Over the past month or so I have started and stopped numerous posts. For a reason that was unbeknownst to me, I was just unable to finish writing. At first I thought it was writer’s block, but as I jumped from topic to topic I realized the actual problem: excessive, prolonged exposure to ignorance and injustice had put me into race overload; wanting to address every problematic or offensive instance where race.still.matters, but being overwhelmed with where to start (and wondering if it is all in vain).
You may be wondering how this happened. Well, everywhere I look there seems to be some type of a racially informed event. For example, on a superficial level, we have seen revived discussions on interracial dating and the obsession with Lupita Nyong’o. And apparently with the closing of After Midnight and Holler if you Hear Me, four black plays on Broadway cannot survive (though Motown and Lady Day are still thriving and Blacks are supposedly being cast in more roles). In the music world, we have the offensive culturally appropriating mess known as Iggy Azalea, and the irony of Catey Shaw, a Brooklyn transplant from Virginia who is now the epitome of Brooklyn gentrification and it’s effects.
In the past few weeks we have Wall Street Journal opinionist Jason L. Riley blaming the 80+ shootings in Chicago over the Fourth of July long holiday weekends on “ghetto culture.” On the brighter side, somebody finally called out Alice Goffman on her “tales from the stoop.” But things quickly took a turn towards the ignorant and unbelievable, lest we forget about the white man from Virginia who claimed a portion of desert between the African nations of Egypt and the Sudan as his own country and named his daughter princess in what may be one of the most blatant exercises of white privilege in a while.
We’ve seen that Baltimore PD was “happy” about their fifty thousandth follower; we then learned that they are “trigger happy” as well. Also, if you are a missing black woman (or black person in general), no one cares. And apparently four Palestinian children playing on a beach in Gaza can constitute a terrorist military threat on Israel. Most recently, we now know that if you are a black man in New York City accused of selling untaxed cigarettes the police may kill you (RIP Eric Garner).
And with all of this, I am on complete race overload. Just as I attempt to regain faith in humanity and a sense of optimism regarding the future of race relations in the United States, something happens and I am left at the corner of dumbfounded and offended. In the meantime, I will just sit here trying to add my drop to the bucket by trying to spark conversations and raise awareness from my keyboard.
by Portia Allen-Kyle