My Truth Equals Their “Victim”

(Disclaimer- I proofread this post a dozen times and used Grammarly to help. If you see any mistakes, I’m only human.  And I am not perfect.  Thanks for reading!  Please share and comment!)

Last week I posted a blog called, “Dear Scared White People” that I felt needed to be said, written and read.  I knew that with that title alone, there were sure to be some negative comments.  I have posted that blog before and the ridiculous comments I received were from people I could tell did not read it.  This time I only received two adverse comments from people who took that time to read it (which I appreciate) before misconstruing EVERYTHING I was saying.  But I digress, that’s not what this post is about.  No, this post is about one particular from a gentleman who commented, “Race relations also aren’t nearly as bad as many people think.  The world is not out to get you, and this was painful to read simply because it seems like an attempt to play victim.”

1.) Race relations ARE THAT BAD.  If he truly looked around at what’s really going on in this world instead only focusing on HIS experience is in this world, he would see that.

2.) The reality star sitting in the White House playing, “pretend President” just tweeted that four congresswomen (who are all women of color) should go back to their home countries. Three of which were born and raised in America.

3.) RACE RELATIONS ARE THAT BAD.

But just to reiterate, that’s not what this post is about.  This post is about the last part of his comment where he said my post seemed like, “an attempt to play victim.”  Why is it that whenever anyone tells their truth in this world, the opposition always says that they are playing the victim.   According to Webster’s Dictionary, a victim is, “One that is acted on and usually adversely affected by a force or agent.  One that is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment.”  Just to be clear, that blog post was not about, “playing the victim” in a big bad world full of racist bullies.  (Hope you could pick up the sarcasm in my description of the world.)  That post was about showing the facts as they are for African Americans in America.  Period.

I have heard the word “victim” thrown around in other situations, not just race relations.  Whenever a man or a woman speaks out about discrimination in all of its inglorious forms, to those who oppose, they are playing “victim.”  The opposition says they are using the word as a “way for you to absolve yourself and other protected victim groups of the left of personal responsibility” as the gentleman above continued in his comments.  Isn’t he a gem?  (Insert hard eye roll here)  By Webster’s definition above anyone who has been, “subjected to oppression, hardship and mistreatment” is a victim.  Some people because of racism, sexism, sexual orientation, or their financial class in society.  They are, by definition, victims.

The opposition (whoever is on the opposite of your position) seems to never take the time to hear what you are saying.  This is usually because they are getting their rebuttals ready in their minds.  They are digging deep in their cerebrum to compose thoughts to justify why you’re wrong and they’re right.  And to find reasons why it’s, “not nearly as bad.”  Calling someone a “victim” is a hell of a lot easier than dealing with the reality of the truth.  And the one thing most of us humans fear the most (besides public speaking and death) is the truth.  It forces us to take a deeper look at ourselves and those around us in a way that is often uncomfortable.  I know that I have struggled with learning certain truths about myself and the way I think.  But the one thing I don’t have trouble doing is hearing someone else’s truth, listening and empathizing.  I may not be able to fully relate to their situation, but I don’t disregard it by claiming they are making an, “attempt to play victim.”

Everyone in this world is going through something at some time or another.  And no one can speak to anyone else’s experience in this world because they can’t exactly walk in their shoes.  Instead of quickly labeling someone a “victim”, why not take the time to find out what the world is like for them.  Because just because you don’t see, doesn’t mean it’s not real.  I’ve never seen our planetary universe with my own eyes, but I know it’s there.

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Dear “Scared White People”

(Disclaimer- I proofread this post a dozen times and used Grammarly to help. If you see any mistakes, I’m only human. And I am not perfect. Thanks for reading and please share!)

Dear “Scared White People”,

Hi.  My name is Nyikia and I am a concerned black woman.  And just so I’m clear here from the start: This is NOT CLICK-BAIT and I’m not talking to ALL WHITE PEOPLE. Nor, and I can’t even believe I have to say this, racist.  I have the working knowledge to know that people of color have white allies out there.  Thank you for that and this letter isn’t for you.   I’m writing this letter to the “scared” or “concerned” white people out there because I’m growing quite worried (and pissed off) by your behavior toward black people.   I have listed a few examples to clarify:

1.) Calling the police when black people are waiting for their friends in the local Starbucks. (Happened in Philadelphia.)

