While normally I’d smile and try to redirect the conversation, for the next 14 days, I’d no longer being focusing on appeasing white people.Now, all my attention was focused on appeasing myself. ” I wanted to put to use all the phrases I’d been practicing in my head and in front of the mirror.I didn’t know it at the time — I didn’t realize that, from the beginning, I’d been trying to make the white people around me body and the backhanded compliments, I put the needs, comfort, and safety of white people above my own.Now, when someone questions why my skin is so dark, and when they express shock and surprise over my love Edwardian and Victorian literature, I know they believe they're questioning my character, not their own.I don’t think they appreciated my comment, but I didn’t care.I didn’t appreciate the assumption that I would be OK being petted like an animal.
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I know I was suppose to say back what they said to me, but I wanted to be honest, and I was frustrated.And I walked away, because I don’t have the space in my life to be told for the 100 time that I am not valid.Both of these days were uneventful, and purposefully so.I thought I’d step in and give white people what they’ve been giving to me these past 28 years: racism, tucked right beneath the surface.
I knew the first few times I responded to a white person's backhanded compliment with another backhanded compliment would probably feel a bit uncomfortable, so I gave myself two weeks.
Why is it OK for strangers to touch me without permission?