On Monday, June 14, I drove to our family’s business and saw that someone had spray-painted the words “Nigga Ave” on our fence – and I cried.
This is not the first graffiti we’ve had, but this time it was more personal and disgusting. I cried because I’m tired of seeing my husband, my family, and other colored people belittled.
I’m tired of the misunderstandings and misinterpretations.
We all want the same thing — to be respected, secure, loved, and heard. As a white person, I recognize that some in my race have chosen to oppress. Minorities — whether they be black, brown, indigenous, female, LGBTQ, handicapped, or otherwise — can only struggle to find a way out from under that oppression.
It seems that the fear of losing that oppressive control ignites the bad elements in the majority to even more oppression. I wish they could see that giving others equality doesn’t diminish our own equality.
I’m tired of the misinformed judgments.
Most of us believe that we are respectful, treat others equally, and value all human beings. However, if you don’t think you have bias or prejudices, you are fooling yourself.
I’ve been married to a black man for over 20 years. I can still catch myself thinking less of someone different than myself. Of course we can all find ways to improve, but those of us who come from the privileged majority have a responsibility to do more.
I’m tired of the majority not recognizing its privilege.
Life has been hard for me, but it hasn’t been hard because of my skin color. My husband knows five languages and has two master’s degrees, but still couldn’t find a job after graduating — even while his white classmates had jobs and sign-on bonuses before graduation.
My husband has a general contractor’s license and owns three companies, but people looking for the owner walk right past him to the nearest white person.
As part of the majority, I have no fear of expressing my opinion or calling out the wrongs I see, but when my husband tried to do that, he was put in jail for four hours, dragged out of his cell, and sat on by officers who demanded that he call them “Sir.” My husband is from a third-world country, so he wasn’t shocked at this treatment but disappointed that it happens in America, but it still disturbs me.
I’m tired of hearing people say that they don’t want to hear any more about Black Lives Matter or about the historical mistreatment of minorities.
It’s always difficult to hear uncomfortable truths, but we have to learn from our past so that we don’t repeat it. Learning history from the perspective of those who’ve been mistreated doesn’t mean we are learning to hate America. We can learn from the mistreatment of slaves and indigenous people just as we can learn from the persecution of the Mormon pioneers and Holocaust victims.
Our ancestors are flawed, just as we are, but we can learn from them, and desire change for the better.
I’m tired of the idea that life must be fun and easy.
This past year has been hard for everyone, but it’s been so much harder for minorities. During the pandemic, a drugged-up woman attempted to violently bash his head in with a baseball bat. He called the police for help, but when they arrived, they handcuffed him and forced him to sit on the curb in front of his own restaurant for more than an hour before they would believe that he was actually the one who had called for help.
I’m tired of the denial — and thinking that these things don’t happen here. We can choose to root out racism rather than passively looking the other way.
I’m tired of me choosing not to speak up for my husband Rundassa Eshete and others who endure unnecessary hardships just because of their skin color or they’re not part of the majority.
I’m tired of being tired and so now I’m choosing to speak up.
Jan Eshete is a resident of Stansbury Park