2.) Calling the police when black people gather peacefully in the park to have a BBQ with friends and family. (Google BBQ Becky.)

3.) Calling the police when black people are going to view a house that is for sale. Even though the person is a real estate agent, and had been authorized to do so.

4.) Calling the police when black people check out of an Airbnb (with their luggage in full view) because you thought they might be burglars.

5.) Calling the police because a black father was cheering his son on during his soccer game. (Google Golf cart Gail)

And most recently, a man named Christopher Cukor called the police on Wesley Michel (a black man) waiting outside of an apartment building for his friend.  After asking Mr. Michel what was his friend’s name that he was waiting for (as if he’s someone’s authority figure), he proceeds to call the police to report a “trespasser.”  In a video, you can see Mr. Cukor’s son say to him, “Daddy, please don’t I agree with him, daddy.  Please don’t.  I don’t like this.  I don’t like this.  Let’s go.”  Mr. Cukor proceeds to tell the 911 dispatcher, “He appears to be African-American.”

(Side Note: Appears. Clearly, you can see since you’re standing less than ten feet away that this man is African-American.)

When Mr. Michel’s friend shows up, Mr. Cukor quickly changes his story to the dispatcher telling them that he was actually waiting for his friend.  As he had already been told by Mr. Michel before wasting the 911 dispatcher’s time with a bogus call.

I’ll stop here because, with the list and story above, I could go on and on with examples of your less than stellar behavior.   here is a consistent pattern of all the things that I wrote about.  This pattern of calling the police on people who don’t look like you.  Or who you feel are in the wrong place for their color.  Why is that?  I could understand if they were doing something that warrantied your suspicion.  But clearly, in the instances listed above, they were not.  The suspicion you had was based merely on the color of their skin.  What you THINK you know of how African-Americans behave.  And also, the prejudices you have acquired over the years due to what you THINK.  Now I understand that your prejudices could stem from a learned behavior passed down from generation to generation.  And some have come from outside sources:  literature, television, hearsay and most notorious the media.  I’m really trying to work with you “scared white people,” I really am.  But at a certain point in life, you have to take inventory of yourself.  Not everything you see and hear about people is true.  Even the cheeto in chief (aka America’s current reality star president) knows this.  Hence the term his administration loves to overuse, “fake news.”  Although in his case most of what we hear about him turns out to be absolutely true.  But that’s a post for another day.

Let’s get back to the task at hand.  I understand having a little concern for the unknown. Dark places, stray animals, emails from strange addresses and yes our fellow humans.  I grew up in the ‘80s with McGruff the Crime Dog, so I learned all about stranger danger. Whose lessons on safety I still use today.  But the one thing McGruff never taught was to be afraid of someone based solely on their skin color.  If you asked the average child today to describe someone that frightens them, I’m pretty sure a stranger’s skin color wouldn’t come up.  Unless the child was taught that type of racial bias in the home by their family members.  So why is it children are wiser in this regard than most adults   I work with children for a living, and I notice that they have a tendency of seeing people for exactly who they are.  Race not included.  When they judge you, they judge you on your merits.  Race not included.  When they are leery of someone, it is because of the vibe they get from the person.  RACE NOT INCLUDED.  The other day I was in a library waiting in line and this small Caucasian little boy kept looking at me.  I smiled at him and he gave me a really big cute smile back and then hid his face.  This went on and on for a few minutes until it was my time to go to the counter.  Was he afraid of me because I looked different than him?  No.  Was he afraid of me because my skin is brown?  No.  He just saw a friendly person who smiled at him, so he smiled back.  Children are usually both open and eager to get to know someone who is different than themselves.  They ask questions without assuming they know the answer.  Children just see a person much like themselves with zero prejudgments.

