Relationships

How I Feel Right Now as a Black Woman

mural by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

Last week was the longest week of my life…

As I sat on the couch paralyzed with anxiety, scrolling through photos of police officers with their guns pointed at children protesting with their parents, and pepper spraying non-violent protestors, a text came from my boyfriend’s mom: “Is Kim with you? Keep her safe.” Keep her safe. It struck me that I’d never viewed my Blackness as something worth keeping safe. It was always something people felt they had to work around, a discomfort, a challenge.

I grew up in a white suburb in Oklahoma, with a “very good school system” that somehow neglected to teach me about the Tulsa Race Massacre. It was the largest in our country’s history at that time, and had occurred not even 15 miles from where we sat, but it was only mentioned here and there. Black Oklahomans were told, “It’s our state’s shame. No one wants to address it,” and it sounded more and more like indifference the older I got.

I had mostly white friends growing up and I was always that person’s only Black friend, or one of two. There were a range of responses to this, but I found that a lot of them didn’t know what to do with me. When people aren’t used to you, or see your identity as an obstacle, things get reductive. I didn’t match the monolith they saw in the media, so they made up their minds of what I should be: “You’re like the whitest Black person I know!” “I always forget that you’re Black!” “You’re so cool, but if I ever tried to date a Black guy my parents would disown me!” In a friend group from just a few years ago, one person in particular couldn’t help but communicate with me through microaggressions shrouded in light-heartedness. “We need a category for Black people like you, Kim…it just doesn’t make sense that you like rock music and talk the way you do.” Sometimes I would even add to the punchline, to earn my presence with the group.

Last week as protests erupted across all 50 states, the immediate response to injustice astonished me. I couldn’t believe the swiftness with which white people not only acknowledged racism but repeated the words, “Black lives matter” — not just the message of “Equality for all” but an acknowledgment of systemic racism against Black people, and how it has damaged, degraded and killed us. A parade of well-meaning texts streamed through my phone: “What can I do?” “What should I read?” “What’s the best way to teach my children to be anti-racist?” Their reactions begged the question, “Why are you just now thinking about these things?”

I sat on the couch, caught between fits of anxiety and waves of fatigue. Leaving the apartment felt unsafe. Even our daily walks which I’d grown to cherish felt like too much of a risk. I thought of Ahmaud Arbery. My boyfriend Steve had already gone to a couple of protests and I wanted to join him, but my body’s instinct told me, “No. Stay here. Stay safe.” My resistance, it seemed, was to keep myself alive. Eat, wash my face, brush my teeth, drink water. I did what I felt I could from where I was. I posted on social media, shared my experiences, read as much of the news as I could stomach, then took a break. As I tried fruitlessly to lower my anxiety, Steve’s unrest bloomed as he sat on the couch next to me. I felt conflicted — I wanted to calm him, but needed to calm myself more. There was almost no getting around talking or thinking about it. It reminded me of right before quarantine when you couldn’t walk down the street without hearing someone talk about the “new Coronavirus.”

One night, I crumbled under the weight of feeling trapped — in my apartment, in my body. “This is too much,” I said sobbing into Steve’s shoulder. He didn’t sleep all night, while my exhausted body couldn’t help but fall into deep sleep until the next morning.

I’ve never witnessed this level of allyship and commitment to change before. Besides the hope I feel, I have reservations and questions. Why is it that Black people are now seen as people? Why is it so hard to believe us, even with visual proof? Even without it? Why were 11,000 people arrested last week, but not one of them any of the officers who killed Breonna Taylor? Why must Black people be extreme to be seen — murdered, a hashtag, a Tik Tok star, the first Black president? It seems like we are either unnoticed or we are larger than life — there is no designated space for being just human. We are people. We have stories and favorite memories and laughter and routines and plans for next weekend. Why is this up for debate?

When quarantine lifts, I will take the train to work, to a very rich, very white, “liberal” part of the city. Everyone who lives there probably voted for Obama — twice — and yet will still look at me like, “What are you doing here?” And just like every day before, I’ll fight for my sense of belonging, my humanity, my right to take up space. We’ve got some work to do.

P.S. Five Instagram accounts to follow and Allison Rhone’s beauty uniform.

(Photo and mural by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.)

  1. mwa says...

    Thank you for this, Kim. You’re such a beautiful writer and I so value your voice.

  2. Emily says...

    Thank you for sharing yourself so fully. Really grateful for you.

  3. Hali says...

    Thank you so much for sharing, Kim. Your writing always reads like a beautiful handwritten letter, it’s memorable and powerful. I love it so much and this week especially, am so grateful you’re sharing it.

  4. katie says...

    Kim this piece is so beautifully soulful and powerful. I hope you are taking gentle care.

  5. Ashley P says...

    Thank you for sharing, Kim. It’s so wonderful to hear your voice on this blog.

  6. jan says...

    As a white woman your words have plunged deep into my heart for many reasons but mostly in empathy for your sorrow. Thank you so much for finding the strength to share your words here. It helps so much.

    This is a one of the many videos I’ve been watching that is helping me understand a little more about how we “don’t know what we don’t know” and how to relate. It may seem off-topic but I found it very relevant and easily applied to race:
    I’ve lived as a man & a woman — here’s what I learned | Paula Stone Williams | TEDxMileHigh
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrYx7HaUlMY

  7. Maria says...

    Thank you for sharing, Kim! 💛 from The Netherlands

  8. Sophia says...

    Grateful for your voice x

  9. RA says...

    I can’t explain how much I relate to this as a black woman who also grew up in predominately white spaces with predominately white friends. Finding myself reflected in (both black and white) stories has been so hard, but I felt like I was reading my own thoughts when reading your essay. Thank you.

  10. Genevieve Martin says...

    Thank you.
    I’m so impressed by the bravery of all the black people who has stood up to fight for this, and simultaneously feel it’s wrong that they always have to fight. It must be exhausting and I hope finally that as white people “wake up” at last, the amount of fighting black people have to do daily will decrease.

  11. Gracie says...

    Thank you Kim for your words!

    What is happening in the US right now deeply resonates in a lot of countries all over the world. All the major cities in Europe have had big gatherings and demonstrations, not just in solidarity with black people in the US but also protesting local systemic racism. All of the countries that were colonizers are different but the same – POC who are born here are still not treated equally, and the status quo is maintained by oblivious privileged white and white-passing locals.

    It is heartbreaking that all of what is happening took sooooo long and is only happening now and I hope and pray that people’s initiatives and action will continue – there is a generation who will be growing up having witnessed this worldwide movement and I truly hope that it is already making a difference and a shift in mentalities.

    Cup of Jo – you are doing great work and in my opinion going in the right direction. Thank you and keep going!

    • Gracie says...

      P.S. just realized there’s a typo there – there should be a capital B in “Black people”

  12. k says...

    sending you <3, thank you so much for sharing.

  13. Nicole says...

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful, powerful voice.

  14. AS says...

    Thank you for sharing. So much reflective work to do internally before we change the external world. Sending you so much love and light.

