You will never understand how tired I am. How tiring it is to be Black and live. How tiring it is to just have the strength to move. Black Injustice after injustice and just carry on.
How mentally, physically, existentially, and physically draining it is? the word tired doesn’t even come close to encompassing the feeling.
So, I have to write this in the aftermath of Atatiana Koquice Jefferson’s untimely death. Which was a response to a wellness check from a neighbor whom was concerned.
I have to navigate that this is literally a week after Joshua Brown’s death. Whom was the neighbor to Botham Jean and key witness to his trial.
Both cases were senseless and uncalled for. But they are a clearly a part of the systemic disregard to Black life. Reminders that again there is no real justice because it doesn’t exist equally in nearly all aspect of life.
I am tired that as difficult as life is, I still have to remember the worth of my Black life. The worth that society tells me and so many millions. The value we all know when a Black woman’s life was taken in mere seconds at her own home. That tired feeling knowing that were she white, this wouldn’t have happened.
That tired feeling that feels like existential dread and will never go away. This tired feeling where no amount of sleep will cure it. The feeling of when you look at your skin you love yourself despite the world’s (yes racism exists globally) hate. Yet when you look at your skin you’re recall how broken everything is. How pervasive white supremacy operates and how it projects its malicious intent. Yet it all seems ok because of the value of whiteness.
That tired where I’m almost seemingly too tired to be enraged. You’re still angry as all hell. But the pain of these lost lives gives to pain. The pain never goes away and all you can ever do is cry. Cry, get angry, cry, and repeat. The cycle of emotions is also tiring. How many times has it been this year when I’ve felt emotional tired? How many times have I asked myself quietly; will my life be cut short? You try to not ask yourself but as a Black man you’re well aware of the likelihood.
What’s tiring too is I can’t run away from this. There is no running away from reality. Being Black means having to realize this is part of life. I could avoid the news but friends, family, coworkers will speak to you about these injustices. Because this Black suffering can befall anyone at anytime.
You’re so perpetually tired you ask yourself how come things aren’t changing. I realize that they are at a minimal pace. I ask yourself how many times now? How many times will we need to protest? How many times will we need to speak about our injustices? How many times will we need to cry? How many court cases? If they even come to that? How many books? How many reports? How many Black voices will be enough?
I get tired again because you know the answer is infinite. No amount of Black voices in protest will ever be enough. It’ll never be enough until were all safe.
I remain tired because you’re fully aware of how whiteness and its institutions are at work and that’s why were here. I’ve long since have disregarded that they will value Black lives as you do. However again, I have to temper my attitude to placate to their sensibilities to not be labeled threatening.
I get tired that in lieu of all our pain, I see how the privileges of whiteness operates. Whiteness and those in proximity to whiteness that also benefit. These people can not muster the backbone to acknowledge these crimes. They can choose to not speak on the matters. They can choose to do nothing as usual. How could you speak of systemic oppression in regards to your skin if you’ve never felt it?
I get tired because I see the problem when I question if I can call you friend. How can you be my “friend” if should this happen to me you’d do nothing? I’d like to ask white people when’s the last time a minority friend has even spoken to them about police brutality. It would be pointless because I’m sure it’s overwhelming hardly never. Or the same exercise of white privilege where you perceive the world is fair. If the last thing I ever had to worry about was an officer shooting me for my skin I’d feel the world is great too.
I get tired because you have to see and hear the same pointless speeches. White privileges and access will have them speak you as we’re equals. Society by function and intention proves otherwise daily. This further reinforces itself as time goes on. Individually what have you done/do for minorities? Yet you’ll have the sheer audacity to tell Black people how we should behave with crimes committed against us. Again, as you conveniently forget you are the face of our pain.
I get tired having to deal with the fact that whiteness allows silence. You’ll never understand the pain how your silence causes mental harm. Yes, I constantly get frustrated with the silence. Then you’ll tell me I’m one of the good ones without challenging your privilege which is a danger to me.
