“I grew up in South Georgia. I know how racist it is down there. People come to Atlanta and think they know Georgia. You don’t know Georgia.
I had a white best friend once that I had known since 5th grade. She was never allowed at my house and I wasn’t allowed to spend the night at hers. When we got to high school, I guess her mother figured we were old enough to hear the truth. Her mother told her she could no longer be friends with me because I was black. She couldn’t come to my house ever again because my black brother lived there and my black stepfather had black adult male friends that would come to our house. We maintained our friendship though. We snuck around town stealing moments of friendship when we could. I reclined my seat once and hid in her car when we were at a stop light and her mother’s friend pulled up beside us.
I wish I could say I was shocked about what happened to Ahmaud Arbery, but I’m not. Because I know Georgia.
Wake up out of your fairytale make believe land. Some older people in this state…I don’t trust them. If you are over 60 years old living in South Georgia, there is a strong probability that in your younger years you either participated or witnessed a lynching of a black person. Time does not erase that kind of hate and disregard. This is Georgia. Things haven’t changed. They have just become better suppressed.
When a black person speaks on oppression and racism, it does not make them prejudiced, it makes them aware. It takes a real level of self reflection for a white person to look at the world from a perspective of their fellow human. When a system is built to benefit you, I don’t expect that task to be easy. I expect for it to hurt. It should hurt like hell. But on the other side of that pain, you will become an ally.
I am thankful for my allies, both black and white. I am thankful for those who were able to relate and reflect, especially those on the side of privilege. I have a daughter. She is 7 years old. I want to raise her in a world that is not filled with hate, murder, oppression, and racism. I am also a realist and I know that my hopes for this kinder future is a long ways off.
Instead, I can raise my daughter in truth and understanding. I can raise her to have empathy and strength. I can raise her in knowledge. My goal here is not to make anyone feel guilty. It is to make people think. Look beyond yourself and learn that by healing yourself, you can change the world.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Shanicia Boswell of Black Moms Blog. You can follow her journey on Instagram here and here. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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