I Fear For My Family And Random Black Men I Don’t Know, Because Every Last Hashtag Was Someone’s Baby

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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.

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 and three times before doing.

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 over qualified 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 fall out of being dismissed 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’, sister’s, cousins’, 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.”

Courtesy of Jacalyn Wetzel

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jacalyn Wetzel. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more from Jacalyn here:

‘My oldest son has said, ‘The school officer treats the black kids meaner. It gives me anxiety.’ I’d never tell you that at the ripe age of 14, my son ‘fits the description.’: Mom says ‘my mama heart breaks for reasons you’ll never fully grasp’

‘Black women are resilient because we have to be, not because we are stronger than you.’: Woman urges ‘our pain is real, physical and emotional’

‘I saw you pushing a stroller with a tiny pink princess backpack hanging off your shoulder, your daughter giggling hysterically as you made silly sounds.’: Woman pens ode to black fathers, ‘Your love is as endless as your potential’

‘I don’t really like black people, but you’re different.’ I shrank inside myself. I couldn’t change my skin, but I could lose every identifiable piece of who I was to blend in.’: Woman recalls experiences with racism, ‘I’m no longer a scared little girl’

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