Toleration 

In my quest to be around/support/befriend more people that look like me — I sometimes fail. I get tired. My patience is thin. I get annoyed. I judge and make excuses, etc.

I have found that I have become more comfortable with people who don’t look like me because I’ve found myself with some resources that not all black people have. I’ve found myself in situations that systemic racism has kept from our community. These situations provide spaces and opportunity where there are few people of color.

Through it all, I am still surprised by the fact that I have more friends who are white than black; though, situationally, it makes perfect sense.
I find that in my attempts to expand my circle of friends my choices are limited by my biases and annoyance from my own personal expectations.
And, truth be told, being the extremely introverted person that I am, all people annoy me.

Because, people are annoying.

The catch is that I’ve found that my annoyances can be deeply deeply rooted in the way that I was raised, obstacles I’ve overcome and biases both recognized and unrecognized.

I am annoyed by white people when: I can’t relate to what they’re talking about because I didn’t watch a particular movie, I don’t know a pop song, I haven’t been abroad, their academic stamina is higher than mine and it is their life goal to prove it, they flaunt their old money, they are unaware of their privilege, etc.
I am annoyed by black people when:
they are loud in public, can’t “control” their kids, don’t code switch or aren’t aware of what it means to do so, are late, dress flauntingly, are conceited, fit more than one stereotype that has been perpetuated by the cycle of systemic racism, fall victim to buying name brand everything but their standard of living is no better than the next black man/woman, etc.

The problem arises when I judge the black woman who comes to work late harsher than the white woman who comes to work late.

I know why I do it.

As black people, we have to work harder to circumvent the many stereotypes that exist about us – and anyone not working diligently to do so annoys me.

We call it the black tax.

It is an idea that black people have to work twice as hard to be just as good as white people.

This degrading mindset that I have has limited my interactions with people that ultimately mean the most to me because they, more than likely, share the same life experiences.

The responsibility I cannot account for comes from mass media. I blame tv, televised news, newspapers, the radio, commercials and subliminal messaging on a whole for reinforcing the minority/majority mindset in society.
I’ve become part of the judgemental cycle. The cycles that reinforce the stereotypes by running from the people who could give us a bad name. The damage that comes from my judgement stems from the the fact that I’m judging my own.
I’m hoping that it counts for something that I’m at least aware of it. Perhaps I can be granted something because I can honestly say that I’m working on it. I’m making an effort.
by Shamira

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