Issues

United State of Mind

By: Althea Sylvester

No one can tell our (true) story but us. No one can console us, like another brother or sister. So my question for you is, what does unity mean to you? Answer this question in your own words & apply it to your life. Let’s brush off the stigma that our unity means hate for others. Let’s right now; solely focus on us & getting us right, because in no way is that wrong.

I’m a 22 year old female currently living in Canada. I’ve been an outsider looking in to what’s been going on in America. It’s been difficult, at times I feel so alone because I’m not surrounded by people who share the same major heartache as I do. It’s like I’m not there, how can I help? I’ve been told I’m too much involved, that I could turn people into racists (let’s just all stop for a second & remember black people can’t be racist).

I’ve been discouraged from helping & talking about how I feel about things. I’ve been unfollowed on social networks (not that it’s a big deal), & I’ve been made fun of. All because I want to see my people be the best they can be, & spreading truth about race relations, our culture, & this problematic system we ALL face no matter our location.

Let’s identify ladies! I know how it feels to be looked down upon because of your skin colour. I’ve gotten the mean stares, the rude comments, the jokes, the unfairness, the discrimination, racism,  the awful touching of the hair!!!! I’ve had someone look for an whites only bathroom after seeing me coming out.

I know we’ve all been followed in a store at least once in our lives, I know I have a lot of times. I’ve experienced the annoying fetish-ness with black women. The cat-calling, pointing out our bodies, & acting like that’s all we’re good for. We’re written off, put down because of how we look, because of our skin!

I know that sounds ridiculous to you too. I could go on and on, and I’m sure y’all can too. Let’s continue to build one another up. If we let the views of this world weigh us down, we will never be happy. Let’s not hate others as well, How can we be for something we’re adjacent? Yea, that makes no sense (remember though, speaking the truth isn’t hate). Let’s not give the world that power, the power that takes away our joy, and the ability to flourish.

A location shouldn’t determine our unity. It is utterly important for us black women to support each other no matter where we stay. A connection is “evident”. It’s more than just a word. It’s an important part of the puzzle of which we’re all trying to put together, & when we give each other different pieces, suddenly that puzzle starts coming together. & now we need to support each other more than ever.

We know how strong we can be. We’ve seen the strength of our mothers, grandmothers, aunties, cousins, & close friends. We’ve heard & seen about the ones who came before us, their strength. Everything that we need is right inside of us. We are the ones that can & will uplift our community.

We’re the start & we give that push to our brothers, which we need to continue to encourage. We need to lift them up every single chance we get. They already get looked down by the world, they don’t need us giving them the same treatment. Black woman. Whether they do the things you want, whether they share the same views as you, let’s stop putting them down. If you have a problem with them, confront in such a way that doesn’t label all black men as the same. If we can’t agree about most things, please let’s agree on the fact that as a people, there’s many things we can do to help each other.

Another question to ask, answer (in your own words) & apply is. Why are we so divided? Location should just mean we are divided because of land and water, not a people. Africans, AA’s, & West Indians, black-Canadians. Why do we constantly put each other down? Why is there a division within our family based on the colour of our skin? Why are we promoting the same views and actions that we are against when it’s done by others?

Living here (Canada), I mean it is a bit different. However, we still face discrimination and racism as well. It doesn’t matter where you stay, across the globe, I believe 3000 said it best. “Across cultures, darker people suffer most. why?” That right there is another indication of the importance of helping one another out.

You know, sometimes, I think we do too much of trying to take on what our ancestors went through rather than looking for solutions. We talk a lot & I mean a lot, I do it too. Way more action is needed, from all of us, me too. We need to get real with what really needs our attention & what doesn’t.

Our cultures may be different & it’s okay to identify as West Indian, African American, or African. However, no matter where we live, OUR roots are in Africa. I am very proud to be West Indian & I will always identity as one. However, I know that my roots are in Africa. I know that’s the mother land, & I respect my roots. There’s something unique about us, something special, something great.

Our presence is feared, but yet respected. Wanted, but yet avoided. Our hair holds so much power & our intelligence is constantly being downplayed. Our skin( all shades from gorgeously dark to beautifully light)/roots, and our experiences helps to connect. In a way that no one else can understand.

With help; it creates a stronger foundation for your life. It creates stronger mindsets and actions. If you’re planning on going on a journey, you’re going to need all the (right) help you can get. But this doesn’t mean to go out looking desperately for help. Do your part, do what you know needs to be done, & the right people will come into place.

I believe that everything happens for a reason, whether I know the reason or not. It’s kind of hard to believe in that however; when looking at the state of the world. It’s a belief that keeps me grounded, & reminds me that in hard times, there’s a way to help, adjust, improve, & eliminate. For which in those hard times, unity is essential. Let’s put away the focus on the outcome, and focus on the process. For that’s the most important thing about the outcome. Out of the mouths of the broken, comes change, reality, and unification.

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