In 2021, Black People Deserve A Break
There's a thin line between being able to survive anything and having no other choice but to endure.
December 30, 2020 at 4:15 am
As 2020 comes to an end (finally) we can all sigh in agreement that this year has been nothing short of chaotic, tiring and never-ending. From COVID-19 claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, the loss of Black entertainers and icons, economic woes, election madness and the oh-so evergreen that is racism, I doubt this is what any of us thought our 2020 was going to be like. For Black people though, this has just been another time that the demonstration of our ability to persevere and make lemons out of lemonade had no other choice but to go into overdrive.
Black people are used to living in a society where the indoctrinated disadvantages placed onto us from the very beginning have manifested into an unwavering stance of false adjustment. History has proven our consistent acts of tenacity — that most times we've been given no other choice but to display. Our commitment to surviving anything is an inherited skill passed on for generations. It's in our blood.
However, there's a thin line between being able to survive anything and having no other choice but to endure. Black people are expected to wear a shield made of bulletproof durability, compartmentalize the effects of the world's bulls**t while suppressing our emotions, all in the name of survival. We've adopted the superhuman complex, something that wasn't created by accident, but has been maintained by our given instincts of adaptability.
Often we're left with no other choice, but have still managed to play the hand that we're dealt (and play it well, I might add) the same way a baby adjusts to the bottle. Affirming reminders to speak for our strength, with sayings like "Fight the good fight," can be frustrating to accept. It's subjective in a way. Given so many condensed years of oppression and setback, Black people have shaped that weight into a badge of honor. Admirable or heartbreaking?
We often say that Black people deserve a break. But, what does a break even look like for us? Systemic racism seamlessly solidified itself into our everyday lives while our peace of mind has consistently been tampered with. Black people haven't had many other options than to continue to prevail and master an emotionally controlled pivot in this game of life. We’ve been disproportionately affected by just about every industry. We exhaust ourselves while still being responsible enough to muster up the energy to "fight the good fight." That can be viewed through rose-colored glasses, evoking optimism, or it can be looked at as a rhetorical handicap, potentially being viewed as an oxymoron; since the battle we face has never been any good.
Black people have never backed down from a challenge. Our will to keep going is what I'm most proud of. But sometimes I wonder if that idea of pride is in vain. After all, we've never been given the option to experience the privilege of what it means to live in unadulterated, untouchable peace, unless worked, cried and died for. History has repeatedly shown us that the only "dog" we have in this fight is ourselves.
Going into the new year, I urge us to grant ourselves more grace and take the necessary breaks we deserve. We have the agency to control how we handle life's intake and apply or regurgitate it from our own lives. Call it the natural gift of endurance or call it an unspoken word of settling — just don't call us. We're tired.