Awake

Added on by Rivers.

1. I changed my wallpaper and I'm feeling brand new about it 

2. I was talking to my sister this week about the Mike Brown shooting that happened recently and part of our conversation went something like this:

Her: America is so racist. I don't get that country. At least we don't have that here (in the UK).

Me: Sort of. We probably won't get killed by racist police here. We just experience a different, less explicit form of racism (institutional/systemic racism), where people of color are less likely to be hired/promoted, get less pay compared to their white counterparts, are more likely to receive longer/harsher sentences for the same crimes committed by white criminals, less likely to be hired/represented in the media etc. 

Her: I prefer that racism. 

She obviously would prefer no racism, but there's no safe haven... there's no country that a person of color can go to and say "Ah, I like this place. Equal rights, equal opportunities, judgments on how threatening/dangerous/competent/capable/intelligent/poor/hardworking etc I am aren't based on my skin color, my ethnicity won't hinder my job & educational prospects/salary/etc...".   

Neither is better... Both are dehumanizing, oppressive and meant to both fuck up how you see yourself and maintain a white supremacist power structure that most (a lot of?) white people can't see/don't think about/deny exists but benefit from.

For example (a conversation I had with one of my lecturers while I was doing my dissertation last year about the psychosocial adjustment of international students in the UK):

Her: How is it going so far?

Me: Good: Most of the students I've talked to have told me about some form of racial discrimination they've experienced.

Her: *surprised* Really?

Me: Yeah. I totally get it though. Like a few weeks ago, I was followed around in River Island by a shop assistant. Every turn I took, she was right behind me. It happened again in Boots a few days ago too. The security guard was on me almost the whole time I was there.

Her: That's strange. I thought that sort of thing (i.e. racism) ended*.

(*which is obviously an uninformed and naive thing to say) A white kid will never be followed around in a store because they're white. But me, as a black kid... that's part of my constant thought process/analysis (whether conscious or unconscious)...

                                            "Is this happening because I'm black?"

3. I've been reading a lot lately and interacting with people who are incredibly informed and smart and witty and funny and unapologetic and socially conscious and critical and read more books than I've touched this whole year and... I feel like I've just woken up. I've been asleep almost my entire adult life and didn't even know it.