So why haven’t adults learned to do this already?  For people who are older and supposed to be intellectually smarter, we sure lack the intelligence of the average child. I’m going to take this time to let you in on something you should have already figured out by now: NOT ALL BLACK PEOPLE ARE BAD PEOPLE.  That is shocking right?  I know the truth can be most times.  But I feel you really need to know and understand that fact. Let me be clear here, there are bad people in every race, gender, and country.  Being a bad person is not relegated to a racial thing.  It’s a personality and behavioral thing.  If I went around thinking certain things about certain races, then my belief right now would be that all white people are racist.  Out to get me, want to see me dead and think I’m lower than the dirt on the bottom of their shoes.  And clearly, that is not the case.

I have a suggestion on how to help you “scared white people” in working through your prejudices.  Provided you actually want to get rid of your judgmental nature and possibly make a few new friends.  BE OPEN.  Get to know more about the black people that you encounter in your everyday life.  Learn different things involving black culture and ask questions.  Take a genuine interest in getting to know a person that just so happens to have pigment darker than yours.  Those sounds like lofty goals, but it can be made easy. You can simply start by saying, “Hello.”  Easy enough right?  Have a friendly conversation with your black co-worker that you see all the time.  Get to know them on a level that’s based on common ground, common interest and a humane level.  You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll have in common with the average black person.  Everyone has that one family member that they don’t like in their family.  You avoid them at all costs at family functions until another relative asked you if you said hi to them.  You can easily bond over that.  Or how you love your kids to death, but could sometimes punt them like a football when they get on your nerves.  You can’t always judge a book by its cover.  You have to pick it up, read the description on the back or inside cover in order to learn what it’s about.  And the same goes for people.  All I’m saying is get to know someone who’s different than you before you judge them.  And for the love of God:

STOP CALLING THE POLICE ON BLACK PEOPLE FOR NO GOOD REASON.

With all love and sincerity,

Nyikia

Who’s Assuming Who?

(Disclaimer- I proofread this post a dozen times and used Grammarly to help. If you see any mistakes, I’m only human. And I am not perfect. Thanks for reading!)

Last week I posted a blog post called, “Dear Scared White People” that received mostly positive comments.  But three people took issue with the title… (Insert dramatic music here) without having read the post.  On the Facebook blog post, one woman said, “I am not a sensitive woman, but the title of your post turned me off.  I am just being honest. While I am sure it is all in good humor, I wouldn’t click it.”  Although she said that she wasn’t a “sensitive woman”, the fact that she felt a strong emotion to just the title tells me she is.  I promptly let her know that I wasn’t trying to be humorous.  I told her that the post wasn’t directed at ALL WHITE PEOPLE.  I have the where with all to know that not ALL WHITE PEOPLE behave in the manner in which I was speaking of in my post.  I go on to explain that the title is directed at the so-called “scared” ones.  The second person left a comment that said, “Wow racist to a T.”  (Insert the emoji with the person with their hand over their face.)  The sheer ignorance and cluelessness of that person didn’t surprise me one bit.  And the third person said it was, “terrible click bait” and “kind of offensive, too.”  He went on to say that it was a “terrible assumption to make with the title.”  He continued by saying, “The way you’re approaching, what I would assume is an important matter based on other comments here, is terrible.  You’re projecting an assumption of an entire racial class.”  To which I responded, “So from your statement, I can tell that not only didn’t you read the post to find out exactly what and whom I’m talking about.  You didn’t even read all the comments posted here by others.  You are ASSUMING you know what I’m talking about based solely on the title.  The exterior.  So don’t say I’m projecting an assumption when clearly you are doing the same.”  After addressing all three (politely I might add) what do you think happened?  Absolutely nothing.  Complete radio silence from all three, just as I expected.