  15. SG says...

    You have spoken from your soul about the intimate reality of these recent days and I am grateful to you for making the effort – this sort of openness costs so much. I would love to read regular updates written from your perspective on how the BLM movement continues to unfold, and more largely about racism against black individuals.

    This sort of Everywoman perspective – written by a woman who stayed home, and thought – resonates so strongly with me. Thank you, Kim. Maybe this will become a weekly column? I would love to hear your voice regularly.

    PS: I was shocked at how few comments this heartfelt piece has received!

    • Emilie says...

      SG, I echo your thanks to Kim — though thanks are (obviously) not enough. The Everywoman perspective is so powerful, to Kim’s point of “Why must Black people be extreme to be seen?” You are seen and heard and appreciated here, Kim <3

      I am one of many "well-meaning white women" whose silence and complacency in our systems of white supremacy have gone on too long. I hate that it has taken this extreme historic moment to wake up and rally the troops — but we are rallied. I hope that by trying to shoulder the burden of labour that is required to dismantle these systems, Kim and other BIPOC can finally get some rest. As Dwayne Reed said so eloquently, "White supremacy won’t die until White people see it as a White issue they need to solve rather than a Black issue they need to empathize with." I'm sorry that we (mainstream white consciousness) are more than 400 years late to this realization.

      I also agree with you, SG, about the number of comments. I think it is likely because Kim's words are so impactful and inspire thought and reflection before immediate reply.

      Love to all xxx

  16. Clare says...

    Sending hugs. I always look forward to your writing, and I’m so grateful to you for sharing your voice and experiences with us.

    • KJ says...

      I’ve come back to read your essay a few times in the last couple of days. Your words matter. Your presence here matters. I’m glad you’re being taken care of and loved in the middle of the continued exhaustion. We will keep fighting and working and reading.

  17. Jojo says...

    I wish you stuck up for yourself when they tried to put you in a category for being yourself.
    I hope they finally know that the pioneer of rock was black!!

    ✊🏽✊🏽

  18. Rachel says...

    I love every piece you write, Kim.

    • Mimi says...

      Thank you for this. Stay safe. We will fight for you. 💛

  19. Annie says...

    My heart has been heavy for a long long while with the understanding that we can’t be our authentic selves too often, and then if you are not white it adds another layer and another layer and another. Thank you for sharing.

    • Sam says...

      I’m really grateful for all the extra work people have done in the last couple of weeks to change my perspective, point me in the direction of educational resources, answer stupid objections on the Internet, and so on. It isn’t fair that the people who know more (either from experience or education) have to bear the burden of changing my comfortable mind, and I regret not taking more responsibility sooner. But I’m really, really grateful for people like the author of this essay for taking the time and energy to write.

      I’m a philosophy professor, and I’m not one of those cool ones who writes about feminist philosophy and has really diverse syllabi. I was trained in the white dude western tradition, and that’s the core of what I teach. I have always tried to offer my students something better than I received as a student, but it’s hard because I just feel so dumb and not equipped to go that far beyond what I know. It would take so much reading and education for myself to feel like I could change the way I teach my courses to prioritize the voices and perspectives of women and people of color, or to let go of some of Plato’s (honestly kind of pointless) preoccupations so that we have time to grapple with the philosophical dimensions of race in America. Until this week, I’ve felt too tired and overwhelmed to make those changes. But the protests, the articles like this one, the spotlight on the horrors of police brutality (even if some of that spotlighting was virtue signaling!) got me. I changed my summer reading list, and I’m changing my syllabi for the fall.

      I am leaving this comment here to express my gratitude (with an apology that it took so much noise to get me to try harder!) and just in case it helps one of those people who has been working so hard feel that their efforts are not in vain. My classrooms will be very different because of the events and efforts of the last couple of weeks.

    • Sam says...

      Oh shoot, I didn’t mean to leave this comment under someone else’s. Sorry!

  20. Daynna says...

    I can answer why it took so long for me. It didn’t take as long as those just waking up right now. For me, it started a few years back when I realized how deeply racist this country still was. It took Trump to bring to light what was hidden, to my eyes, at least.

    So, I started to listen to Black people. I tried to understand their experiences. I started reading books and blogs and articles written by Black peoples. I invested my time in trying to understand, listen and help. And I made attempts to see what I could do. But it didn’t feel like there was much I COULD do.

    So, I donated a lot. Usually to BLM LA, as I’m from LA. But it was daunting to try to do more. Because I didn’t know if I was wanted as an ally. I am white. I’m technically part of the problem. I didn’t feel welcome. So I stayed relatively quiet. I had some hard talks with people who held racist beliefs. I gave when I could. I continued to educate myself.

    But it wasn’t until right now that I truly, finally feel like the Black community will welcome those of us who are allies and genuinely want to help with open arms. Something came together with the weeks of isolation and the utter abhorrent, yet casual, murder of George Floyd that allowed the fire to well and truly burn this time. And those of us who’ve wanted to do something for a while now felt we had a path now and, finally, an invitation.

    Thank you for writing this, Kim. I’ve always loved your pieces, but this was exceptional.

    • Mallory says...

      I appreciate your comment Daynna and all the work you’ve done! I would just add that as white people, even if the black community doesn’t embrace white allies with open arms, it’s still our job to do the work, to be in the streets, to be fixing our racist systems. White people created this problem so I don’t think we should be waiting for an invitation from the black community to fix it (as much as it feels good to be accepted/invited). I know damn well I’d be hesitant to embrace a group of people who have oppressed me for centuries after they just started showing up en masse for a couple of weeks.

    • Heather Ailes says...

      “ But it wasn’t until right now that I truly, finally feel like the Black community will welcome those of us who are allies and genuinely want to help with open arms.“

      When I read this I hear that you felt like you wanted to be recognized for being a “good white person,” and without that you were unwilling to do the work. I used to feel the need for recognition from black people, too, but a person called me out about it in a way I couldn’t ignore. I do antiracist work—on myself, in my professional life and in public—but I do it because it’s the right thing to do, not because I want to be “an ally” or feel accepted or appreciated by black people. If that’s your motivation, it’s making this struggle about YOU, not about the black people in our neighborhoods, communities and country who struggle everyday to live fully in a system that treats them as second class people. I highly recommend googling “decentering whiteness” as a place to start unlearning this insidious part of white supremacy.

  21. Casey says...

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    I don’t know why now seems to be different. But I believe it is and I’m optimistic.

  22. Calla says...

    Im embarrassed to say I did not know anything about the Tulsa Race Massacre until watching The Watchmen. It was touched upon very briefly (maybe a paragraph) in my American history high school textbook but I’m pretty sure it was branded a “riot” not a “massacre” . Incredible the difference a single word can make in terms of how you instantly perceive an event (I notice this too when deaths are described as “murders” versus “shootings” the former invokes a much more visceral and emotional response)

    Your point about Black people needing to be extreme to be seen really made me think. About Black people and all other minorities, and how much we celebrate and highlight exceptionalism as justification for paying attention to them. But really the best thing will be when Black people can be totally mediocre and enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities as their mediocre white peers.

