By Alexis Murphy
I dream of winning an award one day. I want to be behind a glass podium, smiling and receiving hundreds of thousands of applauds for doing something important. I want to inspire other women, black and white, little girls and boys to also chase their dreams and be great. But, what exactly is the point of being in the public’s eye if I am not really seen?
We are standing backstage of an awards ceremony. You are next to me. We actually rode here together. I’m so glad you came to support me!
From the stage,
“Alexis Murphy, a 22-year old African-American female who…”
That. Right there. Yes, you. What you just did. That thought that came flying through like a train off the tracks. You couldn’t stop it if you wanted to. As the statement above cut off before knowing what’s next, this world also cuts out the black woman’s humanity at the sight of her skin.
Humans feel emotions.
Humans are allowed to be weak.
Humans need to be loved.
Humans need nurturing.
Humans cannot train other humans.
Humans can be upset.
Humans can scream.
Humans can also be mouse-quiet.
Humans desire justice.
“…has overcome many obstacles in her life that has fueled her ambition…”
Now my thoughts are invading me. Control your train so I can control mine! I envision a superhero. A black Shero who is untouched by and stronger than life.
Black women are not superhuman.
Black women are not above humanity.
Black women are too often objectified.
Black women are not immune to trauma.
Black women have real fears.
Black women are not immortal.
Black women cannot save the world.
“…is actually refusing this award for one simple request: to be seen.”
To you, white friend: Can I have my humanity back?
To you, black sister: I don’t want the “S” on my chest anymore.
You can have the world, white girl.
You can hold it if you want, black girl.
Control your train, so I can control mine.
I just want to be seen, because I am worth seeing.