How many unjust acts of violence and death have their been towards Black bodies? I forget this year. I think about how dangerous I look speaking of Black pain. I’ve stopped caring a while ago. I’ve stopped because I’ve been tired for a long time and this is my life on the line. I choose to not fool myself. I choose to not have “meaningful” relationships with whiteness. To do so would be a practice of constant mental anguish and mental harm at the cost of Black lives.
I feel pain and rage when I see and hear anti-Blackness from Black people themselves. The internalized self hatred, where we place more value on others over others. This too is a construct of oppression from the majority and they make us puppets in their grand scheme. Inequality doesn’t pick and choose how it distributes pain to all marginalized people.
My tiredness gives way to rage, to sadness, and the cycle repeats itself on end. I get tired when I’m asked “how am I”. I can never answer truthfully about how I am unless I’m speaking to someone in a safe space. Otherwise, I’ll continue to lie. In fact, I have been lying to you, unless you’re a person of color or you understand Black plight. Needless to say, I’m not OK. But society has allowed me the tools to lie my way through a work day and you’d be none the wiser. I’ve done this for a lifetime now, what’s another couple of decades.
I get tired at feeling guilty about moving on in my life. As we see more pain against those with different color skin, I ask how do I cope? How do I make sense of it? Other Black folks will tell me take all the time that I need. How much time is enough? When is it ever enough? When will I stop feeling horrible for trying to be happy when these lives that were robbed of that?
Again, I’ll say do you know how tiring it is to operate when society opposes my Blackness? To be clear I also mean those whom are in proximity to whiteness as well. It’s a constant understanding how little I matter. Then the cycle of my emotions continue. I can sleep to calm my mind about the pain that gnaws at my heart. However when I wake up at some random time the pain returns.
It’s tiring when I think of how long until I’ll feel safe? I’ve never fooled myself with this question. I’ve always had the answer in the back of my head. I think back to the times my mom told me about the dangers associated with living. I recall the subtle times, my dad told me to be highly careful of my place at any given time. I remember now that these weren’t so subtle and my dad was warning me of my existence as a Black male. I get tired thinking of how to make my 6 foot lanky frame and disappear in the presence of white people.
I get tired thinking of how much I’ve had to erase myself in case I might be a victim. Ultimately, does this matter? Does any of this matter? I ask myself as my spirit weights heavier on my soul. White tears can end my life, a lie could enough my life, a phone call could end my life, being rightfully angry could end my life. When can I truly live?
I get tired of how I have to every now and then remind my mutuals, family, and friends what to do should I be a victim. I keep it frank, seek my justice, speak the truth. Do not speak or seek forgiveness for this system or institution that erases our lives. It and all it’s participants are undeserving of it. Damn everything that tells you otherwise.
This also reminds me that I have an obligation to my life. Not just my life but the lives of those whom are also marginalized. I remember as I’m tired, people more marginalized than I are tired as well. I may not be able to empathize but I can sympathize. I too understand that I can’t simply stop at injustices facing myself.
I also get tired at the obvious. Next time in the news, will it be a friend, family member, coworker, and maybe it’ll be me? Again I’m tired, you’ll never understand how tired I am. How with stories of Black pain I stitch a reminder in my mind. I let my heart and my spirit remember, so I never forget.
Under no circumstance will I ever believe the world and society will give a damn about Black lives like Black folks do. Until it all systematically changes. Until all police officers are tried and serve time for their murders . Until the systemic underlying system of Black oppression built into the institution of law enforcement is eradicated. Until then I won’t hold my breath.
At nearly, 2000 words and having written tired 30 times…this isn’t enough. I’ll proceed with dedicating my life to championing Blackness. As it is now and will be going forward my work with center on recognizing us. I will value us as we should be valued. As well, I’ll speak against any form of prejudice and hate against all marginalized peoples. I let my emotions fuel my work and life.
I don’t know if the aforementioned is answer to the pain in my heart. I don’t know if that’s how I should live with this pain. But I refute everything of this society that would have me forgotten should racism steal my life.
And I will remain forever Black and tired. I have my own advocacy I’ll never turn my back on.
I’ll end this by saying rest in peace Atatiana Jefferson. In a truly fair and just world you would be alive and well. You committed no crime at all, other than existing while Black.