My Heartbreaking Reality Living The Black Experience In America

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“We are tired. We as in Black people.

We are tired. Sure, you may be tired of discussing race – I’m tired.

I’m Black 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. I wear stress like I put on clothes in the morning. It hugs every part of me that the human eye cannot see.

When something doesn’t touch you the way it touches others, it’s fairly easy to dismiss it as over-exaggeration. It’s just simply not the case.

Today I have no time for statistics. Today I have no energy for arguments. Today I cannot entertain the sentiment of ‘all lives matter.’

Today I cannot. I simply can’t.

black woman sits in her car and takes a selfie looking defeated
Courtesy of Jacalyn Wetzel

I want people to truly understand we do not live in a post-racial America and do the hard internal and external work to better it.

Did you know while taking road trips, Black people have to be hyperaware of the rest stops and gas stations they stop to use? Is it on a main road? Will someone see me if there’s a problem?

And by problem, I mean, ‘If I stop here how likely is it that someone will try to assault or kill me because I’m Black?’

Did you know before we visit new states, we google populations and look for red flags that the area may be racist?

How about the fact that before we move to a neighborhood, we check the schools to make sure our kids won’t be one of the only Black kids in class.

We google information about the teachers and district to make sure there aren’t too many reports of racism.

So many things people take for granted, we have to think two or three times before doing them.

Visiting a state park? Oh, awesome, are there any other Black people present? I need to know I’ll be safe.

Keep getting passed up for a job you’re overqualified for. Is it because they don’t like me or is it because I’m black?

There’s an event or convention coming up. Are there any Black attendees or speakers? I need someone else to look like me so if something happens, I won’t be alone.

Did you know once, when I was nearly 9 months pregnant, I was pulled over for making a legal right turn on red? The officer said he wanted to make sure I wasn’t in the area to buy drugs.

Confused, I told him I was 8 months pregnant and not looking for drugs. He told me, ‘Pregnant people smoke crack every day.’

How about when I called the police on a convicted pedophile neighbor who was flashing my daughter before school? The officer insisted on running my information as a precaution to make sure I didn’t have warrants.

This is real life. These are the parts your Black friends don’t tell you because we exist in the world you create for us in your head.

We don’t want to bring you down, make you uncomfortable, or force you to see us as our color instead of your friend. We don’t want you to dismiss our hurts and prove yourself not to be an ally.

We don’t want to have to deal with the fallout of being dismissed and then getting angry and therefore now seen as the ‘angry Black woman/man.’

My stories are not unique. They’re the Black experience in America. I’m a college-educated, middle-class woman, who has never done drugs or broken the law, but I fear for my life if the wrong officer pulls me over.

I fear for my sons’ lives, their dad’s life, my daughter’s life, my brothers’ lives, my uncles’, sisters’, cousins’, and random Black men I don’t know – I fear for their lives because every last hashtag was somebody’s baby.

We are tired. So when we say Black Lives Matter, now is not the time to rebut.

Be kind. We’re tired.”

black woman with straight hair takes a selfie
Courtesy of Jacalyn Wetzel

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jacalyn Wetzel. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.

Read more from Jacalyn here:

5 Ways To Handle Your Child Being The Only Black Student In The Class

After Uncomfortable Experiences, Vloggers Dedicate Lives To Highlighting BIPOC-Friendly Travel Destinations

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