    Thanks so much for sharing with us even when you have your own needs to attend to

  23. Thank you for this.

  24. I really enjoyed this article, Kim.

  25. Ceridwen says...

    Loved this. Beautiful Kim.

  26. Anita says...

    Thank you so much for speaking your truth. Sending you love, hugs, and support. I’m so sorry that our country is such a terrible place for black people.

  27. Sarah says...

    Thank you so much for sharing, Kim. I am so grateful to hear about your perspective and experiences. Sending love from Boston.

    By the way, I am a big fan of your writing and am always excited when I see there’s a new post by you. <3

  28. claire says...

    Very heartfelt recognition/thanks to Kim. I have tended to waffle about keeping Cup of Jo on my (very short) blog reading list, but this content makes me want to keep reading. Please keep it up.

  29. Katrina says...

    Wrapping you in a cloud of love, Kim. All I can say is: it’s about damn time.

    Thanks to Joanna for listening to past criticisms and working to change this blogspace into one that is supportive and amplifying of melanated and diverse voices. We can all do better at striving for allyship.

  30. Pats says...

    Thank you for sharing your well-articulated thoughts, Kim!

  31. Liz says...

    Kim, I just wanted to say that I have always enjoyed your writing on here. It is beautifully articulated and vulnerable. This piece is no different and has made me think a lot. I hope you know how much your work and perspective at CupofJo is valued (and as others have pointed out, are compensated fairly for it!). Thank you.

  32. Lauren says...

    This resonates so much to this black woman working in a predominantly white (and well-meaning) non-profit space. Cheering for you, Kim.

  33. carla says...

    Thank you for sharing Kim! It is beautiful and touching. Sending lots of love

  34. Anne says...

    Thank you for sharing, Kim. <3

  35. CandiceZ says...

    My husband and I were talking about the way people suddenly have espoused anti-racism. We were saying that in one way, it seems that the Coronavirus May have brought people together in a strange way in response to a common enemy which meant coming together in response to another major disease. Godwilling, we get better, heal, slowly, but together. Perhaps a Dream, however, one which is taking another major step towards coming true.

  36. Olivia says...

    I love your writing, Kim. Thanks for this beautiful and vulnerable piece. I kept highlighting my favorite pull quotes and wound up highlighting most of the essay. Taking what you said to heart.

  37. SB says...

    Thank you, Kim. I’m not black but as a WOC I relate to so much of what you’ve written here (being the only brown person in the room, the micro-aggressions, the whitewashed history classes). This could not have been an easy essay to write and I appreciate the emotional labour as well as the intelligence behind it. This piece is so raw and well written and exactly the kind of content I want to see more of here. I love your posts about dating and style but this piece about your lived experience is next level. Like others have said, I hope you are being paid, not just fairly but, WELL. You are an asset to the team and bring a unique perspective and your compensation and title should reflect that. Plus, let’s be real: you’ve got the creative and writing chops too. Triple threat. Much love to you, internet stranger. :)

    • Cami says...

      So well said!!

  38. Kate D. says...

    Kim, I have enjoyed your writing since you joined, but this vulnerability was moving. I am a white woman, and I know it’s not you job to teach me, but I am learning from you. Thank you.

  39. Clare says...

    Thank you for sharing. Sending love from Chicago!

    • Lori says...

      Thank you Kim.

  40. Kylin says...

    Kim, thank you so much for sharing this with us. Your writing and your message are beautiful. You were under no obligation to go through the effort and labor of writing this to share your feelings, but I am again so grateful you did. By the way, I’m a Oklahoma transplant in NYC too– in my public school, we never learned about the Tulsa Race Massacre in any meaningful way either. We talked about it in one 50 minute 9th grade OK History class, where it was taught as the Tulsa Race “Riot” and that my teacher implied that the death and destruction was at the fault of Tulsa’s Black community, and that it ultimately was not an important part of OK history because “Black Wall Street is gone now, anyway.” What the hell, right? As a WOC, this really rubbed me the wrong way at the time, and I cannot imagine how it must have felt for you as a Black student in OK.
    Thank you again for sharing– I hope that you are able to rest and recover. May we all strive to be as gracefully vulnerable as you were in this post. I hope that when quarantine is lifted and you go back to fighting the good fight, fighting for your place to belong, I hope that you are able to find strength, peace, purpose and energy to keep going. Your written pieces of here and also on Instagram remain my favorites of CoJ. Take good care xx

  41. Robyn says...

    Thank you for sharing this Kim! Your writing is beautiful.

  42. AB says...

    Thank you very much for sharing, Kim!

    As a white person, I’ve felt uncomfortable with how many white people have responded these past few weeks. I believe that, especially when it comes to posting on social media, there is a very fine line between showing support and virtue signalling. Sometimes I feel like we end up making this about us (and making ourselves feel better) rather than showing solidarity with black people and fighting injustices in ways that are meaningful and long-lasting.

    • joy says...

      yes, AB. I am also a white person and I have had similar feelings.

    • Erin G says...

      Agreed AB. Jennifer Romolini’s tweet today resonated with me: “I don’t know who needs to hear this but: it’s OK to the the right thing without telling Instagram.” It’s time to white people to listen, learn and do the work.

  43. liz says...

    thank you for sharing this. profound and very well written.

  44. Akari says...

    Thank you for sharing, Kim!! I’ve been struggling, and reading your story see more light in the situation.

  45. Nigerian Girl says...

    I’m giving you a big virtual hug all the way from Lagos, Kim. Language has failed me in the past few weeks.

  46. Rusty says...

    Kim, I wish you never had to feel those things, that the world and the country that isyour home wasn’t that way and … all of it!
    The fact that, after everything you must be experiencing, and with complete exhaustion, you did write it so generously, is truly selfless.
    Thank you for truth telling in such an eloquent way.
    I cannot imagine what it’s like or even dream the nightmare of wondering how it is to be treated differently due to skin colour.
    We all bleed red blood. Why some people don’t get it does my head in.
    Sending you love from Australia where we have been holding BLM protests all over our country.

  47. stuart says...

    Thank you Kim! You are a beautiful and strong voice. Wishing you peace xxx

  48. Tracy says...

    Reading this made me so very sad. I am so, so sorry that you have had these experiences and that you have been made to feel any less human by some people. Racism in America is so deeply embedded that I just wonder where to start, some days. As for me, I need to start in my 5th grade classroom and with my two teenagers. Talking about race in the classroom is something that always makes me a little uncomfortable. You never know what backlash you may face from parents when confronting any difficult subject. I teach in a school that is mostly white, about 1/3 to 1/2 Asian, and just a few black students. It’s almost like I hope that if I don’t talk about it too much, the kids won’t even know that it’s a thing, or problem. And then maybe it will just go away??? But I realize that pretending racism doesn’t exist, is just adding to the problem. Educators have an important role in this problem in our country. We are going to need to be educated in order to learn productive ways to help our students face this problem head on.

    • Heather Ailes says...

      I’m a white teacher too, though in a school that is almost entirely hispanic and black. I’ve been following some black educators on IG and have unlearned so much about academia and race. I recommend Britt Hawthorn, Dena Simmons and Well-Read Black Girl. It’s a good place to start!

