Last year I married my partner, he is white. A friend said to us, “you are so lucky to have the love you have” I replied “I know, right? We really are. Imagine that 60 years ago in some places around the world our marriage was illegal, I would have been brutally beaten and probably imprisoned” they said, “yeah, but we’ve come a long way, haven't we?” rubbed my arm, smiled and moved on. End of conversation.
Oooh the ignorance.
I think for me, that is one of the most painful things to witness. Family and friends outright choosing ignorance, being too uncomfortable to even listen, not understanding their privilege. Ignoring the fact that only because something isn't a problem to them personally doesn’t mean it's not a problem.
I had to learn that I cannot tell them how to respond. I cannot tell them how to feel. I cannot teach them empathy. No matter how much I want them to be on the right side of history with me.
So what can I do? I made a list.
Bravely share my experiences.
Proudly use my voice to call out injustice.
Protect my energy.
Celebrate my skin and my blackness and all the beautiful things that come with my culture.
CONTINUE TO HAVE CONVERSATIONS ABOUT RACE EQUALITY.
Shalisha is a young actress known for Bay of Silence and has appeared in Alex Rider, Silent Witness & Death in Paradise.