I have made a mistake. I have allowed myself to become a victim of social media. These past 4 months I have been witness to a land of activism, support and indignation but I have also been witness to hate and intolerance. As a black woman in America, it is jarring to see the words coon, nigger, rag head and the likes when referring to people like me and others while living in supposedly one of the freest countries in the land. It is unsettling to feel as if I am living in the era of my parents when black folk were second class citizens if even human. It brings an element of fear when I read the vile words to imagine the contorted , hate filled faces lashing out in anger gloating in rhetoric of “taking the country back. It leaves me wondering taking it back from whom? I am embarrased for all of us and I am filled with deep sorrow for those that fought and died to make us better.
Social media allows the vitriol to be written from a place of anonymity. It is safe to sit in the privacy of a home and release one’s demented demons to play and wreak havoc wherever they may roam without fear of reprisal. It also makes me angry and causes feelings of fragmentation and suspicion as I look upon the faces of those I pass in the makings of my day. Paranoia? perhaps and why wouldn’t I be? As a brown face in a sea of white I feel as many others at this moment of time, we are on guard. I empathize with friends who live in fear on a daily basis of being ripped from family members to be deported to a land once known or maybe not known. I act surprised when citizens are detained in airports because of the color of their skin or the sound of their name and I wonder where the hell am I? Perhaps during the rise of Hitler, the Germans told themselves “this is not happening and this cannot be.” Maybe the Jews who were rounded up and put into concentration camps thought it was a joke and it would end soon. Maybe they thought the rest of their country would save them or others would intervene. Perhaps the majority of the German people were good people and disagreed with what was going on. Perhaps since it did not affect them, they were content to just ride it out. Perhaps. Perhaps their own fear gave them the luxury to stay quiet, keep their heads down, stay out of harms way. That is where we make our mistake, we allow fear to win. We stay quiet and we keep our heads down. History is sometimes doomed to repeat itself. We no longer have the luxury to keep our heads down.