From the moment of my first breath, my mom drilled confidence in me. She knew the importance of confidence as a young Black girl, because she knew that the rest of the world would do everything it could to break me. She made sure to tell me that I was smart, beautiful, and powerful for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t enough. Kristen-Nicole called me a nigger and told me I looked like her maid. We were in kindergarten. Lucas Tate told me I looked like a monkey. We were in third grade. Nicole Aichele told me I was just an ignorant little Black girl. We were in seventh grade. My white peers drilled anti-blackness into me for as long as I can remember. They effortlessly and unknowingly undid everything my mom worked hard to instill in me. They made my Blackness a focal point of scrutiny from my hair, to my nose, to my body type, they embarrassed me. I got a weave. I stood in front of the mirror everyday and pinched my nose in hopes of making it narrower. I dieted. Through this transformation, made new white friends, and yet I still felt alone. I was unhappy with myself– with my Blackness. It reflected in my interactions.
In seventh grade I told a substitute teacher in front of the class that I hated Black people. I was not joking in the slightest. She laughed. In ninth grade I said that I was “too good” to hang out with the other Black people at my school because they were “too ghetto,” so I tried to fit in with the white kids. I was anti-black and didn’t even know it- blindly self-hating.
My freshman year of college was an eye opening one. I took my first class on race theory and it completely revolutionized my thought process. I hated myself for previously hating myself. I became angry– nearly livid with white people and myself, but in retrospect, I wasn’t angry at white people, but I was angry at whiteness. I was angry that people could walk around so oblivious and carefree while simultaneously inflicting so much trauma on my young psyche. I was angry that whiteness influenced how I viewed myself for so many years. I was enraged. I started to speak out. Then the question came: “Why do you hate white people?”