The Peace has been Breached-Erika Stallings
By now, I have become resigned to the fact that American society is a hostile place for people who look like me. I have to be on guard in my workplace not to come across as the angry black woman. I try to avoid police interaction all together. I know that someday I will have to give my children a talk on how to interact with the police and other authority figures to avoid trouble. But in my mind, the church was still a place of refuge, an oasis of safety in a sea of white chaos. Now that last place of peace has been breached as well by a man who was welcomed with open arms by the members of Emanuel AME.
The complete ignorance of the situation displayed by my white co-workers and friends compounded the trauma. June 18, 2015 will probably go down as one of the weirdest days I’ve ever experienced as an attorney. I’m the only African-American in my department so I’m used to standing out but yesterday was the first time that I felt truly invisible. My colleagues were either unaware of what happened or failed to comprehend the magnitude of the impact that the Charleston shooting had on me and Black America collectively. The one attempt to discuss the shooting was met with the statement of “oh is that what President Obama was discussing on television earlier today?”
As someone who works in a majority white space and has a circle of friends who happen to be mostly white there is a small part of me that is always paranoid that they don’t see or acknowledge my blackness. The past few days have been a reminder; some of my paranoia might be legitimate.