most of the people who don’t believe that safe spaces matter usually don’t understand the constant threat against those who need them. just because certain people don’t identify with the problems at hand, that means that no real issue exists?
I continue to hear stories of people who have been traumatized before & after the recent elections in the U.S.
I try to protect myself from all that continues to contribute to the disrespect of Black people & anything involving politics. It’s hard to do when you are worried about the future of your people.
who are you or anyone else to decide the importance of safe spaces to people?
I see that privilege has seemed to ‘afford’ some people the right to criticize those who need help with going over the hurdles that racism & privilege allow some to overlook.
the violence that some experience along with unfair treatment throughout life can be overwhelming. it’s psychologically burdening, & the majority of people in the U.S. can’t seem to understand the impact of such hatred.
to have your life threatened because you speak out or make a fool of the system means that freedom is costly. but that does not matter to people who want to dismantle this idea that there is a such thing as a post-racial society. hearing the term for the first time made me gag. like what does that even mean?
to have professors ask if I’ve ever experienced discrimination to verify whether or not racism really exists still baffles me. of course I was not about to offer the examples my great-great grandmother, great-grandmother , grandmother, mother or myself along with the men I am closest to provided. that was so much ammunition.
but I was shocked. I felt targeted, & I did not speak up.
i’ve been called a terrorist by a person in a pickup truck with one of those flags on it. i’ve been called a tramp with my roommate while being fully clothed in broad daylight on campus by white men. i’ve been sexually assaulted by a white man on a bus on my way to see my fiancé. i’ve been groped by a Black man on a public bus on my way to work. i was hit on by the man who killed one of my best friend’s close friends. i’ve had to escape from men trying to pull me into their cars.
it’s all real.
it’s no fake news story.
i have no reason to hide it.
i could give you many more examples.
so why didn’t i respond when people in authority made me feel uncomfortable? i ‘checked’ people my age. i made sure to make them feel uncomfortable. others as well.
but my future was really at stake in some of these cases, I guess. I still feel guilty for not speaking up.
I had to learn to love myself more & try to create something that offers the chance of growth.
i didn’t care after a while.
i had to be myself.
i couldn’t compromise myself for their discomfort.
that is why i abandoned this notion that we can’t be successful among our own.
i denied the idea that we can’t build.
why didn’t i speak out immediately?
why? because I was scared. more severe situations occurred where professors overstepped boundaries, & I could not bear to be around it. my classmates did not understand. yet, I kept pushing forward until I had to speak out. I became more vocal. I challenged myself to disregard the hatred in the eyes of some I encountered. This was followed by foul words or covert actions, micro-agressions. You name it.
it wasn’t only my experiences. it was my friends, family, strangers, community, etc. that’s why I got involved instead of talking so much. I wanted people to see that I needed them to stand with me.
that is why safe spaces are important to me. to feel comfortable among my own is the best feeling in the world. it’s that simple.
I don’t desire more besides helping people as I better myself to see the truth & to love self as much as possible along the way. I am no genius. I have never assumed that title. I just want to step closer to what can create progress in our communities.
much is thrown at us as a people. I don’t have to explain that. that is why we need safe spaces. to have politicians & opinion leaders assume that we care that they don’t value our safe spaces is laughable. but it is horrific that they can’t see what happens to us daily.
I always realize that I was born only 28 years after the assassination of Brother Malcolm & 25 from Dr. King’s. there was no denial of time there. no one could say regardless. look at how close that is to us. their deaths did not end discrimination. their rhetorics were not accepted by the majority during their time, & most people would not agree with them today outside of our community.
I am tired. I am afraid. I am stronger. I am weak. I am so many things, but powerless. that is what encouraged me to keep on going. that is what inspired me to try to bring power together because that is what works.
this is why i need a safe space. i feel that the many identities that i have are threatened. it is not me being ‘soft’ or not having tough skin because i’ve been through a lot. but what i will not take is people underestimating the issues of my people.
i feel threatened by people who make fun of or make light of oppression as a real thing that exists. this happens on the basis of race, sex, gender, ethnicity, you name it.
just because we need spaces & you don’t want us to have them does not translate to we need to toughen up.
you need to toughen up & not depend on us to keep you comfortable & stay in our places so to speak.
i hate that i have to work a million times harder to prove that i am worthy of a sentence.
to have classmates who assumed that I did not have a good word to offer in small groups until the professor came around & repeated my suggestion was something I kept quiet about.
why is it that we are expected to make the world comfortable just because they don’t want to feel attacked. the world is a safe space for white men & white women to an extent. don’t tell marginalized groups that they aren’t tough enough just because you can’t stand when we unify & share what hurts us.
this world is anti-Black. this world is anti-woman. this world is anti-gay. this world is anti-lesbian. anti-many identities.
so what do we do?
let’s continue to build.
hate can’t overcome our love for each other.
don’t give it power.
let’s continue our work.