At the time of writing this, I have absolutely no idea what title to give. It’s a weird one, this topic. I guess it’s one of those, where you think only you feel it and saying it out loud (or putting it online) will make you sound crazy.
What I’m describing is feeling hyper-aware of your blackness and imagining the ways in which it can play out negatively in different situations. For me, responding to these feelings by point-blank avoiding situations is almost automatic. When it comes to holiday destinations, meeting new people, pubs, jobs etc. often my first thought is ‘will there be black people there’ which translates to ‘will I stand out, will people look at me weird, will I be racially abused’. It’s half LOL, half dead-serious because I know to a lot of people, it seems a strange thing to consider, but it’s a very real feeling for me.
I can’t pinpoint exactly where these feelings have come from. I think it’s a combination of being brought up black and African in the North of England and internalising experiences of my peers. I can’t recall experiencing any extremely aggressive, racial abuse but I am so fearful of if happening that I do whatever I can to prevent it.
I do wonder though, how long I can keep it up. Whilst I know I’m trying to protect myself, how long can I avoid potentially miserable situations? Because actually while I haven’t been through any of the extremes I’ve seen and read online, people have been racist to me in my home city, including black people. So it’s not like I’m safe anywhere, if that’s what I’m trying to achieve.