letter to my own

Dear Black and Latinx family, I write this for you because I rarely do. This reality sunk in a few months ago during lunch with a former supervisor. We were discussing Tal Nehisi-Coates' Between the World and Me, pointing out how striking and vital it was that he so unapolegetically directs his thoughts to black people. In contrast, I realized that much of what I write has another audience waiting beyond the curtain. My subconscious has been molded by expectation and pressure to write for this audience, to teach and challenge, to elucidate and defend, to appease. Yes, appease because I fear being barred from the parties of discourse where I am viewed as exceptional--not one of "Those People." The unfettered desire races around the mind room where I hide it: I want to belong there--fully.


I think that black and brown people, my minority brothers and sisters of Asian and indigenous descent, we should not be ashamed of the interludes where we don't have everything together--where we are messy and unfiltered and simply trying to recuperate and process all we are doing and desire to do. We need to prioritize our mental and emotional health, despite the demands placed on us by our own sense of responsibility and our broken world.

the walking dead 

What does it mean when a black man, a black woman, a black child cannot drive home, walk from the store, go up the stairs, enjoy a playground without being framed as a threat? We may not have signs that say Whites Only or Blacks Only in our stores and bathrooms anymore, but that doesn't mean this world belongs any more to Black people than it used to. Racism has crafted insidious new ways of fortifying itself in our nation, and by convincing white people that its symptoms (urban poverty, gang warfare, substance abuse, high incarceration rates, unjust police shootings, mental illness) root itself in black culture and personal choice, white people have the freedom to avoid confronting the systemic and historical elements of the problem.