Women of color don’t owe you shit

I am angry.

I am tired.

I work a part-time job which requires of me to be courteous, perceptive and submissive. I have to bend over backwards to give people what they want when they want it. Should I not be able to, it is my fault. Not the lack of time, not the policies I have to respect, not your fault, my fault. You can berate me and yell at me, but I must smile through it.

I am also a freelance writer, so I read the comments, I see how you feel about me telling you that your lazy-ass version of ally-ship is not enough. I see you argue with me about how white folks deserve my patience. I’m on Twitter and Facebook and I see you try to deny my experiences and the experiences of other black and brown women, I see it. I see you deny our experiences with rape culture, misogyny, racism and queerphobia, I can feel it chip away at my mental health.

Women of color are somehow expected to bear the brunt of the anger, frustration and anxiety from all men and white women. We’re supposed to be resilient enough, strong enough to handle the abuse, the gaslighting, the emotional labor, the free labor and the under-paid labor. I wish we didn’t have to be resilient. I wish I had learned about more things through reading than I have through trauma.

We’re supposed to “wait our turn” for the wrongs to be righted and we’re supposed to accept the crumbs while others get the cookies. So rarely do those cookies come, those crumbs aren’t enough to pay the bills, to put into the savings account, to build a life, to build a future. “But work harder,” Jan from Maine tells me, “you’ll get there eventually! I got my job straight out of college.” Bitch, shut the fuck up.

I want women of color to be paid what you owe us. Pay us for our threads on Twitter, our self-published articles, our esthetics that you steal to up-sell at Urban Outfitters for Becky. Pay us for that emotional labor you expect us to do, pay us for the hours trauma takes away from our lives, and if you must insult us, do it with money.

I’m tired of having to prove that women of color are deserving of what we fight for: a great job, physical autonomy, our space, our mental health and self care. I want black and brown women to luxuriate in all the things that we love without being called selfish. I want our guilty pleasures to simply be pleasures as we continue to pursue the things that make us flourish.

I don’t want to soften my voice, I don’t want to be tone-policed, I don’t want to mould myself into your expectations, I don’t want to smile while you graze my ass and call me exotic, I don’t want to have my own experiences explained to me, I don’t want to have to explain to you why racism is wrong or why I don’t owe you shit. Not a single woman of color owes you her kindness, her patience, her lenience, her body or her time.

Femmes of color deserve the whole world, we deserve the space you ripped away from us, the lands you took away, the innocence you raped, the peace you tore apart. We deserve the warmth of summer and the time to heal because we will inherit this world and we want to be well rested when we fucking do.

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