Maybe I fit the bill for an ANGRY BLACK WOMAN because as of late, I’ve been mad as hell. Damn near 70% of this nation’s wealth resides with the 10% who aren’t being affected while the overwhelming majority is left to suffer.
I’m fucking pissed that as an athlete, the most able-bodied of the collegiate population, we are required to workout amidst the most uncertain of times because “the spirit of the 12th man is immune to the coronavirus”.
The same coronavirus that swallows the underwhelmingly impoverished at rates that might leave anyone at a loss for words? That coronavirus? We need to live, they say. We cannot allow a pandemic to impede our day-to-day. We need to carry on as normal.
Well, let’s take a look at our “normal”: black lives, at least those that haven’t been graced with talents that exceed social parameters, are disposable—there’s always more where they came from, right? That “norm” sanctions the cops who fired 20 rounds into the wrong house on the night of March 13th, 2020, killing a fellow black woman by the name of Breonna Taylor while she lay ASLEEP. Our “norm”, the one that so many are eager to return to, says that black bodies, the members of black communities, and black history are no more meaningful than they were when their labor kept this caucasian-forsaken country afloat.
Several months ago, we could carry on trying to do the best we can each and every day knowing that by staying out of trouble and leading good lives, we earned the privilege of roaming free. Chains don’t hurt when they are seemingly loose enough. The ceiling isn’t a problem if you never try to reach up and touch it. Only when we realize these things can we understand the restraints of our ancestry. Only then can we see that “land of the free” has an asterisk at the end of it.
Recent cases of the pillaging of black people, including those part of other marginalized groups, most notably, the LGBTQ community, have shown us that no one is safe. Don’t walk. Don’t jog. Don’t sleep. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t because it may be your last time doing so. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have periods at the ends of their names because they summarize the character of this country. Three individuals, who account for an almost negligible portion of the amount of black blood shed at the hands of the enforcers, the excessive use of force-erers have lit M80s in a dark room. Their names are painted on the ceiling above us and make the chains of this life scorch our skin thus, branding us.
Okay, so now we can’t breathe. Now we are claustrophobic. Now let’s go down the list of the names that correspond with the lives that have been claimed now that we are uncomfortable. We includes me. Now I can’t sit comfortably in my palmly townhome without recognizing that my hands are tied. In the microsystem in which I operate as a student-athlete, I am a pawn. I am apart of a multi-billion-dollar game. I am an avatar without ownership of my player tag. I can’t sit comfortably acknowledging that this land is on fire and there are resources here to rescue me. Those same resources that are responsible for gifting thousands of little black girls and little black boys opportunities for upward social mobility are the same ones that unspokenly make it very clear that our education, financial stability, and basic necessities are dependent on their support.
So again, like the millions of other people of color in this country who depend on the gatekeepers to survive and advance, our hands are tied. I am angry that I have to put a smile on. I am angry that I can’t complain. I am angry that my anger and frustration evoke questionable looks from the same people I thought might feel me. I am angry, black, and a woman—three labels for once I am okay with.