In the midst of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement I was offered to share my thoughts and experiences in Sweden. I paused for a moment and started hesitating as I was not really sure if I wanted to share these. Not because they were not worth sharing, but rather because they pale in comparison to the horrifying events in more exposed countries like the United States. Yet, I walk around feeling that I have to work a hundred times harder than my white peers in order to be recognized. And I realize that I have something to share, a question:
Is this my problem? Is this a black problem?
- Was it really my problem I was called N***er by the opposing team when playing football?
- Was it really a black problem when me and my black friends had to split up when going to a club in order to be let in?
Was it really my younger sister's problem when her kindergarten mates laughed her into fainting after the kindergarten teacher commented on her afro?
- Or was it my other sister's problem for feeling like an animal whenever she tries to embrace our culture in her hair styles, with people approaching her like an animal at the zoo?
I could go on forever, but the question remains: Is this my problem? Is this a black problem?
Once I heard that privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it doesn’t apply to you personally. This is what I experience from non-black people when I share these encounters of racism. I receive empathy over it being a black issue, rather than the will to act against the structural problem we all share. That is the problem.
This movement is a voice for the injustice that has been going on for decades and the structural and financial impact it has had on today's society. I hope we can all see it that way, as a problem for all of us to solve.