1. You may or may not have chronic bitchface syndrome. (Also known as bitchy resting face.) It’s your face, there’s nothing you can do about it apart from consciously smiling 24/7, which is just not going to happen.
2. You don’t understand why some people are characterized as being genetically predisposed to liking fried chicken. You think that most people who know what good friend chicken tastes like, and eat chicken….like fried chicken.
3. Men hit on you primarily with mentioning sentences involving: chocolate queens, nubienne princesses, and “exotic.” You’ll never get used to it.
4. You may or may not get loud from time to time when you’re excited. But you’re pretty sure that most people do too, and feel slighted that only a certain group of people gets called out for it.
5. You may use a lot of gestures when you speak but it’s largely culturally informed, both historically and presently. And maybe if “correct” ways of presenting and speaking were more inclusive, it wouldn’t be seen as something pejorative.
6. You’ve been told to “chill out” or “it’s not a big deal” by significant others, friends, etc. when you encounter daily microagressions/subtle and covert racism.
7. People give you strange looks when you ask them not to put their hands in your hair even if you don’t know said people from Adam.
8. You’ve been told that, “you speak so well.” You’re confused because such “compliments” are only reserved for a select group of people who all share “othered” experiences.
9. You have been asked to speak on behalf of all people of your race. From time to time, you still get asked, in more and more creative ways no less.
10. You may be called beautiful but at least half the time, it is preceded with a mention of your skin color/cultural heritage.
11. A friend, colleague, acquaintance, random person you just decided to have a conversation with, will inevitably ask if you want to be set up with the new Black friend they just made.
12. You have definitely heard from men of all racial backgrounds why they don’t, “usually date Black women.” But of course, they’ll make an exception because “you’re different.”
13. Every day, you are learning that your perspective of the world matters just as much as anybody else’s and deserves just as much of the floor.
14. When you discovered the term “intersectionality,” you almost cried because you were finally able to name some of the things you felt.
15. Your version of the events of your life is often called bitter or worse, untrue. But only because for centuries and seemingly endless generations, you weren’t even acknowledged as worthy of an opinion.
16. When people ask you for your opinion about something, lo and behold, you tell them even if it means going against the dominant perspectives of the world.
17. Sometimes you give your opinion, not because it is demanded but because it is needed.
18. You talk about your experience in the world which has consisted of prejudicial stereotypes but are told to “tone it down” because you’re “making everything about race.”
19. You spend so much of you time internalizing your experiences because you’ve (falsely) been taught by the world that silence is your best weapon of choice. But in the end, silence really just meant compliance with the status quo. So now you’re talking back, and you’re smart enough to know that being called angry when doing so, is just an attempt to silence your voice. But it’s too late, the speaking feels good and till you’re heard, you’re not going to stop talking.
20. You no longer ask for permission to tell your story, you just tell it. Because this isn’t even about you, it’s always about those who need to see people like you speak, so they can finally find their own voice.
21. Even when you are angry, it’s never at any group of people but usually at a history you have no power to change, and a present that some days feels powerless to even try to change. But alas, you’ll keep trying.