With the end of Black History Month swiftly (and sadly) approaching, let’s talk black people. Being black is a gift. Identifying as black is a privilege only granted to the most elite; it’s like being a part of a secret society of bronzed gods and goddesses who are always overlooked and under-booked, yet everyone secretly wants the password for entry to our club. Being black means living a lifestyle that most don’t understand. As a black female, it is my job to uplift and support the black male, choosing to love him in a society that clearly doesn’t, while still trying to excel as a woman in general. As a black male, it is his job to stay alive. Period. See, being black means oppression of course. Being black means living amongst your oppressors who refuse to take ownership as being your oppressor, even while they oppress you. Being black means not getting the job because you’re black, not getting the home loan because you’re black, not getting the raise because you’re black. Being black means teaching your young son how to avoid death when he’s pulled over by the police. Being black means teaching your young daughter how to love her kinky hair when all society wants to do is call it unruly and unkempt and ask her to straighten it. See, being black means being told to “deal with it.” Being mistreated? Deal with it. You’re not in slavery anymore right? Right. Being followed in the store? Deal with it. You’re not in slavery anymore right? Right. Another black man shot dead with no justice? Deal with it. You’re not in slavery anymore right? Right. Being black means struggling to swallow the bullshit of society. We are forced to live with people who don’t accept us, work for people who don’t respect us, and survive where people want us dead. Being black means no recognition for our accomplishments. Being black means colorism, gentrification, systematic and institutional racism, 250+ deaths by police officers in 2016 alone, not to mention blatant hatred. So much hatred. Being black means bearing a burden that you know for a fact your children’s children’s children will bear because that’s how life works. Right? Well. People forget to mention that being black means blessings. Please understand, no black people means no people. In need of open heart surgery? That was Daniel Hale Williams; he’s black. In need of laser surgery? Patricia Bath helped you out; she’s black. And if you’re like me and appreciate dry clothes instead of wet clothes, you can thank George T. Sampson, a black man, for the first clothes dryer. Being black means being the epitome of Langston Hughes’ poem Mother to Son. We are constantly set up for failure, yet look at us. Still prospering. Still shining. Still doing what we do best: being black, and proud. Black History Month is almost over, but you must know, there is no other race black people would rather be than black. On our darkest day in our darkest hour, our blackness unites us, our struggles bring us together, and our resilience keeps us going. Regardless of how you, or anyone, feels about black people, we’re not going anywhere. So yea, there’s always that.

Author: Nahtyka Jolly

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