  49. gabrielle says...

    I see some people attempting to answer the question “why did it take so long?”, but I think white people need to do much better on this point. Truly, WHY did it take this long for the vast majority of non-Black people to care? I’m not asking anyone to wallow in shame, but I do think some healthy reflection is in order. Black people are literally dying while white people groggily wake up. And the hard truth is that those who have lived 25-35-45 years on this earth and have somehow failed to notice, name, or attempt to address systemic racism in their lives to date have been willfully ignorant. WILLFULLY. Let that sink in.

    Stop simply thanking Kim for her words. DO BETTER. Commit to making meaningful change in your own orbit. Commit to learning about Black history. Commit to being uncomfortable as you learn and challenge the structures of power around you. Commit to working with your children’s teachers to teach about the structures of white supremacy. Commit to hiring Black people. Commit to a plan for the next time you hear a racist joke in an all white space. Commit to buying from Black businesses consistently and consciously. Commit to ditching that racist friend and tell her why. COMMIT to something. Anything. DO BETTER.

    • Annie K. says...

      Thank you for this. Reading the comments yesterday I felt…sad. I felt our collective white tears and frought energy. I know it’s hard to know what to write in the face of Kim’s story, but that’s just it, white women. It’s not what we say. It’s doing better. We have been complicit. We have the chance to stop being complicit. If you’re feeling overwhelmed not knowing what to do- visit http://www.nicoleacardoza.com and sign up for her anti-racist newsletter with its simple, measurable steps (and compensate her for her work!).

    • S says...

      Here is my commitment:
      – Read at least 1 book per month by a black author (I generally read around 3 books a month)
      – Take diversity training, and bring the skills/information learned to my place of employment (I’ve enrolled in a Diversity in Tech seminar, and am going to purchase this course from Toi Marie: https://beyondprofit.carrd.co/)
      – Donate to https://www.knowyourrightscamp.com/ and https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019 on a recurring basis
      – Check in with my BIPOC coworkers/friends frequently

    • Abbey says...

      I agree. Answering the question of WHY did it take so long for white people to act is a question specifically for yourself, if you are a white person. Investigate. Deeply. I find it gritty, uncomfortable work to try to answer that for myself, as opposed to listing reasons why I *think* white people in general haven’t showed up like this until now. As far as I can tell Black Americans are not asking “why” for a list justifications.

      I understand why people are thanking Kim, because she has been so vulnerable with a large audience; she has revealed her suffering and we all know that’s hard. That’s work. I appreciate her sharing too. But being vulnerable is best repaid in kind, with vulnerability. Answer her questions, white readers, and be honest. That’s the start of doing much better.

    • CandiceZ says...

      I agree with Do Better. That’s the key point and everyone’s responsibility.

      I disagree that everyone or all white people or all non-black people have been Willfully Ignorant or Inactive. For some that is true, however, that comment assumes that people haven’t been taking steps against racism when they may have been doing so. I know I have and I know others have, even as I have witnessed and complained about actions or words in the wrong direction.

      What I believe this human rights effort has lacked is focus. Positive, focused, effort that collectively accepts we didn’t finish after the civil rights movement and were lulled into a false sense of security. Disbursed effort makes only very slow and incremental progress and can seem token or lip service even. This concentrated effort and attention has galvanized people towards one voice against systemic racism and discrimination. Recognizing the importance of declaring together that Black Lives Matter.

      Fortunately, what is moving us forward right now is Love and that is powerful. I know I am ready for The New Renaissance.

  50. Miranda says...

    Sounds like you often felt like the “other” growing up. I can’t pretend to know what that’s like… But isn’t this the experience of literally everyone who grows up non-white in a majority white country – Denmark, Japan, USA, Argentina ? You’re always the “other”.

    • Maggie says...

      no, its not the experience of every “non white” person. Many other races have privileges Black people do not, and saying so attempts to erase Kim’s experience as a Black woman in America. Read her post again and read more about anti-Black racism please.

    • BN says...

      Hi. I didn’t come here to argue, I promise. But I had to say this: I am non-white. I am a South Asian (indian) woman who has grown up in America. And no, this is not my experience. My experience with racism and what Kim describes is not like what Black men and women experience in America. The systemic racism against black people in America is unparalleled, more horrific, more embedded in every political party (yes, EVERY). To put it frankly, black and latinx people are treated worse than other minorities in America. I say this as a BROWN woman. It’s not the same. Look up the “model minority myth” for more information.

    • CandiceZ says...

      The thing that makes it different is black slavery. What that did was institutionalize racism for black people in a way that is different for other cultures. It means the rest of us can bring ourselves up. You see this if you visit different low income neighborhoods of different cultures/colors. Black people have been figuratively shackled even as we have made significant progress since the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement. It takes a paradigm shift to stop thinking that way. It’s almost like unbrainwashing. Hard to explain but hope that helps.

    • wsu says...

      No, it’s not the same. I’m an Asian American. I have had my share of encounters with racist behaviors, but NONE were as horrific as many experienced by black people in our country. I don’t fear for my safety when I’m stopped by a cop.

  51. Lizzy says...

    Thank you for sharing, Kim.

  52. Alisha says...

    So beautifully written!

    Alisha x

  53. nikki ricks says...

    Thank you Kim.

  54. Kristiana says...

    Thank you Kim – best post I’ve seen since the stirring two weeks ago.
    “We either go unnoticed or are larger than life…there is no designated space for being just human.”
    What a perspective – and being white, this once again humbled me deeply.
    Thanks again for your honest, raw thoughts.

  55. Helen says...

    This: “I didn’t match the monolith they saw in the media, so they made up their minds of what I should be: “You’re like the whitest Black person I know!” “I always forget that you’re Black!” “. I’m Chinese, grew up in New Zealand and had mostly white friends growing up – I found this line in your piece so moving. This has happened to me so many times. I also often found myself agreeing in some way, but now recognise how complicated and sad that is. Thanks so much for writing this piece. I so hope that this new energy toward racial consciousness will really change how we think about and treat each other, and how we think about and treat ourselves.

    • Rusty says...

      My 1/2 Burmese niece, born and living in Australia said “I forget that I’m not white.” She loves the beach and is often dark-skinned with her tan. But, shegrew up in a family that is quite likethe UN … Burmese, British, Maori, Lebanese, American, a wide variety. Most of all, no mention of anyone’s skin colour.
      I know from my own lived experience, that what we’re exposed to as children, is a huge determining factor of cultural and racial acceptance. My parents had deep friendships with people of all skin colours, races, religions and cultures.
      By contrast none of my friends did and the difference is stark.

  56. Sarz says...

    I appreciate you, Kim! As a gal who works at a very multicultural job in a very multicultural, lower-crime city, I had let myself believe that the world is a more just place than it is. How recent events have exposed my naivete!
    While it’s undeniable that you speak poignantly on this daunting issue, each one of your pieces are an engaging read. There is much more to you than merely being a survivor. Thank you for sharing these many facets with us.

