Societal The Word 5 minute read

BLACKHAUSTION: The Overwhelming Fatigue of Being Black in America

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Blackhaustion (pronounced: Black-zah-tion) is the overwhelming fatigue experienced from being Black in America.

 

 

Symptoms:

  • Only choosing to go to places socially where you think there will be mostly Black people.
  • Watching only movies like Black Panther, and television shows like Atlanta and Insecure that reflect your life and people that look like you.
  • Finding it hard to talk with White friends you’ve had for years because you feel as if they really can’t understand or you wonder if they secretly voted for Donald Trump.
  • Having a more difficult time going to work than you have had in the past because you are forced to smile and interact with non-Black people.
  • The inability to watch or listen to Donald Trump without feeling ill. Your immediate reaction is to turn off the television.
  • The urge to slap the shit out of anybody wearing a MAGA hat or looking like they own a MAGA hat or who might have wanted to own a MAGA hat.
  • Feeling pissed off a lot of the time for no direct reason; but you know if one person does one thing that even remotely seems racist, you are going to go off.
  • The feeling that even after doing things right all your life, you may catch a charge soon.
  • Having visions of yourself going bat-shit crazy at work and walking out because working is hard but working while Black seems like too much to bear these days.
  • Wondering how you were ever friends with your Black friend who is far from “woke.”
  • Finding yourself wondering if you could possibly live in another country; while simultaneously being outraged at all the racists that tell your people to leave (as if it’s their country only).
  • Wanting to throw your computer if you see another Black person getting killed or being mistreated; yet knowing you need to be aware of what’s happening in your community.

Most of the time I glide around –all Black, beautiful, and Queen-like; but this year rightchere, got me feeling like Toby instead of Kunte: stomping heavy from draggin’ the chains of racism.

Lawd knows I love nothin’ more than being Black, but this year has me suffering from a serious case of Blackhaustion.  It’s my guess that the majority of Black Americans are infected too.  Every day, there is something, usually lots of somethings that cause the symptoms to flare.  On top of the stranger who touches your hair, or the man who talks over you in meetings, or your fear of speaking up at work about anything because you know you will be labeled angry, or the customer who assumes that your White co-worker is your manager, or the co-worker who tries to bond with you by telling you how sad they are too over Aretha Franklin, or the sales lady in the department store who ignores you although you’ve been walking around for 15 minutes but greets the White woman as soon as she walks in, or the schoolteacher who lectures you about getting your child to bed at a decent hour as if you need parenting help, or the Uber driver who tells you that you speak so well; you also learn about Botham Shem Jean  who was shot in his own apartment by a police officer and then watch and try to tolerate that folks are trying to justify it.  You must watch multiple videos of kids crying because they have been kicked out of school for being Black –wearing their hair in natural Black styles.  You must see all of the MAGA-emboldened racists hurling slurs, reporting innocent Black people to the cops, and kicking Black people out of pools, stores and restaurants.

 

It all seems like too much at times.  It all makes us Blackhausted.

Senator Cory Booker and Senator Kamala Harris are spilling tea and breaking Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh all the way down to the gristle because they are tired.  Tired that they are more qualified than people that are talking down to them.  Tired that Kavanaugh’s professional history has already demonstrated his racist and sexist agenda but knowing that’s probably why he was nominated.  Tired of the general apathy towards the disenfranchised, the gap between us and the White-male dominated power structure, and the recognition that he will be confirmed (regardless of what is done or what is revealed).

Serena Williams has worked her entire life to be the best (and is the best tennis player ever); yet, she gets drug tested more than any other player, is publicly chastised for her choice of clothing, must deal with racists taunts when she is on and off the court, is expected to behave with more decorum than her male counterparts, and is compared to other tennis players that aren’t even close to her level of success or ability.  She must be tired.

Most of us Black folks are tired –Blackhausted.

But, we are descendants of those who kept walking even when their feet were blistered, bound or even broken.  These aren’t the worst days our people have seen; and it is in our DNA to continue on, to keep on keeping on. Blackhaustion causes momentary weariness; a feeling that we can’t take another day – but as we always have for hundreds of years we can, and we do.

And we always will.

 

 

 

 

My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more

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