22. Sarcastic. UCLA grad. Musician. Creative Writing student who should have studied Sociology. Hard-to-believe life stories + funnies + social critiques.
I have been sitting behind my computer, quietly watching the snowball effect of my “how-my-Friday-night-went” blog post, “Nigger.” (linked here in case you missed it).
I did not expect the response I received. In less than 24 hours it received 700 notes/responses, and I received dozens of messages. The most devastating thing about being racially attacked - by two fellow UCLA students nonetheless - was that it made me lose hope in humanity. But the responses I’ve received have made me regain that hope, in some ways at least.
More than anything, I am grateful:
1. I am grateful that no one tried to equate the discrimination they have faced to the discrimination I faced. It would have been too easy to say “well, I was called a wetback once, so it’s pretty much the same thing.” But no one did that and I am appreciative. However, it is important to note that while no one’s struggle equates to or is interchangeable with my own, everyone’s personal troubles - especially in regards to being oppressed by an external force - are equally relevant. Don’t let anybody tell you that what you’ve experienced is “smaller” than what someone else has experienced, because although we live different lives, we feel the same suffocating sensation inside when something devastates us or crushes our world, and oppression rears its head in many forms.
2. I am grateful that in my 21 years of life, I have never had to face overt racism before that night. My response was one of shock and appall, but I recognize those reactions as a result of my class privilege. The truth: something about my middle class Californian life has sheltered me from the full presence of racism. For me, this was an isolated incident, but in other parts of this country, racism is alive and well, and there are many blacks who would have responded to this same experience calmly and routinely because for them, racism is a familiar reality.
For anyone who is bullied, or the recipient of discrimination - whether it’s because of your race, or sexuality, or class, or gender, or disability - I would encourage you to talk about it. Write about it. Start a discussion. And maybe if one person reads it, relates to it, is affected by it, has a changed opinion because of your account of prejudice… it could be a step towards raised awareness and reduced ignorance.