Hi Maggie….I
Allene Swienckowski

Allene, Hi,

Firstly apologies for the assumptions. Secondly, I’m about 15 years younger than yourself. I was not born in the States but the UK where I have had my own share of racist experiences and would like to think when I read or hear another person’s similar experiences, that I can immediately understand, identify with and connect. As you know, racism is not an experience where you can decide on how exactly you receive it, but rather, it is an experience, which denies you control in how or when it comes to you; you are subjugated, overwhelmed and powerless. It is a situation where your coping mechanisms are tested to the limit.

Just going off at a tangent for the moment, I remember a long time ago when I was at University, I recall having more than one experience of ‘easing’ non-white students ‘into facts’ as whenever something controversial or contentious came up, they would react to the way it was presented, i.e., measured with what they perceived as arrogance. But it was not. They admitted you were correct but wanted it presented in a manner, which made them feel less culpable.

So maybe, Ezinne was not there at the march in Selma or present to hear Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a Dream’ speech. Or perhaps she has not participated in the odd riot and got herself arrested; witnessed her brother/father/boyfriend being accosted. And as she has not done/seen any of these things, should we conclude that she does not have any understanding or feelings at the injustice of it all?

Ezinne’s ‘voice’ is strident, vocal that is aptly applied to a topic that as you say, has fallen on deaf ears’ of ‘far too many white journalists’. I may sound like a sycophant (but I can assure you I am not!) but as someone who loves great writing, I can understand and easily see why she has been promoted’ by Medium as a talent to watch.

She has not only brought ‘racism’ to the table, but also the issues and politics of being dark-skinned. She seems clearly in tune with what’s going on in Africa Americans. Therefore, I commend Medium for giving her the platform to express herself exactly as she wants. She is lending her considerable voice about something, which concerns her. And it should. We should be provoked, provoked to the point where we can stand up and say, I’ve had enough.