[We continue to welcome #BLM guest posts. We pay $150 for accepted posts. 1000 words ballpark; profanity welcome. Art/poetry also welcome. Please send a draft or query/pitch to Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org]
Today’s post is by Tanisha Clark.
Tanisha Clark is pursuing her doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Tanisha has an interest in pediatric psychology, specifically the assessment and treatment of children with development disabilities. She is also the Social Justice Fellow at Children’s Health Dallas Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence, where she studies the impact of trauma-informed care training on medical and allied health students. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Spelman College and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Southern Methodist University.
The world stood still just long enough to hear the roar of our pain. We grimaced in silence and wondered if we had finally shed enough BLOOD to warrant legitimacy. We awakened to a sea of corporations regretting their errors. Companies that spent millions to research the rates at which marketing e-mails are opened could not have possibly had the resources or the insight to understand a day sooner. Validation, gratitude, and accomplishment swelled in the eyes of those newly aware; awakened to another task to be appropriated and fixed.
Didn’t they see, we were still BLEEDING?
You see, the moment they woke up was simply that, a moment in time, and if this moment does not produce the momentum to change the way that power is exchanged, we will forever be BLEEDING. BLEEDING out boys and girls that should have been allowed to be children, BLEEDING out bright minds and powerful voices that deserved an opportunity to be cisterns from which our people drink wisdom. Still mourning ancestors, we will never know, on a mantle of incomplete family trees. Consistently piecing together our identities and forever unlearning the names first branded into our skin now seared into our psyche—imposters in a stolen land, ironically built by our own hands. A place where uttering the truth is blasphemous to a system that demands applause for legalizing our existence.
We have been BLEEDING for over 400 years.
Slowly but onward we have trudged, in Assata Shakur’s words, “A little slower. And a lot more deadly.” With a resolve to annihilate the roots of oppression and hold up a mirror to the world as we profess, “The crime lies in the fabric of this capitalist society, stitched so intentionally with racist ideologies.” Contrary to your narratives, it is not my Black skin, that has been stripped of its roots and admonished to professionally “blend-in.” Yet, as we cover our wounds and mask ourselves to fit in, we are still BLEEDING. With every passing aggression, though micro in size, but insidiously eroding with time,
We breathe and BLEED until we can do neither.
“Save yourselves!” the masses once cried. But how can a world with unskilled hands, inept in the art of healing, ask the hemorrhaging to rescue themselves? The miracle is that, while BLEEDING, we’ve produced greatness under the most uncomfortable of circumstances. Yet, you’ve asked us to silence corporate cries that give voice to our pain, because it wouldn’t be fair to make others feel uncomfortable. Instead, we should be optimistic and as malleable as sand, while we simultaneously stand, in a system built with a concrete resolve to ensure that we will forever BLEED. Why do our faces produce such discomfort? Why does our equality make you fret so that you inflict more wounds, thinking perhaps we won’t appear to stand quite as tall as you? Normalizing our degradation in the form of mass incarceration, substandard housing, oppressive legislation, and failing schools.
Then you, yes you, ask us to compete while we are still BLEEDING…
If you are reading this know, we have paid in BLOOD for what was given to some at birth. We have screamed loudly for rights handed delicately to those with power and privilege as a rite of passage. Yet still, we are the most resilient of forces, and we will not be deterred. Our healing cannot be wrought simply by the condolences in your statements, misaligned gestures, and jargon filled words. So, the next time you feel accomplished after posting a hashtag know that I cannot lift my hands to applaud you, because I am applying pressure to my own open, BLEEDING, wounds.
Hashtags cannot stop hemorrhaging, but ask yourself what your hands can do…
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