Mind

Please Read These Personal & Important Stories From Black Women

As I white woman, I know I can never fully understand the hardships and discrimination Black people face EVERY SINGLE DAY. And, it’s not just the big racist acts that you read about in the news. There are SO many smaller acts that happen DAILY. Getting stares when you walk into a fancy hotel like you don’t belong there. Wiping down your cart at the grocery store and having a customer ask sweetly, “Is that for me?” because they automatically think you work there. Getting followed at the department store because employees assume you will steal something. That’s just a small sample of things that happen ALL THE TIME to Black women.

Over the past week, I’ve been listening, learning, and finding resources to share with all of you. I listed a bunch of resources in this blog post, 10 Ways White People Can Find Racism.

I’ve also asked readers to share their experiences and stories. I feel it’s important to amplify their voices with my platform and I know all of you amazing women will support this decision.

These are their stories. I hope you will take the time to read them.

Racial Justice and diversity

From Erica Tyson

Dear Erin,

First, I’d like to say Thank You for acknowledging America’s systemic racism and by stressing education, being listeners, and eliciting stories and experiences from your subscribers. That alone has truly touched my heart. I love your channel and find your advice very helpful. I so appreciate your candor and transparency regarding various personal issues, which is evident in your recent statements. Honestly, this is the first time anyone has ever asked about my experiences as a black person in America, so here it goes (sorry, it’s rather lengthy)…

I’m 39 years old and live in Indianapolis, but I grew up in small-town Ohio. I was always the only black student in my classes. Always. And we were the only black family in the neighborhood. I distinctly remember my parents having talks with my 2 older brothers regarding driving, working, and living in our town. Although ignorant to the term as a child, I was aware of the act of racial profiling which I also encountered by white teachers in my school. This was all in the context of growing up a pastor’s kid and learning to love everyone as children of God. I came to realize there were many who did not care to follow such a decree.

As an adult, I reflect back and see how my blackness has affected the way I navigate the world — both literally and figuratively. I am constantly aware of what I wear and simple behaviors in the context of stereotypes and safety, and where I can and cannot go. Yes, legally, I am permitted to travel the country freely. But for as much as I love to travel, there are certain places I simply cannot go. I am reminded of the Green Book (the actual book, not the film) which I learned about only a few years ago while in law school. There were clear boundaries then of where black people could eat, stay overnight, etc. as documented in the book. Now, though I have the law on my side to defend my right to move freely, I am conscious that there are places where I am simply not welcome or even in danger, certainly including Indianapolis and the state of Indiana. Even when traveling to my Ohio hometown, there are places I will not stop or am on high alert en route for fear of racial actions taken, by police or business owners. But what is perhaps most devastating is that there are no cities where I feel at home and can relieve the daily pressures I feel as a black American.  Even when I am in “liberal” places of the country, it still exists; there is no escape, no relief, no respite.

Figuratively, race has also driven the way I navigate my world as a black person and a woman. I am keenly aware of how I am treated when I wear my hair natural (I have big, tightly curled fro-esque hair) versus when I have it straightened or pulled back tightly in a bun. I am cognizant of how black women have been hypersexualized throughout the years, originating from slavery when our bodies belonged to white men. As such, I am hesitant to wear certain clothes because while it may look feminine and sexy on you or other beautiful white women, it is often construed as provocative on black women and stereotyped as being promiscuous (looking at you, sexy camis and dresses). I wear jean jackets as opposed to hoodies when on road trips, and am always toning down, suppressing myself – in fashion and behavior. While shopping I make sure my hands are always seen. I suppress the daily oppression I feel at work or while I was in my law classes because such complaints are often construed as exaggerated and thereby diminished. I am completely saddened and disappointed that it has required the taking of yet another black life to get to this point as a society, but my hope is that others will be as open to such discussions as you. Again, thank you for listening and providing this platform as an ally. It’s incredibly necessary, so please keep it up, Sweet Lady!

Sincerely,
Erica

From Tricia Hill

Hello Erin,

I am from Colorado Springs, Colorado but currently live in Beaverton, Oregon. I really enjoy your style tips even though our body types are quite different however I am petite like you (5’1).

