Its Not Easy to Admit I Endured Racial Victimization
I have never really talked about the trauma of my childhood. Most people looking into my life would say I had it pretty damn good. I was a black child of educated parents , I lived a middle class life. I was never hungry, always had the things I needed and I remember my cousin saying, my room looked liked one from a magazine. I was cared for by parents who loved me.
I went to “privileged” schools, which I was reminded of daily by the institution and I had white privileged friends.
Do you remember in the miniseries Roots, when Kizzy was a child and was playing in the big house with her masters daughter. Kizzy really thought, she and Sandy were friends. Kizzy endured racist, snide comments, micro and macro aggressions and general white supremacist behaviors her entire childhood until she was sold. I might add she was sold from her parents because her so called friend Sandy was jealous.
That was pretty much my adolescence. Was it really that bad you ask? Uhmmmm…. Hell yes, it was really fucked up.
I remember mentally and emotionally fighting myself my entire adolescence. My mother tried to arm me with vocabulary words like discrimination, racism, and prejudice. I was surrounded by Black and African art, Black History books, dolls that looked me and I was well versed in my culture. At home, I was proud of my heritage AND when I left my home, I was surrounded by hostility for being me.
I don’t’ know many Black Women of my generation born 1969, have talked about the trauma of the 80’s. It was a time of the movies like Soul Man, The Breakfast Club, and Mtv made its debut. Hell, I went to a high school, that for a senior fund raiser, you got to buy another student to be your slave for a day???
Whether you were bused to “privileged” area schools or transplanted there by parents who moved beyond the inner cities to the suburbs, the time spent in this arena has shaped my relationship with myself and other women, particularly white women. I am just now fully understanding the impact these traumatic experiences had on me and it sucks.
For me its almost easier to heal intergenerational racial trauma than it is to look at and heal what I had to endure and live through in my own life. I can remain a bit removed when I talk about my ancestors trauma vs talking about what happened to me when I was 5 to 19 years old.
In short, 1979 to 1989 was horrible and much of this trauma is still trapped in my body, circulating through my veins and nervous system.
Here’s the thing, “I am no victim, fuck that shit.” That’s what my strong Black woman tells myself. “fuck those bitches, look at me now, suckkkkas”
I wish that was all I had to say to myself, in order to erase the pain I wish that is all I had to do, to make all those years of torment, bullying, reticule, shame and blame go away.
Its not easy to admit I was victimized by my friends. Many of the folks who I called friends were my oppressors and abusers they were the daughters of the masta, and in some twisted way, just like Kizzy, I thought I was a special one for being picked.
Talking to a soul sista this morning, I began to unravel yet another spool of these threads of pain. These threads are so tightly wound in my system it’s amazing that I can function at all.
As I end a long time connection with a white woman, I realize I have never faced the racial trauma of my adolescence. This unhealed and traumatized part of me continues to recreate her childhood “friendships” which is preventing me from showing up and speaking up in my truth.
This is a slow unravel and a rich one. I feel the next steps are to start talking about what I endured and release the shame I carry around racial victimization. That wounded girl in me feels she is responsible for what she got, because she never complained, whined or demanded enough respect. She took it. She internalized it and therefore has to hold it.
She doesn’t have to hold it any longer. I am giving her permission to lay it down…. And that feels really good.