This may make you uncomfortable. This may rattle your nerves. Maybe it will mean the end of a friendship or even backlash that I’m okay with dealing with because this wedge between us has to be ironed out. You know the one I’m talking about, that uncomfortable door we’ve never really walked through because it could permanently shut down the prospect of being a part of each other’s lives anymore. I understand that’s scary for you, and at one point it’s even been scary for me. However; in light of the senseless violence, murders, and rampant racism unearthing itself like weeds across the world, my TV, and social media, you’d have to pardon me if pleasantries are out the window.
Black Lives Matter. I’ve said it, you’ve seen it, I advocate for it to the utmost degree and I’m writing this because I don’t understand how we can be friends, and you don’t advocate for it either. When I say advocate let me be clear that doesn’t mean posting rants, memes or tweets about your sentiments, though those are valid if that’s how you choose to express yourself. It’s being able to sit here and know without a shadow of a doubt that you believe that. That my life matters to you. The lives of my family, friends, associates, strangers, that these people matter to you. You value these people and recognize the injustices that are being forced upon us by select number of law enforcement regurgitating an old cycle of racism. You recognize that we are in a system that is failing us time and time again and people are frustrated.
I’m mixed, so maybe that makes this more complex for you, but I’ll try and break it down. Some of you I’ve known my whole life, others came into the fray at different times. Some of you are close to me and others are more cordial acquaintance’s. I’m aware that to you I may not be perceived as black-as far as you are used to identifying it. I don’t have dark skin, I speak like Carlton Banks, my hair though inherent of my culture is a blend of my biracial origins. I may not seem Black to you, but I am. Whether that’s a 100% or 50%, my ancestral roots and blood courses with the same prejudice, hate, and history as the people you see on TV. Their issues are my issues. Their injustices are my injustices. Their lives mirror my own to some degree or the next. You may not have ever truly saw me as black person, but I am.
I could just as easily be the victim of a hate crime, racial slurs, racism, and even unlawful death by a police officer. It may seem improbable or unlikely to you, but it is a sad reality that myself being a dual minority and person with brown skin has come to accept. If my life matters to you, then you should be able to recognize that I am also black- so my black life matters. All lives matter, but right now I am asking you to think of my black life and that it is under the same danger, threat, and discrimination as the strangers you see on TV. I want you to recognize that because you choose to stay silent you remain a part of an ever growing problem of people choosing to turn a blind eye to the continual injustice people of color are facing as we speak.
Do I respect your views, political beliefs, moral upbringings and opinions? Yes, I do. I encourage you to voice them and make them known to the upmost extent. Maybe if you did I wouldn’t be penning a letter wondering what they are. In particular, what they are when it comes to black life, brown life, minority life, my life. I understand some of come from conservative families where interracial marriage doesn’t exist and you live life within the comforts of a bubble. I know it, you know it, and I used to pretend that was okay, but it’s not anymore. You can only hide behind familial upbringing for so long when in public you portray a more liberal view of the world. It’s scary, I’m sure, but know that’s it’s scary for me too right now, and I don’t want to wonder what side of the line you tote. You don’t have to protest with me in the streets, but I should know you support the cause to the fullest extent. Don’t think because you don’t have “real black” friends you're exempt from making a stance at a time when social action is needed to create real change.
I respect it if we can’t be friends anymore, I understand. You’ll have to excuse me if I’m not okay with the lack of value you place on my life and the lives of my people. I want better for me, my people, humans, and the world. Being “Mixed,” doesn’t detract or deter me from having to make my own choices about how I choose to advocate for my people and being silent doesn’t protect you from that either. You may think nobody cares or notices, but if nobody is asking you these questions at a time when these conversations are vital to the development of more understanding, empathy, and sympathy from lives who you may consider far different than your own- I’m happy to do so.
Bi-Racial, Black, Mexican. Me.