First, I want to thank you and congratulate you for your desire to educate yourself on Black injustice.  I don’t have one story but can give you several examples of what I have been through and what many of my fellow Black brothers and sisters go through on a daily basis.

  •  I can’t count how many times I have gone into a store and was followed because I am black and will likely steal something
  • When I pass someone in the store and they suddenly clutch their purses tighter or call to their child to come closer because I was walking by them ( I am black I must want their child!)
  • I have taken my niece (who is now 30) to the park when she is the only black child and suddenly everyone has to leave and sadly 24 years later when I took her daughter to the park in a totally different state the same thing happened!
    (that really hurt because all they wanted to do was play!! I cried so hard because they are beautiful and sweet young women)
  • When I get in the car and see a police car I don’t give any eye contact because I am afraid that small gesture will give them cause to pull me over
  • My husband and I were pulled over on a highway in Texas on our honeymoon twice we were questioned gave them the proper paperwork but we were not ticketed-that is called driving while black
  • My husband works the night shift and I pray that he makes it home to me, in fact, every time he leaves the house without me
  • Lately, I get anxious whenever I have to leave the house because I don’t know if a white person is going to call the police on me for No reason …because they hate black people
  •  We get typecast as “thugs, lazy, loud, unattractive…” the list goes on and the stress we carry just because people are scared of color is astronomical!

I could go on but by now you should get the point. We need your help Erin please join us in our peaceful fight for equality the laws have to change! We need to be recognized and valued because Blacks are being annihilated. This has to stop.

God Bless You and your family
Tricia Hill

 

Keowatha

Hi Erin,

I’m so encouraged by the outpouring of support and engagement from you and others. Thank you for asking to hear our stories about Black American’s experiences.

I am a 44-year-old Black woman. I’m a wife, mother to 4 beautiful and talented children (3 of which are boys) and I have a grandson. There are many stories I can tell. A couple involving my children,  but here is a recent one involving my brother.

My brother was arrested a couple of years ago in front of his own home. He and a neighbor were sitting in their car… pulled over in front of his driveway talking. This is in a neighborhood that gets no through traffic.  A police car pulls up behind my brother’s vehicle, approaches the driver’s side, and says that they were blocking the traffic. My brother responds with something like “that’s not possible.” He asks my brother to get out of his car and asks if he has a weapon. My brother says, “yes,” and the police officer called for backup put my brother in handcuffs, and searched his car.

He then told my brother that his gun was reported stolen (even though he purchased it legally and it’s registered to him.) He then says that there is a warrant for his arrest for an unpaid parking ticket.  The ticket is actually for my father who is deceased. (Sr vs Jr.)   My brother is handcuffed in his own front yard for three hours.  They take him to jail. On the way there the cop asks him where he works and my brother replied with his profession. And the Cops words: “Oh, well, you can afford this”.

They take him to prison where it takes all day to process and book my brother. Meanwhile, my family is hysterically calling the police, sheriff’s offices, District attorney’s offices, etc. It’s literally exasperating.  When we get through the DA’s office they find no record that my brother’s gun has been reported stolen, and they also tell us that can clearly see that the two (my dad and his son are two different people, different socials, etc.) there is no warrant for my bother and that the unpaid ticket was against my father. They are confused about the reason for the arrest.

Nevertheless, my brother is booked given a court date.

My brother has to pay a bond to get out of jail and pay for my dad’s (who is deceased) unpaid parking ticket. Upon his release, cops can’t find my brother’s gun.

During all this, I call my children’s grandfather. He’s a professor of law and is connected to judges etc. and it just so happens that one of the professors is the clerk for the judge presiding over my brother’s case.  We give her all of the details about this bizarre arrest. She informs the judge. My brother goes before the judge for arraignment, the judge (although he has prior knowledge of the specifics of this case) allows the case to continue.

The professor, who is also the judge’s clerk, talks with the judge afterwards. He asks him “How in good conscience can you allow this —this is wrong” eventually after a few more court dates and appearances, the case is dismissed.

