Recently I've become more vocal about the death of black men and women at the hands of those who hate based on skin color, so much so I created a tee that says, "At A Place Where I Feel Safer With Black Gangsters Than I Do With White Conservatives." I did not create this to sell but to express my feelings of fear living in America as a black person.
The day before I posted a shirt that said, "My Skin Color Can Cost Me My Life. How is your day going?" On the back it list the names of 28 black men and women who were unjustly killed by those who are sworn to protect and serve.
I now live in a predominantly white city and when I first moved here I felt comfortable and at ease in my new surroundings. However, in my almost two years of living here I have been flipped off and cussed at more than I ever was living in Los Angeles for over 50 years. I was even called out of my name by a sweet looking old white woman once. In L.A. not only was racism well hidden but I managed to steer clear of it for most of my life.
These shirt designs are an expression of me and my state of mind based on the world I live in and a media machine that permeates my life no matter how hard I try to limit it. Being called out on my "Black Privilege" started with me being labeled a racist for stating where I would feel most safe.
As an American citizen you have the right to live where you want. It is why there are so many communities segregated by race, ethnicity, class and so forth. There are Jewish neighborhoods, Korea Town, China Town, affluent neighborhoods, etc. and seldom are black people welcomed without scrutiny. When we attempt to infiltrate, I mean try to be inclusive, we're met with unmasked disdain equivalent to, how can we afford to live anywhere but "The Hood?"
"The Hoods" that you wished we would stay in are policed by whites, governed by whites and judged by whites who don't live in "The Hood." Not only that, the whole inclusion concept does nothing more than further separate black people and keep them from forming stronger communities, raising up black leaders, and recycling black dollars. The erosion of my blackness is my own fault and I aim to change it by any means necessary.
Facebook conversations such as this and injustice lets me know I've been quiet to long. After being labeled a racist I was offered the black-on-black crime argument. I did not retaliate with the argument of mass shootings by white men on white people or any other argument that was not on point I just asked "why are you still here?"
When I stated he could unfriend me he instead chose to stay and argue. Why, I don't know. The only reason we were facebook "friends" is because we went to college together years ago and later he worked with my husband. We had no bonding moments over coffee or drinks. I've never been invited to his house and he was never invited to mine so no love lost. That is why I asked why are you still here
Then I was informed that I was "letting a few white racist dictate my reality." How is it a few white racist when white is the majority race? My response, however, was "And that is your white privilege showing wanting me to retract what I posted and how you perceived it to make you feel better about being my friend."
After that, was when he called me out on my "Black Privilege" which allows me to mourn a few black men killed by whites... And again I was offered the black-on-black argument with an article attachment, no less. I know the sins of my people and I don't condone it anymore than I condone any other sin. The difference is that those sins are not committed in the name of racism. So my only response to him was, "And you're still here." I asked this two more times while others on my timeline offered their own arguments.
This happened over the weekend. I wanted to give him ample time to defend his position. That Monday morning I unfriended him since he wouldn't unfriend me. I will keep my Black Privilege, however, and wear it like a confederate flag because I do mourn the black men, women, and children who are unjustly killed. I mourn with the families who lose a loved one for no reason other than hate. I mourn for a class of people who defend the actions of hate. If that is my Black Privilege, so be it.
DISCLAIMER: Some parts of conversation are not shown out of consideration for others.
Phyllis Williams-Strawder is a published author, Certified Business Coach and a 20+ year veteran entrepreneur. In addition to Espresso Mischief, she is the creator of Spresso Mischief Designs, the Founder of CKO Creator and co-host of the podcast, Chasing Dollars Making Sense.
Phyllis' published works include That Damn Girl Stuff: A Mother's Truth and Far From the Tree. The books she published for others included, SPICE: The Variety of Life, written by her husband, Morgan Mischief, written by her daughter, Song of Solo, written by Cybill Aros-Pearson, and Book of John, written by John Pye.
Phyllis has a degree in business with an emphasis in personal finance. She is an alum of Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business Executive Program as well as the Leadership Long Beach Institute. She is a former member of the Long Beach City College Culinary Advisory Board and a certified bbq judge.