Open Letter to a Friend

There are many titles that describe me:

Woman, Mother, Feminist, Womanist, Career Oriented, Ambitious, God fearing, Black.

Too many more to name, but I wear many hats daily. Life is not simple. History teaches us that if we don’t know our history we are doomed to repeat it. That is a fundamental fact. God is in everything we do and breathe, but that doesn’t mean that because I love God I can’t love my race and want us to be better. Race separates us and Gender separates us. That is the point that I’ve always tried to make. You can’t speak about being a woman just because you love God and treat everyone the same. You are a man. You will never know what it is like to give birth, have breasts or a cycle every month. Doesn’t mean you can’t empathize with me about these things, but you can’t speak on them from experience because you haven’t experienced them for yourself. And I can’t speak on being a man. I can’t speak on being Jewish. I can’t speak on being gay. I am none of those things. But, I can empathize with injustices that are done to each and every group. Because I am human. However, I can speak on being black and being a woman because I am both.

I’ve spent most of my life knowing that I had two strikes against me: the color of my skin (black) and my gender (a woman). I have always told you that the difference between me and the next person is that I wanted it bad enough. Doesn’t make me better than someone else. It just shows that I am ambitious with a fighting spirit. I get discouraged at disappointments. I get heartbroken, but I keep pushing forward. I love and respect everyone, but I will always want my people, black people, to do better. I don’t blame the “man” for anything, nor do I believe that every person who is not black is against me. That is not true.

Belief. What do I believe? I believe that we are still fighting in some areas to be heard and to be treated equally and fairly as black people and as women. I believe that there are many myths that black women are trying to change, avoid and defunct on a regular basis. These include being ghetto, angry, a chicken head and promiscuous. I don’t believe that everything is equal and that racism doesn’t exist. We are better than yesterday and I pray that we continue to get better. But, alas we are human. I know you may say that I seem to have a great career and make decent money, but I had to fight and prove my worth in everything. Nothing was ever given to me. I earned it, but I believe that Affirmative Action is part of the reason and wonder where I would be had there been no Affirmative Action?

I wish the success of everyone, but as a black woman raising a black man, I will never let him believe that racism doesn’t exist. But, I want him to know that his attitude towards it and his people will play a part in his future. He can’t sit idle and watch his brothers take the wrong path without speaking up. He can’t be discriminated against in school without speaking up. He can’t go to medical school or travel the world without knowing that he is somebody divinely created by God, but that the color of his skin will always matter to some people. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best in his “I Have a Dream Speech.” He said, that “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

That day has still not come as long as there is racism in this nation. We have made significant strides as African Americans but there is still work to do. I will always fight for equal pay, equal education and benefits for those that don’t have them. We may not agree on what is important in this world, but I as a human being, a black woman can’t sit by and do nothing. I don’t ever want you to treat people differently as a supervisor. Hire and fire based on your company’s policy and not bias.

I want you to know that I support your ministry and you deserve to reach the masses from the pulpit. I will try to continue the footwork and knowing that in order for our churches to be successful, we as a people have to be successful. Not a black thing or white thing, a human thing. I just need you to understand and accept me as I am. A black woman fighting for her people and for God.

OLYMPICS BLACK POWER SALUTE

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