As much as we would like to believe we are all in this together, I am compelled to ask if that’s the truth. We are simultaneously experiencing events in vastly different ways. I've spoken to my fiancé, to my family, and a number of my white friends about this topic, and it is as much draining and exhausting as it is motivating and purposeful. Many out there are grappling with these issues for the first time while others have been unceasingly in this fight all their lives. Many close to me do not hold the explicit markers of a racist but rather have the camouflaged, implicit ones. I shared my experience and resources and they have generally been well received. These moments give me hope.
Nevertheless, I'm struggling with this and it hurts right now. Though what hurts the most is that there is NO reason why what happened to Ahmaud, in particular, could not have happened to me. I did unaccompanied runs often in high school. I have continued to do this all over the country and the world because of the nature of my career as a professional athlete. I vividly recall running alone through an unfamiliar neighborhood while staying with a host in South Carolina for a race. Although I had my worries about getting lost, my overwhelming worry was because I was a female and I was black- compounding my fear.
Therein lies my struggle. Where is the root of my pain, being black? Or being a female? Or struggling with my identity in the black community because I talk a certain way, or because my skin is a certain shade, or because my parents don't share my skin color? This is not to say I do not reap benefits from the shade of my skin. But I also bear being disconnected because I am viewed as an outsider to the black community, not sharing in their plight because my skin is lighter, and an outsider to the white community because I am black.