to effect change. That being said…
I live in a white neighborhood. It’s a peaceful neighborhood with very little crime. One day, I sat in my car, idling in the parking lot next to my apartment, listening to the remainder of a favorite song. I had just come from the gym and it was at night. A cop car pulled alongside me with a white officer at the helm. He very politely asked if everything was okay and I replied that it was. He gave me a dubious “okay” and pulled away.
I’m not sure what probable cause he had for pulling up. Because businesses were closed? Because it was a lone car idling in the parking lot? Did he see that I was a woman all alone? Did he see a black person in a car and wondered what the hell I was doing in the neighborhood?
I’ll never know. But the latter option has run through my mind.
That’s not the only instance in which my family has had a run in with white cops. I often tell the story of my dad who was driving home (we lived in a predominantly white neighborhood) and was less than a half-mile from home when he got stopped by a cop. The officer asked what he was doing and my father said he was heading home. The officer asked where that was and my father said it was down the street, a couple of houses away. The officer let my father go and my dad made it home safely, but he was always convinced he got stopped for DWB — driving while black.
I had a conversation with my husband that left me in tears last night. Because I love my son and I well and truly believe that he’s somewhat at a disadvantage because of his skin color. Despite the fact that Trayvon Martin was not killed by a cop, I really fear my son getting into an altercation with a cop simply because he’s walking around with a hoodie at 6 pm during the winter when it’s dark. My son may be half-white but he’ll only be seen as a black man in the eyes of the law.
I’m tired of making excuses for black people and why they deserved what they got. Mike Brown didn’t deserve to get shot at 12 times. I don’t care if police are trained to empty their clip or if they’re supposed to shoot until a person goes down. I think that’s barbarous. That 12-year-old in Cleveland, Ohio, didn’t deserve to die. I don’t care if he chipped the paint off the toy gun to make it look real. He was TWELVE.
Minorities have a history of getting the short end of the stick:
- “Oh, that black person was being an idiot to the cop so of course he got shot.”
- “Oh, that woman was all over the man so of course she was asking to get raped.”
- “Oh, that Latin American immigrant came into the country illegally so of course his American kids should get deported.”
When does it stop? Who polices the police? I wasn’t much on white privilege before Ferguson, but I guess I am now. White people are more likely to be in positions of power. Black people, to succeed, have to (quite frankly) kiss ass in ways that their white peers don’t.
My mom always told me that black people have to dress nicely and act properly in front of white people if they want to get anywhere. My mother was promoted to the head forewoman position at her job from being a CLEANING LADY. She doesn’t attribute it to her great work ethic (which she had) and great English (she’s got a strong French accent). She attributes it to the fact that she dressed properly and always acted politely in front of white people in positions of power.
You see, I play the game, too. Where a white person can walk into an interview with jeans and be a likely candidate, I have to dress up in a business suit, be articulate, and put on my A-game to get the job.
Oh wait, that’s not a fair comparison because anyone who walks in with jeans won’t get a job in a white-collar industry.
You’d be surprised.
I’ve had to work TWICE as hard as my white peers to succeed in academics and in my career.
I really don’t believe white people are the enemy. It may sound like it, but I don’t feel that way. (Drop in reference to white husband that validates my lack of racism) My sole point is that white people hold the upper hand on a lot of things. In ways they don’t even realize. I may not always identify with my black peers, but that doesn’t negative the fact that my skin color is still dark.
So I guess I believe that white privilege exists. And I don’t know how to change it. It’s been an institution in America since the 1700s. Maybe the first step in breaking down white privilege is accepting the fact that, if you are white in America — and I don’t care if you’re a redneck or live in Appalachia — you have advantages over black people.
I guess that’s it.
I’m worlds better than I was in August, September, and October. After trying different medications (and getting back on my Vitamin D and fish oil with omega-3s), I’m finally starting to feel like myself again. Bubbly me. Not exactly cheerful but normal. I’m on a max therapeutic dosage for lithium and Lamictal along with reduced dosages of Prozac and Ability. The combination seems to be helping. I just saw my psychiatrist and he didn’t want to tinker with a good thing. I was in such a good mood that I drove myself to and from Philly safely and considered walking into his office as though I were manic. But I decided against that and just let him see my bubbly disposition.
“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” — Stuart Smalley
I haven’t really had suicidal thoughts lately. Not like when Robin Williams died. It’s like I took his death and internalized it to a point where I felt hopeless. Not like I knew the guy, but he was so vibrant and full of life that I couldn’t imagine living a life any better than he did.
