I’m sat here writing this after two days of waking up and crying at videos of innocent black men being shot by police in America. Like millions of people across the world, the news of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile being murdered has shook me to my core and truly hurt my heart.
I just don’t understand why black people are still being treated this way, why are the police in America killing innocent black men and women more than they kill any other race? Does our skin colour really scare you that much, when will you learn that we’re just human?
So many questions that I feel will never be answered until one of the police officers are sentenced for their crimes, which after Sandra Bland’s, Eric Garner’s and many other deaths we just don’t have any confidence in the American justice system to indict the officers that shot Alton and Philandro.
It’s so frustrating to sit here in the UK, as 21-year-old mixed-race woman, feeling like there’s nothing I can do to help. So I sat down and thought about how I can feel a little bit less helpless and it struck me. The reason I feel so helpless is because I don’t have any close black friends or family I can go to in these situations and shout our lives matter!
Don’t get me wrong, I have the most amazing and supportive group of family and friends around me but when things like the recent shootings happen it really hits home that I don’t have anyone that can truly relate to what I’m feeling.
See I didn’t know my biological Dad, who is Jamaican, until I was 17. By this point I already felt like I knew who I was and the black side of me didn’t seem to have any space to fit into that. Over the past 4 years though, whether it’s because I met my Dad and his family or just becoming more mature I have started to involve myself more in black culture, from the music to natural hair to reading about how our race is still being oppressed throughout the world.
I always find it weird that to a lot of my white friends, I’m their only black friend and to them I fit in with many black stereotypes. With the way I talk, the music I listen to, the issues I talk about etc.. but if I try to talk to them about why #BlackLivesMatter, I can see that they agree what’s happening in America is horrible but they just can’t relate to how painful it is to our race.
I don’t have any close black friends I can talk to about it, I know black people but none that are close friends. Growing up if I hung around with black people I honestly felt like a fraud because they would just assume I had the same upbringing as them but no, my Mum and Stepdad are white and I could never really relate to the ‘Growing up Black’ hashtag.
One thing that has helped me to relate to my Jamaican heritage is the internet. Through social media I can voice my opinions and talk to other people that understand, I am slowly starting to feel more and more like I connect with black culture. I vow to no longer joke that I’m a coconut (you know black on the outside, white on the inside) I’m black inside and out and I will happily shout that whilst exclaiming #BlackLivesMatter as much as I can across social media doing my bit to raise awareness of this issue.
Saying this though I am mixed-race and I’m not ignoring the fact that most of my family are white and that I am obviously massively influenced by this compared to others that have been brought up in a black household. But the colour of my skin is brown, not white, meaning in some people’s eyes I am still someone that should be treated differently to my white friends and family and I want to do all I can to change this.
I guess what I’m trying to say, at times like these where ethnic minorities are fearing for their lives and their livelihood it’s important to feel connected to support and be connected to each other. If we show the authorities that we’re bound together by the colour of our skin across the world, they can never tear us down however hard they try.
If you feel like chatting more about this or feel the same way as me, please comment and I’ll message back!