There is a difference. You can be tired because you only got four hours of sleep last night. You can be tired because you worked a 12-hour shift. Weary implies a sense of being completely used up, used up to the point of being empty. Tiredness has usually to do with the physical, the body. Weariness has to do with the mind and is often accompanied by tiredness of the body.
Today, I'm weary.
I'm weary from trying to explain to white people our journey.
I'm weary from explaining white privilege to white people.
I'm weary attempting to prove and show that racism still exists.
I'm weary of the N-word being flung about as soon as some black person doesn't "follow the rules" of being one of those good Negroes.
I'm weary of continually stating that my people built this country on land stolen from my Native ancestors.
We've tried. You set the rules and we tried our best to follow them. You keep changing the rules and we tried adapting to the new rules.
You said we were stupid and ignorant. We became educated and worked hard.
Despite the free labor we provided at threat of being beat or worse, we worked and worked and worked.
You said we were dirty, nasty and lazy. Yet, you had us as slaves in your kitchen preparing your food and cleaning your homes. Following "emancipation," you allowed us to clean your homes and take care of your children.
We wanted to vote because, as Americans, that was our right and would give us a say in government. You created poll taxes, literacy tests and other obstacles to prevent it and when that didn't work, you resorted to outright violence, murdering and maiming us, leaving our bodies swinging in the wind as a reminder to colored people "who forgot their place."
Following "emancipation," we wanted to own land since we saw that was a way to provide for our families. You created the sharecropping system which was just legalized slavery. We fled North, seeking better paying jobs. It wasn't that we were wanted up North, you just wanted to break the unions. You paid us less and put us in the most dangerous jobs in the steel mills where we were often injured, maimed or killed.
Still, we persevered. Locked out of "mainstream" colleges and universities, we created our own. We attended and sent our children to school and obtained our degrees only to find ourselves, for the most part, locked out of higher-paying positions. When Affirmative Action programs were created, you shouted "unfair," "discriminatory" and called us EEO hires.
It's okay that we can fill your stadiums and arenas. It's okay that we can make you laugh, often by making jokes at our own expense. We can sing and dance for you. You'll even buy our music. But, we can't forget our rightful place. We can't dare to think that were are equal. And, we can't dare forget that we are, and always will be, OTHER.
I'm tired, y'all, weary. Now, you want to tell us when, what and how we can protest. We've forgotten that we're supposed to be "happy Negroes." "Look at where you've come from." "You're millionaires, what are you complaining about?" You feel you get to tell us that racism no longer exists. You feel you get to tell us to stop seeing racism at every turn. You feel you can tell us to get over it, shut up, stop raising "thugs,," stop using and selling drugs, stop having so many babies you can't provide for, get off welfare and get a job and on and on, ad nauseam.
Sadly, I don't think the struggle will ever end. Sadly, I don't think the battle will ever be won. Sadly, I think racism will always exist. There have been times, especially since the last election, that I've just wanted to pack my bags and leave, give up the struggle and move to another country. But, I am a 6th generation American. My sons are 7th generation Americans. My grandson is an 8th generation American. THIS IS OUR COUNTRY AND I'M NOT GOING ANYWHERE!!!! You can keep changing the rules and we will keep on fighting for our dignity and our rights!
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