This came to me on one of my morning walks, as so often happens. I hope it will make you think about how differently brown and white people experience the world.
What if the tables were turned?
It's hard to imagine, but try.
What if white skin, rather than being a badge of honor, were a mark of shame?
What if you had been ripped away from your white family, trafficked thousands of miles, and forced into physical and sexual servitude? (And please note, when this happens to little white girls we consider it a terrible crime, so the sustained crime against Black people over centuries is even more heinous).
What if, as a white person, you carried the weight of that history of enslavement, even while that history was being erased?
What if your white ancestors’ land had been stolen legally and you were given no opportunity to complain?
What if white skin made you a potential criminal in the eyes of the law? What if dark skinned people crossed the street when they saw you coming, because they were afraid you'd rob them, or worse?
What if having nice things as a white person made you a target of suspicion?
What if white skin resulted in poorer education, housing and job prospects?
What if people assumed you lacked education because of your white skin?
What if white skin meant medical mistreatment?
What if white skin meant your opinions were overlooked?
What if you were accused of playing the race card if you complained?
What if white skin reduced your prospects of getting promotion or adequate pay?
What if you had to fear for your life every time you were pulled over by the police?
What if people assumed you were easy because of your white skin?
What if you never saw people that looked like you in positions of authority?
I know it sounds ridiculous because if you're living in white skin, that's not your experience. Yet these are everyday experiences for those living in black and brown skin.
If you want to get a glimpse into this alternate universe, read Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman, and sit with the feelings I'm sure you'll have as those with pale skin experience the discrimination those with dark skin usually face.
Think about what if feels like to live with that weight every day, then consider the following:
What if it were different?
What if we all did our part to end racism?
What if our children never had to ask or answer these questions?
What are you personally going to do about it?
Thank you for reading. I look forward to your comments
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2021. All Rights Reserved.