By their comments, I feel, they clearly fit the narrative of people making assumptions about certain things without learning the truth.  It piggybacks a little off last week’s post about people calling the cops on people of color because they made assumptions about them.  The assumptions being who they think these people are or what they think they may do.  Let me be very clear here:  ALL HUMANS make assumptions about others at one time or another.  (Raises hand…..I’m guilty of this.)  I have a friend named Kevin that I have known for ten years now.  When I first met Kevin, I didn’t think we would have anything in common.  He listened to different music, he wore Insane Clown Posse tee shirts and he wasn’t the friendliest looking guy.  I made assumptions about him based on what I saw and nothing else.  Fast forward to now, and he’s one of my dearest friends.  I’ll be attending his wedding next summer.

I developed inaccurate and stupid opinions about people.  Most of which were truly unwarranted and unfair.  The one that I used to make was if a particular white person I encountered would be racist.  These thoughts stem from interactions I had while growing up black in America.  I’ve been followed around a store while shopping on a few occasions.  Sometimes I’m still nervous that someone thinks I may steal from a store just because I’m black.  I’ve heard things said like (insert their idea of a compliment here) for a black girl.  And the infamous, “You’re different than other black people.  You’re not like them.”  I’m still not sure how to process that last one.  The fact that I have encountered a few bad apples in the bunch is in no way an excuse for me to think all white people are racist.  But I wanted to give you some context as to where my thoughts came from.

As I stated above, we all make assumptions.  We assume that we will not like the taste of certain foods because of the way it looks or smells.  We assume that we won’t like a movie because of reviews it received from our family or friends.  We assume that the title of a post is “terrible click bait” without knowing that the person titled it that way to convey an important message.  And we assume that a whole race of people are bad because we have heard things or had an unpleasant experience with someone of that race.  Assumptions get people in a lot of unnecessary trouble.  So take the time to dig a little bit further beneath the surface before you project your own thoughts onto a situation.  Who knows?  Maybe you’ll make a new friend you thought you wouldn’t have anything in common with.  Or maybe, just maybe, you learn something you didn’t know about yourself.

Yes, I’m single…. And?

There are truly very few things that I hate in this world.  Rude people, cantaloupes (someone is sure to take issue with that), the sound of my mother’s complaining and someone questioning me on why I’m single.  I hate that last one with an ultimate passion. I’ll paint the picture for you.  I run into someone that I haven’t seen in a long time and they run down the gamut of the usual questions.  How have you been? What’s new with you? Do you have any kids yet?  How’s your mom?  And finally the dreaded….Are you seeing anyone?  I swear when I would tell people, “No I’m single”, I used to feel like I was wearing a scarlet letter on my chest.  Shouldn’t have felt that way, but often times I did.  After my response I was usually given the obligatory slight head tilt and the common, “They’re out there. You’ll find them.”  First of all, did I ever say I was looking for them?  And second, how about THEY’LL FIND ME.”  I’m a catch over here.

It just boggles my mind that it’s so hard for people to understand someone choosing to be single.  It’s as if they think you chose to be single because you can’t get anyone.  When truth be told that’s totally not the case.  I tapped out of dating somewhere in 2016 after years of encounters with the undesirables over and over again.  Undesirables meaning that same type of person who had nothing new to say or give that the one before them had. You can go around forever saying, “There are no good men or women in this world.”  And be honest, some people overall aren’t shit, but that’s a topic for another day.  Or you could do a little self-inventory and figure out what else could be the problem.  Let’s see what could it be……Not enough singles where you live?  The places you go?  (How come I never meet anyone at the club?)  The internet?  (Dating sites have nothing but perverts on them.)

