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swati's picture

“Hold up, did you just hear, did you just say, did you just see, did you just do that? Then the voice in your head silently tells you to take your foot off your throat because just getting along shouldn’t be an ambition.” -- Claudia Rankine, citizen

thinking about how i never thought about my race (i was never raced?) until i came back to this country for college after high school. how quickly i learned literally what race is and how it permeates everything around us. i wonder if i would have learned as fast as i did if my first semester here didn't involve two students hanging up the confederate flag. 
i spent this summer surround by brown people. my friend yeidaly and i would constantly remark "it's been so long since i talked to a white person" and with everything this summer involved, it was a relief, a breath a fresh air, a way to be our truest selves, a means to take our layers off. my truest self isn't divorced from my race. today nkechi talked about how white supremacy would want her to distance her "self" from her blackness but that's not something she can ever do. 
to the friend i lost this summer: do you even see me? do you even see me if you can't acknowledge and contextualize the multifaceted ways in which being a woc in america functions? radical self love (the kind liv talks about) now takes up all the space in my heart that you would have. 


calamityschild's picture

thank you for your post, swati! i just wanted to add some things that came to mind when reading your post: 

"Wherever you go, you take yourself with you." -Neil Gaiman

"I’d be a fool to think that there was someplace I could go where I wouldn’t carry myself with me or that there was some way I could live if I pretended I didn’t have the responsibilities which I do have. So I’m a cat trying to make it in the world because I’m condemned to live in the world...Condemned. Condemned. Condemned in the sense that when you’re young, and also when you’re old, you would rather have around you the expected things, to know where everything is. And it’s a little difficult, but it’s very valuable to be forced to move from one place to another and deal with another set of situations and to accept that this is going to be — in fact it is — your life. And to use it means that you, in a sense, become neither white nor black. And you learn a great deal about — you’re forced to learn a great deal about — the history out of which all these words and conceptions and flags and morals come." -James Baldwin

kamara's picture

this really resonates with me. this state of being hypervisible and invisible at the same time. reminds me of this line from lemonade: "why can’t you see me? everyone else can.”

also interested in the ways we are raced by america in particular; and how this differs from our respective countries, and why that is.