It’s #BlackHistoryMonth…But What Does That Mean? How Do We “Celebrate” Four Hundred Years Of Oppression?

Every year from February 1st, to the 28th, people celebrate the history of Black people, one of the most marginalized groups of people on the planet.

Millions of unarmed Black people have been murdered in the last four hundred years, there are so many that I don’t have space to learn all their names, but if you’d like to know their names simply search “Unarmed Black people killed by White people around the world,” and you’ll find fourteen million, two hundred thousand articles.

Most of the articles are US based, but that’s because we don’t talk about white on Black violence in Canada, and I know that I am supposed to be grateful for all the Black people who died so that I can live as I do and say whatever the hell I want, but I shouldn’t have to.

Those people who died, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, should have been allowed to live their lives in freedom.

Do you know why Black Panther was so popular? It wasn’t just because of Chadwick Boseman, it wasn’t just because of the hundreds of amazing Actors, Actresses, and crew members who brought that movie to life, it was because for the first time ever, a Black person got to be a superhero on the big screen. It was because for the first time in Black history, people got to see themselves as someone who could have been amazingly powerful, if white people had left a Black society alone.

There is a theory that if the English, Portuguese, Chinese, and other cultures had left us the fuck alone, we would have a real life Wakanda today. There is no way to prove that theory because our people weren’t left alone.

They were sold, beaten, raped, tortured, and abused in ways that no human should escape, so that white people, could have free labour.

Yesterday I heard a video of a cop saying “they were given a home, furniture, food, and clothes, all they had to do was work,” except they were working, in their home country, where they raised their children, married their loved ones, and lived happily, until the slave ships came, in the hundreds.

Black people were treated worse than animals, they were treated like animals, as if they didn’t have brains, hearts, and souls, of their own. And now we’re supposed to be grateful for a month that celebrates the sacrifices that these people made so that I could live the way that I want to live. So that I could be arrested for having a panic attack on an airplane.

Dear white people, I’m not about this month, I think it’s fucking bullshit.

Black people have been trained over four hundred years to hate themselves, and each other. Dark skinned Black people loath me because of my light skin – they tell me all the time that I could pass for white, or that I am lucky because of my light skin. White people arrest me for having a panic attack because even though I “can pass”, to the average dark skinned person, I am still too dark for the white people.

Like many light skinned people, I get punished because back in the day light skinned people were treated marginally better than our dark skinned counterparts and that resentment is still alive and thriving today.

I will say that I am so fucking proud of this generation of Black people, around the world. I am not a part of Black Lives Matter, but as I sit here and I think about how much that movement has fought for people of color, I realize that they have fought for me too, and I am so grateful to them.

Like the Black Panther’s before them, these people from around the world, are fighting to make sure that we never have another George Floyd, another Breonna Taylor, another Trayvon Martin.

They are fighting to make sure that my children, your children, our children, are born into a world that is kinder to people, that is safer for folks of color, and that means the world to me. I didn’t get it at first, because my Blackness had been erased by my whiteness and my desire to fit in, but I see it now. I get it now, and I am fucking angry.

Every single day of 2020, Black Lives Matter was out in the streets of America, Canada, China, Israel, fighting for those we have lost due to white and police violence. Every single day.

I am tired. I am so fucking tired that all I want to do is cry every day, and that tells me that in a million years I will never be able to imagine how the people of BLM on the front lines feel.

They got pepper sprayed, beaten, kicked, arrested, locked away from their friends and families for saying that they deserve to live in a world that won’t destroy them just because of the color of their skin.

No I don’t feel like celebrating, I feel like fighting, I feel like screaming, I feel like ripping my brain out of my head and just being done, but I can’t. I have to keep writing, I have to keep voicing my opinion, I like millions of Black people around the world have to keep explaining to white people, what it means to be a person of color in a very, very, white world.

And no matter how many words I use, white people will still never understand, until they see it for themselves, what it means to be oppressed because of the color of our skin.

A few months ago there was a video posted of a man stopped by cops in his car, a white woman also stopped her car and video taped the entire episode, just in case. That’s what we need from you, we need you to be willing to put YOUR bodies in front of us because someone might try to kill us, and you know what pisses me off the most? It’s the fact that you shouldn’t have to.

I don’t feel like celebrating. I’m in mourning for every person of color who was beaten, raped, tortured, murdered, because of the color of their skin. I feel their pain like I feel my own, and I don’t know what to do with it all, I don’t understand how to release it in a positive way because I see nothing positive about four hundred years of oppression.

I’m not sorry for how I feel, because it’s not my fault that I feel this way. I feel this way because I was a part of a sex cult that taught boys how to rape, and girls how to be victims, and that sex cult was run by white men, who sat back and watched as it happened again when I was an adult.

I am angry, I am not celebratory, and I won’t apologize for how I feel.

Devon J Hall

Author: Devon J Hall

Devon J Hall is a thirty-seven-year-old Writer and Author from Surrey, British Columbia by way of Calgary Alberta. She lives with three cats, one mother and is addicted to coffee, cigarettes, and weed, not necessarily in that order.

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