The Stages of Grief/Window Seat

I thought watching black man take his last breaths on TV screen
Was becoming too much for me
But then there’s something about this new thing
Pale open palmed hands raised in hatred and bigotry
The media really doesn’t give a fuck about me
I suppose neither does reality    ~Whiskey

 Sometime about six years ago I remember watching Erykah Badu’s Window Seat video and crying my eyes out. It wasn’t that the video moved me to tears, but the commentary of the other YouTube users. In my eyes, her body was nothing short of absolutely beautiful and similar to the body I saw of myself whenever I took a look in the mirror. According to white America—and the ridiculous shit show that is the YouTube comment section— she was disgusting.

Witnessing racists react to Erykah Badu’s body in that music video was one of those small things that stuck with me for a long time and drudged up a lot of feelings from my past. In high school, I hung with the white kids, attended local rock festivals and crushed on lanky, pale boys with bright blue eyes. The me now would hardly recognize that girl—pining over boys who would never accept me much less develop a romantic interest. I was developing into a woman—a BLACK woman—with big hips and ass and thick bones. As naïve as I was about a lot of things, I always seemed to be highly aware that none of these boys would ever want me.  I carried with me the general belief that white people thought of the black body as disgusting. Of black people as disgusting.

The concept of white people’s secret condescension for us and our culture is a belief I held tough to for years. It was only maybe ten years ago—after entering the workforce and integrating with more diverse groups of people– that I began to think otherwise. White men are MEN, and most men just like and are attracted to women. White women are just WOMEN, and just because their hair is straighter and skin lighter doesn’t mean that they look down on me because I am not the same. I would ride the metro and look around at all the white people and tell myself to relax. We are all just people.

Fast forward today and that relaxation is nowhere to be found. I simply can’t do it– I feel just really sad…and tense when I look around at a sea of white faces. My black skin is an identifier but there’s no way for me to know the difference between friend or foe. Strange to say, but I think I am overall ok with blatant adversaries, it’s those who exist in the grey who make me weary. My empathy is spent, I can’t seem to muster any for the Trump supporters who feel so victimized and wounded. I feel displaced, severely disillusioned and betrayed without knowing whether those are even rational emotions to feel.

I’m not sure where I’m supposed to go from here. I haven’t seemed to complete the full spectrum of the stages of grief. I am in a vicious cycle, alternating between anger and depression.

No hopeful wrap up or conclusion. This post is just an update on my state of mind…

 

 

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