I’m looking into a new daycare for my son. I was looking for something a little more local, but I just found out that he shares a crib with another baby at his current daycare. Even though the workers sanitize and put clean sheets down, it still rankles me that my son shares a crib with another baby. He should have his own! It could help explain why my son has been consistently sick with a cold since August.
My postpartum depression, I think, is getting better. I’m still afraid to care for my son when no one’s around. But I hope to use a few days in December to take care of him while everyone’s at work and show myself that I am capable of that. I need tackle this particular anxiety head on.
I suppose I’ll begin chronicling my bipolar depression journey here rather than on my other blog, depression introspection.
Since August, my mood has been up and down with “down” being severely low. I was suicidal. I’ve been suicidal. And when news of Robin Williams’s death hit my ears, it hit my mood as well. I honestly began thinking, How could someone so vibrant and alive kill himself? How could someone so talented and loved by so many people commit suicide? Then I thought, I’m not as talented as he was. Maybe I should kill myself too. I’m certainly not as loved as he is. What’s the point of living? I should join him.
Somehow, I managed to hang on to see my psychiatrist and I told him that the death of Robin Williams had triggered persistent suicidal thoughts. I hadn’t attempted to kill myself, but I was seriously considering it. He suggested that I try taking lithium, which has a track record of reducing suicidal thoughts.
I’ve been reluctant to take lithium because it requires that you get your blood levels monitored every 6 months. But when you’re desperate, you’ll try just about anything. (Probably just short of eating cockroaches. I certainly don’t have the stomach for that.)
“It’s been a long time… we shouldn’t have left you without a dope beat to step to” — Intro by Timbaland to Aaliyah’s song, “Try Again”
I’ve been dealing with severe postpartum depression and bipolar disorder as of late. It’s pretty annoying. I alternate between wanting to live and wanting to die. I’ll spare you the particularly gross details of my condition, but suffice it to say, it’s hard to do much of anything.
I’ve been working as a freelancer from home and it’s difficult to even do that. I have my husband assisting me on a project because I’ve lost 2 days to depression. It’s bloody frustrating.
The term “white privilege” makes me bristle. (See Matt Chandler’s post on “White Privilege.” I disagree with a good bit of it.)
White privilege is supposedly the idea that white people have an easier time in life than black people.
I want to say white privilege is bullshit. But it’s not. I submit to you, however, that black privilege exists too.
I do not subscribe the popular collective mind-set in Black culture. I do not believe everything revolves around race. Sure, dismiss my opinions as invalid because I am a first-generation American, but the fact of the matter, is: I was born in the US. I have a right to my opinion just like any other Black American.
There are a lot of conflicting reports regarding the shooting of Michael Brown. I have heard and read that Brown was a suspect in a robbery of a convenience store. It’s possible that he was not the actual suspect but a Black man (because all Black people look alike) who kinda fit the description of the suspect. There are witnesses who say that at the time Brown was shot, he was unarmed and had his hands up in the air in surrender. I have also heard reports that he was resisting arrest and charging police at the time he was shot. Another account says that Brown was shot in the back.
People, of all races and colors, just want the truth about what actually occurred. I do not think it is fair to conclude that the Brown shooting revolves solely around race simply because the police officer, Darren Wilson, is white and the victim was Black. Sometimes, unfortunate shootings like this happen regardless of race or color. We don’t live in a perfect world. This wouldn’t be an issue if Wilson were Black and Brown was also Black.
The second autopsy of Brown’s body revealed that he was shot six times, twice in the head. If it is true that he was charging at police, then the police had a right to defend themselves using force. But if Brown did have his hands up in the air in surrender and was shot six times anyway, then Officer Wilson has a lot of ‘splaining to do.
Officer Wilson is currently on paid administrative leave. The media have no clues on his whereabouts. Rumors are that Wilson has skipped town and is laying low somewhere out of state (probably a smart idea for him). His professional history does not include any complaints, but in fact, notes that he was commended for outstanding service. How does an officer with no history of violence or trouble suddenly find himself at the center of a racially charged shooting?
Monday, August 11, 2014 will be one of those days that live on in infamy for me. I will never forget where and when I heard the news…
I was working at the library for the evening and a patron came in.
“Did you hear the news? So sad.”
All three of us looked at her like she had three heads. What are you talking about? we all wondered.
She caught on to our looks and replied, “Robin Williams died. Isn’t that sad?”
At first, we gave each other puzzled looks, wondering who in our community was named Robin Williams and then… oh, we realized it was the big-time actor.