  57. Katrina says...

    I can’t imagine how you feel with the – very understandable and valid – thought of “Why are you just now thinking about these things?”. It’s not good enough for it to have taken all this for people to ask, but I hope the people around you really do make a change in your community.

  58. Claire says...

    I so admire your strength and courage, Kim, and thank you for sharing your writing in this piece. I’m sending you much love. xo

  59. MJ says...

    Yessssssssssssssss Kim. What can each of us do? You gave us a clue early in your piece with your mention that you did not learn about the Tulsa Race Massacre in your “very good school system”: we need to educate ourselves about the truth about our local history and then advocate for our local schools to actually teach true local history. Growing up here in Oregon I never learned about the Vanport flood, which is Portland, Oregon’s version of Hurricane Katrina that wiped out a generation of Black Portlanders’ hard-earned wealth in one day. For those reading: find out if your town was a sundown town and/ or had “Shanghai” tunnels, learn your local race-related history and advocate for that history to be taught in local schools and honored just as much as your local high school football team ( if not more so, because people’s lives were and are at stake)!! Let’s dedicate ourselves to doing the work, and let’s wear out the silence and make it actually come true that Black Lives Matter…..

    • Rusty says...

      In Australia, the TRUE history of Captain Cooke’s landing (invasion?) of Australia has been whitewashed (pun intended) away and it is still not taught in our schools.
      There were many massacres, forced removal of generations of Aboriginal children from their families and their culture and languages (100s) were forbidden.
      It took until a 1967 referendum to even class our Aboriginal Indiginous people as citizens.
      It disgusts me.

  60. j says...

    i loved reading this post. thank you for this post. and in a time where many blogs/bloggers seem to be scared of what to post, and therefore not posting, thank you for continuing to share.

  61. Emily says...

    Thank you, Kim. You are a beautiful writer.

  62. Caitlin says...

    Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. As a white woman from a very white town in Canada, it has been too easy to feel distanced from these issues. I am working, with my family, to become allies now. Your perspective has helped me along. Thank you, and be well.

  63. Meg says...

    Thank you for sharing this Kim.

  64. Elizabeth Scott says...

    Thank you for sharing Kim. We’ve got some work to do… for sure.

  65. Dawn says...

    Thank you for sharing. Your words of wisdom speak volumes. Your shared memories and current feelings brought tears to my eyes. I value and relate to your story. You are making a difference by speaking your truth.

  66. Kim says...

    beautiful.

  67. Sarah says...

    Thank you Kim.

    • Sabrina says...

      Ciao, sono Sabrina, ho 52 anni ed ho un figlio di 26. Sono italiana, ho sempre vissuto considerando e trattando chiunque indipendentemente dal colore della pelle, senza mai fare distinzioni di genere, ho sempre fatto questo sin da bambina. E provo grande tristezza che ogni volta che intorno a me vedo discriminare qualcuno x il colore della pelle, la provenienza da altri paesi, religione diversa e orientamento sessuale. Ho insegnato a mio figlio che solo rispettando gli altri si potrà trovare il rispetto. Ora sono molto orgogliosa della persona che lui è diventata, combatte per la libertà e i diritti di tutti. Non bisogna arrendersi mai.

  68. Maire says...

    Thank you for this, Kim. I especially loved the last two paragraphs. Take good care of yourself <3

  69. Vicki says...

    Thank you, Kim. You are a beautiful writer. Take care of yourself. There is not one right way to be an activist. You are not responsible for overturning the system that has been oppressing you. I hopeful that we are finally seeing that and acting together for change. Wishing you well.

  70. Sequoya Snow says...

    Oh my gosh! Thank you for writing this, I was always hesitant about reading how black women my age thought or felt. That’s really weird to say publicly. Lately I have stepped out of my comfort zone because I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why I was so hurt, exhausted and mentally tired. I too am a black girl, who went to a predominantly white school during my adolescence. Trying so hard to be seen as just a human being, I felt the next best thing was to be as “proper” as I could so I wouldn’t be classified as one of “those” black girls. That has followed me into my adulthood and from the time I leave my home each day, I had the burden of proving I was good enough. Lately, these events have challenged my conditioning. I am putting forth the effort to rewrite a narrative for myself. A narrative using my authentic self as a muse. Thank you and I love you just the way you are.

    • jane says...

      “Trying so hard to be seen as just a human being, I felt the next best thing was to be as “proper” as I could so I wouldn’t be classified as one of “those” black girls.”

      This is really probably not the right time for the intensity of Chris Rock but he has a set about this very issue. I think it is clarifying for everyone, also for white people about ignorant other white people:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3PJF0YE-x4

  71. BD says...

    Thank you. Thank you again.

  72. Jo says...

    Thank you so much for this beautifully written piece.

  73. Katie says...

    As a white woman I’ll never fully understand how it feels being Black in America, not ever and certainly not this week. I hope you can rest and replenish and those of us who are long overdue step up to bear some of your burden. Much love and gratitude for you expending even more of your energy to share with us. You MORE than matter. ❤️

  74. Clare says...

    You are worth being safe. Thank you for sharing, Kim.

  75. Tara says...

    I hear you, it’s so tiring just trying to be seen as a human being on a daily basis.

  76. Hs says...

    Thanks, Kim! I wish we lived in a world where you didn’t have to write this, but I so appreciate that you did. <3

  77. sarah says...

    Your writing is beautiful and powerful—welcome, incisive, and needed. Thank you for your work and for sharing it here.

  78. L says...

    Yes what is going on?! Why is this finally breaking through to people when this has been going on for generation after generation after generation?!! I don’t know. It is deeply strange. But I do know that since it does FINALLY seem to be reaching something like critical mass and there does seem to really (maybe) be an opportunity to follow through that we all need to NOT LET UP. And by we all I mean mostly white people. I truly cannot imagine the emotional trauma and exhaustion that my Black brothers and sisters in this country are feeling. It is long, long past time that white people take up the burden and fight the fight in any way we can. Thank you for your light, Kim.

    • Sherry says...

      Let’s face it. White people have been gaslit- we were taught that every one is equal under the law, and yes, there are a few people still racist out there, but your job is to not be racist. That was and never will be enough and it’s tragic that we’ve not realized it until now. Growing up in the South, I always knew something was off, but it was so confusing to know what exactly was happening and why. Now it’s all becoming more clear than ever.

  79. Thank you so Kim, much love ❤️

  80. Erica Chiu says...

    Thank you for sharing.

  81. Jade says...

    Thank you Kim. You are right. We do have a lot of work to do. I have a lot of work to do and that starts with active listening. Your Words here are so powerful.
    “We are people. We have stories and favorite memories and laughter and routines and plans for next weekend. Why is this up for debate?”

  82. MyHanh says...

    Kim, my heart is with you.

    I’m sorry for yet another heavy week in our country’s long history of racism.

    This time does feel different than the last, in that there are more white allies, people are better understanding systemic racism and taking personal responsibility, and more organizations and companies are making anti-racist statements. This all brings hope with a touch of skepticism. I’m still slow to trust until laws (institutions) change.

