Dear fellow people of color,
I need to talk to you, to hear from you, to be in your presence today and feel your solidarity as I battle this reality of being alone in a sea of whiteness in which I’ve always been invisible until needed.
I need to talk to you about the constant colonization. About how we still can’t hold on to our stories without white folks wanting ownership of our minds, our tongues, our freedom to self express and create words that dance to our tales of displacement.
A mental and emotional colonization that tell us, if we would just stay silent we could still get paid. That if we just stay silent we can keep our jobs, friendships, and reputations. We may even stay out of trouble, if we would just stay silent. I think a lot of us choose to stay silent. That’s okay, sis. I don’t judge you. I know how hard it is to find safety in this world.
Recently, I heard a speaker talk about money and about how our society puts emphasis on not talking about money, not asking about money, because it keeps our dominant culture safe when we don’t discuss the silent topic of pay gaps. I thought of us and our economic isolation and its implications of colonization.
Growing up, we were taught to see racism as these really visible acts of hatred. We were taught to see it as calling someone a slur or individuals being violent towards others. These overt examples of racism, truly are racism. They are scary and the fear and trauma we experience around these acts are valid. But sometimes, I feel that it’s the quiet, subtle forms of racism that violate our souls in the deepest ways. That eat away at who we are because the only people who will believe us are those who are just as disempowered as we are. The truth is that we really can’t get ahead if we want to survive.
But let me ask you this, How many pieces of ourselves are we willing to give away? How many parts of our identity, culture, traditions, languages, are we willing to silence in order to keep our lives together. How many times are we going to … believe the promises that white people so graciously offer? Just to have them take it back with no consequence to them but every consequence for us. I’m still grappling with this question because I’m still giving up pieces of mi corazón, my heart, where they do not belong. Attempting to move our bodies against the current of oppression, is some of the most emotionally draining work we can ever do as people of color. Sometimes we just don’t have the time or energy to fight, so we succumb to our set of circumstances. I stand in solidarity with you.
My fellow people of color, please know that I love you enough to stand for you when you feel like there’s no light at the end of the day. I’m here when you feel like you’ve given away all of your pieces and you have only been left with the shell of America as your spine. I made the decision today to stop apologizing for speaking my truth or for speaking yours because our lives deserve to matter even when they are put on trial for simply breathing — even when we’re barely breathing. I’ve got you. I need you. I need to hear from you, to be in your presence today and feel your solidarity as I battle this reality of being alone in a sea of whiteness in which I’ve always been invisible until needed.
Used with permission from Author, Chiany D., https://medium.com/@chianyadri/an-open-letter-to-the-colonized-b08cf3c89b1b