I’m sure all of us have thought these things at one time or another.  But have you ever stopped to think that maybe the problem is…you?  That’s what I came to realize about myself.  I was the common dominator in these situations with these undesirables.  I was the fucking problem.  How could I possible to be the reason why I’m single?  I’m fucking awesome!  Right???  I came to realize that I was the one attracting certain individuals into my world.  That was definitely not an easy pill to swallow at first.  But I had to face the cold, hard facts of my current reality.  When I really sat down and thought about the kind of person I wanted to be with, I came to another conclusion.  I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR THEM.  (It was a sad fact, but also a funny one to me.)  The person that I desired to be with was totally out of my league, in a big way.  That revelation came as a big shock to me really.  How could I seriously list certain qualities I wanted in a spouse and not offer them myself?  To me, that’s just stupid and ridiculous.  So in 2016, I tapped out of the game of dating.  For me tapping out basically meant the following:  No more online dating, going out with friends and fully enjoy myself without worrying if I would meet someone, learning to be happy and single, working on whatever qualities I wanted to have that I didn’t and working on my body, spirit, and mind.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be single for the rest of my life.  Hell no.  But I want to meet someone perfect for me to share my life with.  Maybe have a little family of my own someday.  Honestly, I’m still up in the air about kids.  I mean I’m not afraid of being a mother.  I think I would be a great mom.  But my friends have told me way too many of their horror birthing stories.  They have scarred me for life.  (Insert crying and laughing emoji here.)  But that’s a post for another day.  What I am sure about is that the person I want to be with has certain qualities that I didn’t have at the time.  I was wasting my time going out with the same type of person, doing the same bullshit over and over again.  Having the same experiences which always lead to the same results.  Aggravation, disappointment, sadness (often cause I thought I would never meet the right person) and anger.  The anger I felt stemmed from the fact that I had made the same choice as before.  (Insert emoji with the girl with her hand over her face.)

So I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I took a good, clear look at myself and what I wasn’t happy with and took it from there.  And guess what I discovered?  I became way happier when I focused on myself and left dating alone.  Now I know that may sound strange to some people reading this.  But it is the God’s honest truth.  Some might think to themselves, “She’s actually happy being single?  Oh my god, I would die.”  And a few years ago, that person was me.  But I have come to believe (and know) that I needed to take this time to get my mind right.  And more importantly, get my shit together.  I can’t be any good to anyone if I’m no good to myself.  That makes absolutely no sense.  The famous drag queen (and media mogul) has a saying that he says at the end of every episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race.  And it goes, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an Amen?”
Amen…..

If I had the almost impossible task of describing how life on earth was to a being from another planet at this day and time I might say: Uneasy. In light of the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas by some pathetic old loser (who probably wanted to die but was too afraid to just go ahead and do it) it’s safe to say that we are even more on edge. I have heard some say it’s the eclipse or the environment for all the craziness going on right now. I say the problem is just the human race in general. Since the beginning of time, humans have believed that they are better and more superior to every other creation on this planet. And that includes believing that some humans are better than certain other humans. That thought process has also manifested itself into some believing that because some humans are who they are, they deserve more than others. Humans have harbored rage, resentment, jealousy and hatred in our hearts for others since biblical times.  The recent shooting in Vegas could very well be a product of this. People have killed others for various ridiculous reasons century after century.  Many have lost their lives over land, money, the rights to own other humans (that one gets me the most), personal property (or lack thereof), the color of someone’s skin, gender, sexual orientation, etc. The list could go on and on for a numerous asinine reasons.  All of which some human who has committed the act would be able to justify. (Shaking my head) Truthfully all reasons come down to one common thing: HATE.  Hate is defined as “an intense or passionate dislike.”  Hate for others, hate for the world, hate for their circumstances and most importantly for themselves.

Even though this world has more of its fair share of hate, there is still a lot of love going on among its inhabits.  During the course of that asshole shooting people, the victims were helping strangers they didn’t even know get to safety. Others stayed by people sides they didn’t know while they took their last breaths.  Many comforted each other in the midst of the gun fire, after it was over and still today.  I say all this to say this: LOVE ALWAYS WINS IN THE END!  Why do you think hate is constantly coming at love all the time?  Because it knows that love is way more powerful and can’t be beat.  Period.  At times it can be hard to see this, but if you keep your heart and thoughts pure, love will prevail.  Try to be nicer to each other while you have your human experience here on earth.  And don’t forget to be nicer to yourself as well, because you need love too.  And if you think no one cares about you or thinks about you, please remember this.  I say a prayer every night for every single person on this planet.  Good or bad and whether they like me or not.  So just know that you are in that prayers as well.  LOVE.