By Jasmine Wilborne
And I said I would look into it.
Why? Because I’m a black girl riding through a post-slavery post-Jim Crow country with a white dude.
And to be honest, I would really like to skip the deep south completely. My uncle drove across the country with his fiancé and when he stayed over in a hotel in Alabama, he had the black staff telling him that it would be wise if he didn’t leave to go anywhere at night. That it would be safer if he stayed inside.
I want to believe that upper-middle class black chicks who speak perfect English, don’t “act black”* and grow up in two family homes won’t be victims of racist-sexist violence. (* This is a derogatory statement that I included to make a point. Saying someone is “acting black” is derogatory because it implies that the actions of the person are low-class, unfavorable and embarrassing.)
But my uncle doesn’t seem to think so.
And he is right.
Here’s a question for you: How many black girls have had week long evening news coverage after they have disappeared?
I can’t think of a single one.
In fact, I used to use the absence of TV campaigns about kidnapped brown girls as a sign of my immunity.
I used to think that I could go unscathed, that I wasn’t “wanted” as much as white girls. That I was graced with the ability to go anywhere I pleased without worrying about danger.
In fact the opposite is true; black girls go missing and kidnapped as much as white girls.
But no one cares.
My parents have already said to me, “If you go missing there won’t be any helicopters, there won’t be any squat teams combing the world for you, there won’t be any evening news.”
“There will be us and that’s it.” So here’s a question:
Do I carry a gun and hope I don’t have to use it?
Or do I continue to wish that I am somehow above the sick bloody racism that is murdering kids just like me?
You’d think a bicycle trip focused on connecting the dots between sustainability, permaculture, eco-villages and community would be nearly carefree. That I would only have to worry about where I will buy my tour bike or which eco-village I HAVE to see. And I do.
But when you are a black chick in a post-slavery, but institutionally racist and unjust country, you can’t only worry about what’s going into your panniers.
I have to worry about being a target for racist sometimes lethal violence.
Maybe nothing will happen. Maybe we will only meet good Samaritans. Maybe I won’t need to worry about being a victim of sexual assault AND racial violence.