    On another note, I always love reading your pieces and am quick to click when I see you’ve authored a post!! You are such a beautiful writer. I want to use the word “effortless” not to say you don’t work hard at it, but that it seems fluid and natural.
    Very much looking forward to future posts about your breakfast meals to race to whatever. I’ll read it!

    And yes, I also vote for you being over-compensated for your contributions. And (if YOU want) be offered senior/full-time employment, if you aren’t already. They need to do everything to keep your talents.

    -An AsAm sister

    • Priscilla says...

      I agree! I always perk up when I see you have written a post.

  83. Ramonaquimby says...

    Love this. Thank you for sharing.

  84. Anni says...

    Thank you.

  85. em says...

    Beautifully written, Kim. Thank-you for sharing your voice and perspective.

  86. M says...

    Thank you, Kim.
    I see you and I’m so grateful for your voice and perspective.

  87. Shannon McQuilkin says...

    Heartbreakingly beautiful. You are an incredible writer. Thank you for sharing.

  88. Erin says...

    I have loved hearing your voice in this space, and this piece in particular was beautiful, and heart breaking, and important. Thank you so much for sharing. We are listening <3

  89. elinor says...

    Thank you, Kim. This is so powerful.

  90. Mary says...

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us, Kim. Since you joined COJ, I have loved and appreciated your voice, perspective, and stories (and if I can add, your *perfectly* curated playlists). You are such a light. Sending love and strength. Xx

  91. Cynthia says...

    Hugs and more hugs, Kim.

  92. Emma says...

    I have the same questions as you and I, too, notice the hypocrisy of so many people. It’s absurd. People are so closed-minded and yet, in times like these, they are the first to show off and show out about how anti-racist they are and when you go back to work they will sing your praises for being there and being Black! But three months ago they were definitely giving you the side-eye. It’s so unfair and feels impossible to overcome, because the perpetrators are the same people who think that they are doing a great job at not being assholes. -_-

    • Rusty says...

      I agree. Virtue signalling is self serving a guilty ego, rather than walking their talk.

  93. Cathy says...

    Thank you so much.

  94. Yulia says...

    Thank you for opening your heart and giving us the privilege of seeing what is in it.

    It is a gift, Kim.

  95. Jodi says...

    This was so beautifully written. As a woman of color who has been in mostly White spaces (I was one of 4 Black people in an MBA class for example) and working now in a huge company where I am oftentimes the only Black person in the room, I know what it feels like to have to prove that I’m smart enough, that I belong and should be heard. It’s tough having to face life with its ups and downs but being Black in North America, adds a complication that is both exhausting and nauseating. Hopefully a change will come, trust me, we need it.

  96. BM says...

    hugs from Chicago….in this fight with you.

  97. Marlena says...

    Thank you, Kim.

  98. Hugs, Kim. It makes me think who else is not being seen because not enough of them have not been murdered yet? The Amazon tribes? The Uyghur in China? The Rohingya refugee? I pray for your safety, for we have a long way to go.

  99. elizabeth says...

    You have my heart, Kim. I see you and I appreciate you, thank you so much for sharing!

  100. Amanda M. says...

    Thank you Kim.

  101. Emily says...

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences, and for your vulnerability.

  102. Christine says...

    Kim, thank you for having the courage to share your story and your feelings. Cup of Jo is lucky to have you on their team!

  103. Sarah says...

    After the last US election, I went to work in Toronto and talked with my American colleagues about what went down the night before. Since I was engaged to an American at time, they felt I had a voice in the discussion. My black boss told me she had a hard time consoling her mother. Her mother still lived in Brooklyn and she was terrified for what was to come. As a white woman, I didn’t like the outcome of the election, but I didn’t know exactly what she meant. Now I do.

    Thank-you Kim for this piece. We can all benefit from hearing your perspective.

  104. Jess says...

    Thank you, Kim. Sending love. <3

  105. Jen says...

    Your writing is powerful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings, Kim. Sending you peace and love, and endurance to all as we begin to dismantle and build anew the many broken systems that have brought us here.

  106. Rosa says...

    Thank you for this. You’ve captured so well some of the more nuanced aspects and the mixed feelings, which I’ve found hard to articulate.

  107. Agnes says...

    Thank you Kim, thank you thank you thank you. This made me want to scream and cry as a white person. I’ve been waiting for this. Not ‘how to not be racist,’ not ‘what to read.’ But how is your heart, are you OK??? Stupid questions maybe, but that’s all I care about at this moment in time. Thank you for letting us in to your experience. I’m just so so sorry and I’m crying beside you. Not because I can ever fully understand, but because the pain is so big and so unnecessary. I pray the world now sees a REAL change. <3

  108. CL says...

    I see you, Kim. Thank you for this.

  109. Amy says...

    This is so moving; I love your writing, Kim. I grew up in South Carolina and did not begin to learn about the depths and details of that specific area’s horrific history until I was in college. And I wouldn’t have learned it had I not been a humanities student. We need a complete overhaul of the way history is taught in public schools, in addition to major legislative changes to combat systemic racism. I for one am committed to working for those goals. And I hope to read much, much more of your writing.

  110. Mary says...

    This was so moving. Thank you, Kim.

  111. ANNE SCHERMERHORN says...

    Thank you for sharing your very breathtaking feelings. We have work to do everyday as humans. I want you to feel known and listened to by strangers like me.

  112. Elizabeth B says...

    Thank you, Kim. I live in a small town in Arkansas. We held a peaceful protest rally on Saturday, and I spoke. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. We were targeted by several white supremacist/nationalist groups. They’ve been showing up at local protests with civilian machine guns to intimidate and terrorize those present. The night before the protest, several members checked into our hotels from as far away as Minnesota. The original protest organizer resigned after receiving threats from people in our area. The local police were there, with initial resistance and unpleasant questioning from one of them (who has been reported). I was very, very grateful for their presence. I have never been more aware of what it means to be a target. I have never been more aware of how much I take my safety for granted. The protest went much better than could be expected. We had a great turnout. We had some hateful people, but they were mainly cowards who yelled things before we began. I was the only white person on stage. I let the others do most of the talking. I am absolutely astounded by the bravery of the Black (and Latinx and Mexican American and Asian) people I stood with. I was seriously expecting gunfire at any second. I’m still reeling, and I wasn’t even one of the main ones at risk!! My eyes are being opened more than I thought possible. How could anyone sustain a lifetime of such fear without severe trauma? It’s impossible. There has been some backlash from the protest. Some really horrible people have come out of the woodwork. I wanted to shelter my Black friends from all of it, until I realized that NONE OF THIS IS SURPRISING TO THEM! They aren’t shocked by it, I am! What a colossal joke that I would try to shield them from the reality of racism in our area. To them, there is no woodwork. Cupofjo has been amazing. I am always impressed with the determination to be inclusive. There can be some petty disagreements in the comments section at times, and goodness knows I’ve taken part in them. But I knew that Joanna, her contributors, and her readers would show up for this.

    • Jess says...

      “To them, there is no woodwork” – this is it! This is the realization that (I hope) so many of us are coming to. Thanks for sharing and thanks for being so active in your allyship, it’s a great example of how to begin to move forward <3

    • Jess says...

