Lately, the issue of race in America has been the topic of major discussion. Police brutality, African Americans as targets specifically black men...it's been on every social media outlet and news source.
Race in America...it's 2014 and yet we still don't know where we stand on this topic as a country.
I like to think of myself as someone who speaks up when I see, hear about, or even read about injustice. I have this instinct in me where I get informed, I do more research, I get emotionally invested and then I can't shut up about it.
Well, for a while I stayed far away from any topics of race. I've always wanted to be so much more than just a minority in this world. I didn't want to be judged, discriminated against or even thought about as just a black girl...I wanted to be so much more.
It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized that I was so uncomfortable in my own skin. I was so used to not being the norm, to not being the desired complexion, to not having dance tights that matched my skin, to not being able to find the right foundation, I was used to not being the norm...but just because I was used to it didn't mean I liked it. I liked being different but in ways that I could control, the fact that I couldn't control what color my skin was, just made me feel insecure and that made me run away from anything that associated me with being black.
Once I became aware of the fact that I wasn't comfortable in my own skin, I did a lot of soul searching. Wow, even now I have butterflies in my stomach writing this because I always grew up with so many different races and types of people that for a long time I didn't even notice race..and then I noticed it. Noticing it made all the difference.
One day I just had to look in the mirror and say to myself. "I'm Black. My name is Nicole Magloire and I am a black American female. My mother, the strongest woman I know is black. My father, the person that I respect more than anyone in this world, is black." I lied, I had to say it more than once for more than one day.
Coming to terms with the fact that I'm black didn't completely change the way that I interacted with the world around me but instead made all the difference in the way that I viewed myself. I found it easier to be passionate about issues in the black community even if they didn't affect my family because they impact people who look like me, people that I relate too. Accepting what I looked like, skin and all was exactly what I needed to finally be able to love myself.
Once I came to terms with the fact that I'm black, I was reminded of what it's like to be human in a world that doesn't always value your skin, that doesn't always embrace your face. I was saddened by the realization that at times when I was being pushed down by the media or insensitive jokes I joined in, instead of being my own hero.
I write this with tears in my eyes and hope in my heart because I have faith in humanity and more importantly faith in God and I refuse to believe that things won't get better. I'm not running a one man race, I'm surrounded by my brothers and sisters, some look like me...others don't. Yet here we are, asking for more. Begging for peace. Standing up against injustice. Fighting for a cause that hits closer to home than any other one has. America, it's time to change.
"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."