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There’s a gnawing feeling that comes with experiencing racism. There’s sadness, anger, fear, anxiety, shock, and so many other feelings you experience in that situation. These feelings engulf you like a fire blanket suffocating a flame but instead of putting it out, it protects the flame from going out and the heat in your already heaving chest just continues to spread. Now those feelings do that to you! If you’ve ever experienced racism in any form, you know what I’m talking about.

But unfortunately, you also know that there's that other feeling you cannot describe. It’s a feeling one can only fully understand from experience. I’d like it call it helplessness but it’s more than that. Perhaps one might call it uncertainty or the fear of not knowing; not knowing when it’ll happen again, not knowing how you might react when it happens again, not knowing if it will be to a “friend” you fall victim, not knowing if you’ll speak up against it in the moment or freeze and remain silent. There is that indescribable feeling you experience, it is as intense as it is overwhelming, and to make it worse, you have no options of solving it so you just try to shrug it off altogether, or tell yourself something like “you’ll get used and soon you won’t feel it anymore when it happens again.”

But here’s the thing about that stubborn feeling, IT NEVER GOES AWAY! Ironically, it is a kind and considerate feeling because it simply hides away from the surface and let’s you experience other feelings. It’ll never shadow any joys. You’ll go on that vacation, and somehow find the strength and courage to forgive that racist friend, colleague, boss, boyfriend, girlfriend name it; you'll find comfort in whatever explanation you come up with just to push that feeling away. 

But one thing that feeling won’t do --  is Forget! (A blessing and a curse if you ask me) because every time you hear that racist friend, colleague, boss speak, you’ll be reminded of the betrayal that is humanity.The blessing is that, from instinct, you never lower your guard but the curse in that is you never have peace of mind. That feeling chips away at your soul and there’s nothing you can do about it but feel it. And that is the feeling that does not let Black people give you a pass to say the N word or touch their hair. That feeling is the grotesque stain racism leaves behind that Black people have to endure every single day of their lives.