There was a time in my life when I experienced constant anxiety. Obsessive thoughts, excessive worry, and uncontrollable heart palpitations.
Suddenly I saw the problem everywhere: There were no women of color at the spiritual events I attended. None of the empowerment accounts I followed showcased their work and the female entrepreneurs they featured were strikingly homogeneous. Most of the mommy blogs I read were written by white, mostly blonde, ladies. What I realized after Charlottesville is that the racism I’d experienced paled in comparison to the experiences of other non-white folks. My hallpass, the one that had let me navigate conversations about race from the vantage point of the oppressed, not the oppressor, had suddenly expired.
I started holding back. I stopped listening. Beyoncé embodied blackness and I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to be a part of it. As her performance at Coachella neared, a platform that could be considered the whitest music festival ever, I was nervous. Beyoncé as headliner wasn’t just exciting, it was momentous. Her mother was uneasy at the thought of her daughter performing on such a historically white stage, too. What if all those white folks just didn’t get it?
I was so far removed from blackness that I couldn’t recognize it on myself and when I saw it on others, I really didn’t know what to make of it. My peers told me I wasn’t really black; I “didn’t count.” And the more they told me I didn’t “count” as black, the more I began to believe them.