New Year, Same Threats

I didn’t realize I was doing it. Looking over my shoulder when I unlock my apartment door. Immediately regretting honking at another car. Holding my head down when I’m alone and walk by a group of men.

Women. No. Black women. It’s like there’s a never-ending threat to black women and each black woman has her own way of dealing with them. I have come to realize that I internalize them. As much as I would like to say that I face them head on, I can’t.

Sometimes I sit and think about how scared I can get for my cousins, my best friends, and my chosen brothers. I pray for their safety on a regular occasion and I worry when I haven’t heard from them. I guess I didn’t get to be “the mom” without some worrying for the people I love. So maybe that’s it, maybe it’s the maternal instinct embedded in me.

As much as I cast my worries onto God, you’d think I wouldn’t have another worry, but they always come back. Sometimes when I’m driving, and someone cuts me off, I think about the fact that they could have a gun in the car (this could also be due to a Criminal Minds episode (S4E11) that’s stuck in my head).

I also wonder if someone is walking around concealing their carry and how I need to obtain my license sooner rather than later. I think about how easy it is for someone (a white someone) to get upset with me and then BOOM, I don’t make it home that night.

I also think of all of the strong women I know that have dealt with sexual assault in some form. I think about how easily it can happen and the outcomes that have transpired from similar cases.

I’m graduating with my Master’s soon and I’ve been thinking about where I want to live and with everything going on in the US, especially in Chicago. More recently I’ve been thinking about crime rates and how I’ve always felt comfortable where I’ve lived and if I will feel the same wherever I move.

These thoughts don’t constantly run through my head, but they do come. I hate feeling like a white person, or anyone, can do what they want to me and that it may not matter, that I could be gone an extended period before my family finds out, that whoever harms me could go unnoticed and live an uninterrupted life.

With all of this being said, I still curse people out in my car when they cut me off and I still treat people the same regardless of their skin color. Attitude = attitude for anyone who wants it, but I do have these thoughts too. It’s a weird time right now. It seems like in this era, there’s always a new way to rationalize racist, rapist, and abusive behaviors.

There’s nothing that I can do when it comes to other people’s decisions, but what can I, a black woman, or black people in general do to feel safe anymore?

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