      And thank you, Kim, for sharing your story and how you’re feeling. Sending you so much love and my commitment to come alongside you in this fight xx

    • Rusty says...

      Y E S !

    • Wendela says...

      Thank you, Kim, for sharing this with all of us. It couldn’t have been easy and I’m so glad that your voice is here on CoJ. Please stick around for a long time to come!

  113. Kat says...

    So beautifully written and important; thank you for sharing with us, Kim. <3

  114. B says...

    Thank you for your potent words, Kim. Holding them, and you, in my heart.

  115. KH says...

    Thank you for sharing your powerful story <3

  116. Tosha says...

    Thank you for writing this. As a black woman, I feel this. I do. I hope for change. I hope for a different system. THERE IS WORK TO DO. xx

  117. Em says...

    Really well-written, Kim. Thanks for sharing your voice.

  118. Maria says...

    Really needed to hear this – thank you. Sending you love always.

  119. sukie says...

    “Everyone who lives there probably voted for Obama — twice — and yet will still look at me like, “What are you doing here?””

    All “elite” circles uses snobbery to defend the boundaries of their chosen few – white, black, asian, or etc. But clearly blacks have been targeted in the US more than any other racial group.

    What helps me is to remember that this is a birthing – and a wonderful, much anticipated, OVERDUE baby is being born. Is it helpful to dwell on the question of what took so long? Is it helpful to dwell on the pain of the birth, and the blood, sweat and tears it takes for a successful birth? Other than to acknowledge that it is a difficult process, for our sanity and to be able to be available to the miracle of creation, we must embrace it and then let it go so we can live in the glorious NEW paradigm – the one that was paid for by those who suffered – what else would honor those who paid in pain as much as accepting the gift they’ve blessed us all with? Are there better ways – o.f c.o.u.r.s.e. And we want those better ways and we will ensure that by participating as citizens of a democracy. We have all been leaving the governing to the government – they only do what is asked of them – and if nothing is asked then they clearly sink to the lowest common behavior. Participate: write your senators about EVERY LITTLE THING THAT is out of alignment!

    That the current president is part of the problem or a direct representative of the old paradigm is simply up to the voters. Elections are only a few months away.

    • A.M. says...

      Hi Sukie, I appreciated much of what you said, but took issue with the part where you suggest we don’t dwell on the past but instead look ahead to a new future.

      As someone whose been in counseling for several years, dealing with people very close to me who refuse to acknowledge the pain they have caused me – I think it would be amazing, and HEALING, if they took the time to ask themselves the question of “what took them so long” to acknowledge my pain. I can’t imagine how re-traumatizing it would be if all of a sudden, and seemingly out of nowhere, they suddenly started to act like they were supportive of me, without ever discussing their abuse, and their refusal to apologize first.

      In essence, taking responsibility means being honest. With others, and with ourselves.

      Let’s commit to being anti-racist by looking in the mirror and asking the ugly questions that will in the end, reveal more of the broken parts of ourselves that must be confronted in order for true healing to begin. If we dismiss why white people have been absent from the BLM conversation all these years so we can “move forward” we are adding more pain to our Black friends and family by ignoring our own contributions to their trauma.

    • sukie says...

      Thank you for underlining that because I was definitely not suggesting we dismiss the delay and that was perhaps not clearly communicated. We DO need to individually take hard looks inside and account for our own complicity. I’m just concerned we will remain so focused on the pain that we don’t ever get to the healing and the gift that is trying to be born.

      I think the ongoing ignorance of white people has largely been a reflection of a general apathy about the loss of power and respect the citizenry have for ourselves as a nation in general. Our government is no longer governed by the people – it has been governed by corporate money and now by Silicon Valley – neither of which operate on democratic principles. And we are losing our Democracy to autocracy as a result. Racism is a reflection of that apathy and yes willful ignorance. We must begin to participate in our local governance or we stand to lose our country to an authoritarian regime that enslaves all of us with technology that there is no escape from. These protests have the power to empower people and that opportunity for personal response*ability must be accepted.

  120. Traci says...

    Kim, thank you, simply thank you.

    • Jennifer Cooper says...

      Thank you for your vulnerability.

  121. LK says...

    Thank you for writing. Thank you for being here.

  122. Brady says...

    ‘Why were 11,000 people arrested last week, but not one of them any of the officers who killed Breonna Taylor?”

    Damn.

    • Meg says...

      THIS.

    • hot lava says...

      Say it louder for the indifferent US Citizens in the back!

  123. Lori says...

    This is really powerful and gives me a lot to think about. Thanks for sharing!

  124. Logan says...

    Hi Kim! You’re very brave and this is very moving. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings here. I appreciate them so much .

  125. Emily says...

    Thank you for your post.

  126. Caitlin says...

    Thank you for sharing this, Kim. This was really beautifully written and really powerful. It’ll stay with me.

  127. Thank you for sharing. I’ve been having lots of convos with friends as well.. actually the exact same one about the Tulsa Race Massacres and about how even in a very diverse town in Northern, NJ (not Alpine), we never learned about the massacre. My friend who’s in education says it’s because at the end of the day, it’s who controls the education system, including testing. I think it’s powerful that these liberal areas and people are being exposed for, in many ways perpetuating the issues or at least being called on to be responsible for the solutions – says this liberal, white girl who hopes to always have her eyes open and be part of the solution.

  128. N says...

    Thank you, Kim.

    Being anti-racist will be the fight of our lives.

  129. Adrienne says...

    “It seems like we are either unnoticed or we are larger than life – there is no designated space for being just human.” That’s the most profound, most honest, and most articulate sentence I’ve read in the last two weeks.

    • Kate says...

      I see you, Kim! Thank you for sharing your story. <3 <3 <3

    • Sarah says...

      Same same same. Kim is such a great writer, CoJ is smart to have her.

  130. Colleen says...

    I’ve loved following your writing here Kim, and I appreciate this piece on such a raw and personal topic. Thank you for sharing.

    I’d love to see CoJ profile women working in justice reform (Maybe some of the ladies from Essie Justice Group?) <3<3

  131. Agnès says...

    I love your writing; I loved your post when your boyfriend shaved your head, and love this one now. It’s direct, it’s clear, it’s powerful. You’re a true writer and I hope to read more. Power to you in these terrible times and always. Thank you, from Paris, France.

  132. Amanda says...

    Thank you for sharing. Your voice, not just today but always, has added something very special, valuable and necessary to this site.

  133. Sarah Petit says...

    Thank you so much for sharing, Kim. I hope you find some relief from all the stress and anxiety.

  134. AJ says...

    Kim… the feeling in these words is immense. I’m so glad you’re part of the awesome Cup of Jo team. Thank you for this. We have so, so much work to do, it’s true. X

  135. VS says...

    I’m so grateful for the swift push-back from many voices saying, “don’t ask your Black friends what you should be doing. That’s unpaid labor and it is exhausting enough to be black in this country. Use the internet. The resources are there, have been there. You just have to look.” I can’t pretend like it wasn’t my first reaction, too. I’m just glad that enough people started pointing out the obvious that hopefully Black friends aren’t fielding as many ignorant requests now. I will live with my personal shame that it’s taken me until now to be anti-racist, but I will work and move forward and do better. Thank you for sharing your voice.

