What If?

Royalty Free

What if I told you that you’re enslaved and it has nothing to do with picking cotton? Would you believe me? Every time you seek education that has nothing to do with your passion or purpose, or whenever you pay for things that you really cannot afford, then you’ve created your own 21st century slave experience. Cause that thing that you don’t want to do and can’t afford? It owns you.

What if I told you that American schools are still segregated? Would you believe me? Or would you make me open an education textbook, cite facts and statistics and validate my statement? Maybe I could invite you to visit a school that is dissimilar to your own child’s. Trust me, there’s one right in your city. Then, you might notice that de-segregation is just a concept, an illusion.

Royalty Free

What if I told you that historically black colleges and universities were initially created as means for African Americans to attain post-baccalaureate degrees that were otherwise denied by predominantly white institutions? Would you respect them as a part of black history? Would you include them as a US history lesson focused on racial progression?

What if I told you that the American housing industry was designed to keep African Americans in one concentrated area? Would you believe me? Could we discuss “white flight” as a thing? And then move on to urban sprawl and gentrification, and all the other ways that space is used to mark and re-mark racial territory. Could we discuss the concept of building circles around one another, instead of working hand-in-hand with our neighbors?

What if I told you that we could praise Madame CJ Walker’s creativity and business savvy while simultaneously criticizing how she used tools to perpetuate unnatural standards of beauty? Or would you tell me I’ve gone too far? She was a product of her environment kg. Yeah, I know. We all are.

What if I told you that you don’t have to work twice as hard to be seen as just as good as your white counterpart? Would you believe me or would you fall back on passed-down, generational myths? I promise you it’s not true. And if you find it to be so, then you might be in the wrong pocket of American society.

Royalty Free

What if I told you that when President Obama ran on “hope” and “change” eight years ago, he was also implying that we all do our parts in our own communities? Would you argue with me? Would you describe how many jobs past presidents have so-called created and how they made our American lives better? Or would you admit that it’s easier to place blame than to vote, legislate, or organize?

What if I told you that we have overcome a lot but there’s still much more to do? Would you take a day off work to figure it out? Or would you use your job as an excuse for not protesting on your capitol’s steps for better schools, stand your ground, police brutality, clean drinking water, or anything for that matter?

Would you?

13 thoughts on “What If?

  1. I will never forget the day I started at my first job out of college and stepped into this world of color and religion and race that I never knew existed while growing up in the suburbs of Denver where there is no diversity. I was that awkward girl asking my new Muslim friend, “but does it matter that your birthday is Christmas Eve? Do you have friends who don’t come to your birthday party.” He didn’t because his school and friends in NYC were just like him and he was segregated in a different way than I was. We marveled at each other’s lives. I love these posts and how they open my eyes to a different perspective, different challenges and different versions of history. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love this comment because, you know, we’re all ignorant of one another to some degree. And I appreciate the fact that you and others are willing to at least try and become familiar to make the world better. I mean sometimes that’s all it takes is trying.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love these posts because the force me out of my comfort zone and make me comment on things when I’m afraid I’ll say something wrong and offend someone. In my heart I know it’s better to risk the misstep and have to apologize than say nothing, but nothing is so much safer. Thanks for stretching me.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, that’s about the most interesting thing I’ve read in a while. I’ve never even thought about asking someone why they were attracted to another human being. It’s also interesting that GA helped you to see racism. I lived there for two years and it helped me to see it too! This is also interesting because I just read an African American guy’s confession that he hated being black while growing up, so much that he learned to speak fluent Spanish and started studying their culture. I’m always interested in understanding how people shape their identities. On a separate note, there’s a creative nonfiction mag accepting stories about identity. I’ll tweet it to you.


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