When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.
July has been lit for me. From being named one of greater Madison’s most influential people by In Business Magazine to putting on a successful Black Business Expo. Matter of fact, 2016 is giving me life and is shaping up to be the “Blackest” year yet for me. Yeah. I’m Black every single day, but this year I’m seeing the fruits of my own Black Girl Magic even more than that one time I memorized Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech back in 4th grade for Black History Month.
Now imagine opening a piece of hate mail from someone who obviously can’t stand seeing Black folks winning. This isn’t just any random someone — it’s from “A WHITE PERSON WHO MATTERS.” I laughed. Then I shared it with two others who were nearby when I opened the envelope and the three of us laughed out loud, literally. Then, later on, after I had a chance to be lectured by my son on staying safe I thought about how hate permeates the air.
Haters gonna hate and racists find joy in inhaling the stench of hatred.
Let me back up about 27 years. That July, the 10-year-old me asked my mother for permission to go to the corner store. The real plan was to call my father collect and convince him that he should come and pick me up — as in right now. I had finally realized that the city bus in Milwaukee could only get me to Chicago St. and not the city, so these calls were quite important to a kid who just wanted her father. The call connected and I got the neighbor. She’d tell me of my father’s passing.
This is my earliest memory of hate.
I hated the neighbor. I hated my father for leaving me in Milwaukee. I hated my mother for keeping me away from my father that summer. I came to hate July thunderstorms. By the time I was 14, that hate fueled most of the trouble I created for myself. From running away to fighting. I inflicted that hate on my family and anyone who attempted to get in my way.
Hatred consumes. It stops you from living and growing in a positive direction. It’s one of the most powerful emotions that, if left unchecked, can destroy your life.
The birth of my son changed the direction of my life.
No longer consumed with hate, every single day became this hustle to have a different life. Even so, hate showed itself in those who professed to be good friends when I was no longer down with madness. As a young adult, I matched a haters chant with a strong telling off. Or in others words — if you tried to come for me — you were going to get told off.
At some point, I realized that I was entertaining hate.
I was giving hate time to hold court in my day and impede on my peace of mind. So I stopped. I distanced myself from unhealthy friendships. If someone clearly didn’t like me or how I was living — that was on them. I just stopped being interested in negative people and their toxic energy.
Now insert America’s ever-present hate for Black people.
All I have to continue to be is Black and I’m hated. We’re (read Black people) hated. That racist hate shoots down Black bodies with hands in the air. It builds prisons to house Black male bodies. It folds destruction into every facet of the “Black experience”. From hiring practices that keep Black people from countless positions to creating fines that trap poor Black people in poverty.
Couple the hate that a racist attempts to inflict on you with the hate that comes from other Black people who “hate on you” when you’re just living and it can be enough to cause you to snap off, right?
Or nah. Hate is too strong of an emotion and I’ve already experienced my share of hate over the years. It is why I can pick up the phone and call one of my elders and ask for their advice on dealing with hate versus looking for a way to get back at a hater. It’s why I’m more interested in living than allowing hatred to destroy me. In life, we’re going to face haters in many forms as I’ve learned throughout July. It’s how we respond to being “hated on” that we should pay attention to where our own personal growth is concerned.
DJ Khaled’s words come to mind, “they don’t want you to win.” That sums it up. Haters don’t want you to win. Racists have long proved that they don’t want to see Black people live.
So win anyways. Live anyways.