Hi, I am going to be honest here. I was not planning on posting a blog post today. To give everyone some context, I am writing this on June 19th at 10:30 at night. Not that it matters, but I had a rough day. I didn’t want my voice to drown out the voices of Black people during this powerful weekend for them. For those of you who do not know, June 19th marks the actual end of slavery in 1865, 2 full years after President Lincoln “abolished” slavery. My goal was to celebrate and promote Black creators even more so than I typically do, but as I was reading The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness by Michelle Alexander, I felt inspired to share something. Maybe it’s the wrong time, maybe it’s not, I don’t know, but if this blog post is a mistake then I will learn from it. I want to talk about how naïve I was in growing up as a white girl. To be honest, I am still naïve, and I will never understand what it’s like to be Black and to go through the oppression that Black people face with on a daily basis. For that reason and many others, I stand for them.
I am 20 years old. I grew up with a Black nanny, she helped raise me while my parents were at work being incredibly successful. When I was a kid and I didn’t have many friends because I was the “weird” kid, my nanny was that friend. When she stopped working for us, I cried my eyes out because we had spent my entire childhood and pre-adolescent years with her. She was a part of our family for a long time. Some of my fondest memories of my childhood come from spending so much time with her. My nanny helped me become the woman I am today and own who I am. My favorite part of her was that she was fearlessly herself even in situations where she was visibly uncomfortable. If my former nanny ever reads this, thank you for being that friend and helping instill the values that my parents wanted you too. Thank you for showing up on my first day of middle school and cheering me on every step of the way. Thank you for being that friend when my “friends” wouldn’t come through and playing with me on my driveway every day, whether it’d be basketball or anything. Thank you for letting me try cool foods like sugar cane and taking us to a farmer’s market during the summer. Thank you for teaching me how to love and accept everyone regardless of who the heck they are, what they look like and so on. I am so fortunate to have had you in my life for so long, and I am so sorry for being so naïve for so long.
After educating myself these past few weeks, I can now say that I am understanding on how racism and oppression still impact the people like my nanny today. This lady who was a role model to me and treated me with the upmost respect deserves to be treated just like me regardless of her skin tone. In honor of my nanny and every Black person out there, I am going to be the best advocate I can be for the Black Lives Movement, forever.
To every Black person out there, I am working on my addressing my privilege and using it to my advantage to help you guys. I am truly trying to become the best ally I possibly can be.
To every White Person out there, read White Fragility by Robin DeAngelo, and educate yourselves on Black culture and what it’s like to be Black in the United States. Vote, sign petitions, and donate when possible. Links to educate yourself and what I am reading right now, are down below!
BLACK LIVES MATTER
What I am Reading: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness by Michelle Alexander
@dayswithdebois on Instagram