A Letter To My Privileged Friend

 Tachina Lee
Tachina Lee

You don’t know what it’s like to be taught to hate the skin that you are in. You don’t know what it’s like to have to go the extra mile to make white people comfortable because when they see you, they automatically see you as a sub-human thug. You don’t have to go into adulthood guarding your heart from men that share your pigmentation. You don’t have to be afraid to love someone that looks like you because love produces children, and children of your complexion get killed for no reason.

They are part of a dying breed being slaughtered like cattle because wearing blue absolves a person from responsibility. You don’t have people trying to invalidate what you say because if they aren’t experiencing what you are talking about, then obviously, no one else can be experiencing it. You don’t know what it’s like to lose confidence for guys to say they don’t date girls that look like me, and use “everyone is entitled to a preference” to justify being racist.

You don’t know what it’s like to go to walk into a full lecture hall and have people move away from you to sit on the floor. You don’t have to self consciously smell yourself to confirm the shower that you took this morning is not the reason why your peers are afraid to rub shoulders with you. You don’t know what it’s like for the media to constantly portray your kind as ugly. Sighting your nappy hair, full lips, and thunder thighs as unsightly.

You don’t know what it’s like to be pressured to find a “white guy” in order to feel an ounce of acceptance. To continuously seek acceptance from white people in order to validate your existence as a productive member of society. You don’t have to deal with white people asking why you braided hair looks like snakes or ugly rope yet praise Kylie or Hailey for wearing that cool, urban, and fresh braided hairstyle. You don’t have to listen to a group of girls you play soccer with say a girl would be pretty if she was lighter then make contact with their blue, privileged eyes and keep your composure so you aren’t labeled as the “mad black woman”. You don’t have to avoid hanging out with your kind so people don’t assume you are ghetto or up to no good.

You don’t have to live life painfully aware of the stereotypes that are pitted against you causing you to tiptoe your way through life afraid to talk to loud or act too hood. You don’t have to defend your right to go to a school that you got into because you graduated cum laude from your high school and not because of affirmative action. You don’t have to feel the silence in the room when you point out the fact that both of your parents hold master’s degrees and have never once “been a drain on the economy”.

You don’t have to cringe during the white-washed lesson about slavery and the civil war when they tell you that the war was about state’s rights and not about the abomination that the institution of slavery was. You don’t have to sit in that same classroom as the teacher explains segregation knowing that some of the very people you are sitting next to wish that it was still a thing.

You aren’t being told that you can’t live in a certain town because they are still very racist towards people that look like you. You don’t have to worry about where you travel too because your kind doesn’t experience daily hate crimes. You aren’t being told that you look like a monkey. You aren’t constantly having to writhe in anger at the fact that many of the people that you go to school with think that your kind “should not resist” that their perceived resistance justifies their death.

You don’t have to feel the pain of your friends complaining about getting too dark and ugly. You aren’t being forced to understand the fact that the lives of people that look like you don’t matter as another murder of a person that looks like you go uncharged. You aren’t being told that you should go back to where you came from. You aren’t being told act more docile as a slave so they don’t take your life away or not to dress or talk or move or breath a certain way.

So when you sit there and try to justify to my why you are so apathetic, please expect the harsh words and retaliation from me. Don’t ask surprised when I stop talking to you because I don’t want ignorance to so blatantly thrive right before my eyes. Don’t get offended when I show you statistics that don’t inflate your fragile, privileged ego.

Why do you resist seeing my point of view? Am I only 3/5ths of a human to you? When I look at you, I see ignorance but not bliss. How can you live in a world but not care about any of this? You use all lives matter as a blanket to absolve you from having to take a stand against the killing of human beings in Gaza, in Sudan, and in our very own backyard? It’s not enough to say that since it’s not happening to me, I am justified in living care free? It’s not your fault that you will never be forced to exhibit the level of tenacity, determination, composure, or cooperation as me. That you will never have to struggle against a government (that you pay taxes too) that calls itself the government of the land of the free.

Do I need a bullet in my head to show you that people that look like me are being targeted unfairly? How can you call yourself my friend when you don’t care about my kind? TC mark

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