Letter From A Tired Black Girl

[Image description: Pen drawing of birds feet grabbing a black woman's hair with words reading: "pow!" "boo!" and "ouch!"]

Article and art by Merrie



Dear everyone, 

I am tired of being the representative of all black people, simply by being the only black person you know. Tired of security guards eyeing me up like I’m shoplifting. Of the assumptions of what I’m gonna sound like before I even fucking open my mouth. I’m sick of having to moderate myself so I don’t come across as too aggressive. Of worrying about my brother because if he raises his voice he’s the angry black boy. Of keeping quiet when people touch my hair, of being more acceptable because I’m lighter skinned, of everyone turning to me whenever the topic of racism comes up. 

I thought this year was going to be different: look at my article from January, rebellious and full of hope. And here we are, halfway through the year and nothing’s changed. I still stay quiet when old ladies pat my hair in Marks and Spencer’s: “I thought you were a dog, sorry dear but your hair is lovely, never seen anything like it”. I’m still expected to laugh at your racist jokes otherwise I’m a Debbie Downer and why can’t I take a joke? It’s a joke for Christ’s sake! Colourism is still rife in the black community (remember how Sherif called Amber off Love Island “lighty” and only got a warning?) And white boys still ask me straight-up what I’m mixed with like I’m some type of cocktail. 

You see, I’m not a representative of everyone in the black community. My behaviour doesn’t reflect everyone else who has the same skin colour. I don’t have to go deaf when you scream the n-word at the top of your lungs “because it’s part of the song” and your token black friend didn’t mind, or be flattered that you even bother to like a black girl. You don’t get to call your white friends “my n—a” just because all the rappers say it. I don’t want to hear about how you’ve always wanted to try it with a black girl, like you’re collecting cards on Pokemon Go, and there’s no such thing as “light skin charm”. 

Just keep it to yourself please and thank you, you’re letting your inner racist hang out

Sincerely, 

A tired black girl.