  136. Rachel says...

    I’m so very sorry, Kim. I should have done better much much sooner. Thank you for sharing this.

  137. christina says...

    I felt this all very deeply – it’s like you took the words right out of my mouth and left me with nothing else to say! a beautiful piece, kim <3 wishing you all the peace i'm hoping to find myself

  138. Victoire says...

    Beautiful and powerful text. Thank you. Take care

  139. Joyce says...

    Thank you, Kim. I greatly appreciate your perspective.

    I wish I could explain to you why I, as a white person, took so long to embrace anti-racism as a necessary life practice. I cannot explain it, even to myself. Perhaps the answer is too mortifying and terrible for me to face right now. All I can say is I’m sorry it took me so long.

    Sending you love and wishing you an ease to the anxiety and a lot of well-deserved sleep.
    Xoxo.

  140. Tanya says...

    I am simultaneously infuriated that it took so long for so many to recognize the brutal violence of racism in this country and astounded by how many white people are now suddenly aware. I am cautiously hopeful that we will see some changes that can make a difference.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. ❤️

    • Katha says...

      Dear Tanya,
      I am not astounded at all. And I say that because I am part of the problem.
      The thing is (I can only speak for myself here but I’m sure I’m ot alone with this): I have always known that racism exists. I’m not just “suddenly aware”. I haven’t just started checking my privileges or reflecting on my own prejudices last week. I believe that on an individual/interpersonal level I have never been colorblind nor racist.
      But all this doesn’t matter because I have never been actively anti-racist. I made use of the whitest privilege of all: I chose to widely ignore my knowledge, my anger and my responsibility for the sake of my own comfort.

      It’s the right thing to be furious about that. Everyone should be.

  141. Caitlin says...

    Thank you for sharing this with us, beautifully said.

  142. R says...

    Kim, this is beautiful, thank you for sharing. I know this is not an easy story to tell.

    Cup of Jo, thank you for finally beginning to elevating voices and stories that have been missing here for so long. I hope that, as you ask Kim to carry this heavy burden for you, you compensate her accordingly and consider changing her title to more properly reflect the leadership role she is taking in this very white space. Integrating a workspace is unbelievably difficult work, and being your readers’ “Black friend” is a distinct type of work above and beyond any job description.

    • Ruth says...

      yes yes yes to this.

    • em says...

      YES to this. kim, thank you for sharing. I see you and hear you. hugs <3

    • B says...

      Here to upvote this!!!

    • Elisabeth says...

      Yes!

    • Raquel says...

      Thank you for saying this in a much more articulated manner than I ever could write. I have thought the same and 100% agree with you.

    • Magdalena Zapędowska says...

      Kim: thank you so much for the intellectual and emotional work of telling this story on this site.

      Cup of Jo: I’m glad you’re finally going beyond “diversity” and featuring explicitly antiracist content. STRONG AGREE with R’s “I hope that, as you ask Kim to carry this heavy burden for you, you compensate her accordingly and consider changing her title to more properly reflect the leadership role she is taking in this very white space.” Be a pioneer and become transparent about your finances. Tell your readers how much you compensate each team member, contributor, protagonist of “five outfits” or “beauty uniform” post. (I very rarely comment and only use my first name when I do, but this is important).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you for these notes. Your thoughtful input means a lot to me. A few years ago, I worked with an HR consultant to put together a company-wide compensation strategy so that things would always be fair and equal. We also worked on hiring practices and operational procedures. Kim is a very valued member of our team. Her one-year anniversary is coming up this month and I look forward to our discussion and what comes next for her. She’s a true talent and I’m grateful every day that she’s on our team.

    • M says...

      Voicing my support– 100% agreed!

    • Lily says...

      Yes, yes, and yes.

      In light of everything else that’s going down in the media world in terms of white EICs and senior leadership paying lip service to BLM but not actually paying their BIPOC staff and contributors, please pay (literally, not figuratively) Kim what she’s truly worth.

      As Ernest Owens so succinctly put it: Fighting against racism is about more than performative empathy; it’s about redistributing power. Until that happens, all of this presumed progress is a big white lie.

      So don’t just be grateful. Compensate.

    • Magdalena Zapędowska says...

      Cup of Jo: another brilliant Black woman writer joined your team a few years ago but left very quickly. I’m not naming her to avoid targeting. In the spirit of transparency and accountability, can you shed light on her leaving? I’ve been wondering, and I regret that it’s taken me so long to ask.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, yes, we adored her! she got a huge book deal and left to concentrate on writing her book. we were so sad to lose her! we are hoping to work with her during our upcoming event series, after the pandemic.

    • florence says...

      Yes to this!

      Kim, thank you for writing such a beautiful and powerful piece, sharing your story and putting it out there for this community. I hope that as we listen, that we really open our ears, eyes, and hearts as we examine our own racism and the racism within the system, and find ways to actively engage in the fight towards an anti-racist society.

    • Morgan says...

      @MAGDALENA I remember having the same concern as you – A.F. said in Instagram story after the fact that working with Jo was “a dream” which was a huge relief to me :)

  143. Maywyn says...

    Thank you, Kim
    Why has it taken so long is a question, I believe, is being asked by many, on all sides, in their context, from their own experiences. I feel your story with my heart, as some of your experiences and feelings are similar to mine, in my context.
    I feel when an issue is so huge, we tend to feel that people in power will implement changes. This era in history shows us that Everyone needs to implement change, in their own lives, community, nation, and the World.
    Allyship is the right path towards change, and making sure those changes never become left by the wayside again.

  144. Jill says...

    Thanks for sharing this, Kim x

  145. Jessica says...

    Your comment on having to be extreme to be seen reminded me of that bit from one of Chris Rocks specials, how he lives in a neighbourhood with JayZ, Mary J, and Eddie Murphy, the best of what they do, and some random white dentist.

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Yes, I remember that bit!! It was so profound! It makes me think of how a lot of Black parents tell their children, “You’ll have to do twice as much to get half as far.”

    • Meg says...

      I think about that Chris Rock bit all the time. It sums up the huge injustice so perfectly.

    • Rusty says...

      And then add to that, being a woman. That meanstwice as hard, backwards, and in high heels!

  146. Krystal says...

    Thank you for sharing this with us, and I’m sorry it’s necessary. I hope you are able to find rest and comfort, and I also hope that our country can maintain the current momentum and actually dismantle the systems of oppression that have been traumatizing Black bodies throughout our history.

    • Jill says...

      Thank you for sharing, Kim.

  147. Eloise says...

    Thank you for this. Please know my white-privileged formerly non-racist (I think) and now anti-racist self is (finally) working with you.

  148. MV says...

    Beautifully articulated. I can finally relate on so many levels, the guilt at wanting to stay home/stay safe, but also the crushing weight of it all. And then also the realization that despite all the important conversations and movements, after all this things will very much be the same. Thank you. Xx