Before You Condemn Her

29 12 2006

The first time I heard the “N” word used by a white person was in my
high school lunchroom. A classmate whispered stupid “N” as a young
Black man walked by him. The whole table erupted in laughter as I, the
only Black person at the table, sat fearing that I would be next. One
of my girls at the table noticed my discomfort and said ” Don’t worry…
you’re not a “N,” you’re one of us.” Having somehow acquired some
higher value in their eyes, and safe from their contempt I sat in
silence.
As a Black Woman and a survivor in Durham, I am now reliving the fear and
confusion of that experience constantly. I feel a heaviness in my
chest as I breathe air thick with racism, classism and misogyny, and
dodge careless verbal assaults and contemptuous glares as I choose
along with other survivors, to step away from the “safety of silence,”
because, as the poet Audre Lorde once said “Your silence will not
protect you.”
So before you condemn her think for a moment about the things not
being said in the media, things irrelevant to the D.A and defense team
that are urgent to Black woman survival.
Consider for a moment the violence placed upon our bodies long before
either dancer entered that house. Consider the violence of a group of
drunken White men specifically and deceitfully requesting us as
dancers. And consider the assaults on us as these men spewed threats
and racial slurs at them. Consider the violence of entire communities
venomously condemning, one woman as she seeks a justice entitled to
her under the laws of this country, and lastly consider what it must
feel like to be a Black survivor in Durham. No our silence will not
protect us, “So it is better to speak”(also Audre Lorde).

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