Even now the police still can’t find my brother’s gun so he filed a complaint. This is especially important because if his firearm is turned out into the streets any crime committed can be pinned on him.

He is still working to this day to have those charges expunged from his record. He carries around a letter from the DA explaining that charges against him were dropped so that he won’t be prevented from getting employment. This is just one story…

Thank you for listening.

Keo

Clarissa Thomas

Erin,

You don’t know how much I appreciate your post about the systemic racism that plagues our world.
I must say when I first encountered your blog, I didn’t get the sense that it was for me.  I am a 44-year-old Black woman, and those thoughts stemmed from some of the statements you made that seemed rooted in a very Eurocentric idea of beauty.  I would just think, “OK, that is not my beauty ideal.  I don’t want to be skinny.  I love my hourglass figure.”  That is just one example.  I do not say that to be rude or to bash your channel (I actually enjoy it), but I am just being honest.
However, this post is more of what we need and something that I honestly did not expect.  White people need to use their privilege to speak about these atrocities.
The two people I love most in this world are Black men-my husband and my 17-year-old son.  Thinking of them and their safety is something that literally keeps me up at night.  When my son started driving, I got knots in my stomach.  We had the talk on how to talk to police if pulled over. Whenever he leaves the house, I have to keep myself occupied to keep the anxiety at bay.  We have the 360 app on our phones so that we know exactly where he is at all times.  Part of that is good parenting (I think, anyway) but much of it comes from the desire to keep him safe from police and others who want to take the law into their own hands, those who see my sweet, intelligent, goofy son as a threat because he is Black and almost 6’3″.
We live in an affluent community, but it doesn’t shield us from any of the microaggressions or overt racism.  I will spare you all of my anecdotes.  I sometimes find myself resentful of my white friends who don’t have to think of such things as they send their teens out into the world.
This email may make no sense, and I am rambling; however, I had to reach out.  Doing the work of educating people on these issues is exhausting.  I hope that you and others will continue to speak out.  Thanks again.
Warm regards,
Clarissa from Kentucky

Other Resources

For Talking To Kids

What resources have you found that are helpful? Please share in the comments below.

Thank you for stopping by!

Erin Busbee signature

How To Manifest Anything, Fashion blogger Erin Busbee of Busbee Style wearing an orange and blue Staud Ina dress with white sunglasses walking around in Telluride, Colorado
Erin Busbee
After a decade in TV news, a desire to help women "look pretty" sparked a career pivot. I started my own wardrobe consulting business, styling "real" women for many years. In 2014, I changed direction again, using my TV background and styling expertise to launch this website and my YouTube channel. We are now a community of nearly 700,000 dynamic, vibrant, amazing women over 40... who know that age isn't something you need to hide from. For us, life is just getting started!!
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7 thoughts on “Please Read These Personal & Important Stories From Black Women

  1. Hi Erin,
    Thank you for your posts. I have been a follower for quite sometime. I love fashion and enjoy getting wardrobe ideas. I rarely leave a comment but know that I am out here reading. However, it is not the reason for leaving a Reply today. Yours is the first blog that I read about the injustice and inequality. I then turned to Brene Brown and listened to her podcast with Professor IbRam X. Kendri. I will be reading his book “How to be An Antiracist.” Brene’s Unlocking Us podcast with Professor Kendi is worth listening to. Many resources are in the podcast notes. You see, I didn’t get it until now. I am a victim (because of our system of justice) and a Victimizer. I perpetuated the injustice and looked away From inequality. That said I have a black daughter in law, 3 of 4 grandchildren are mixed, 1 grandson growing up in a white family, mine, and 2 granddaughters, who do have a loving mother and father, my son. I didn’t get it! The over protection of my granddaughters from their mother. How everything was closely monitOred. I want to delete this post because I am feeling shame For not knowing and this is my family! However, I vow to not turn away any longer. I vow to educate myself and grow. I will pray for all lives. Thank you, Erin.

    1. Charlotte… I love you for sharing this… and you are not alone. I’m right there with you and I, too, am embarrassed. The important thing is… we are speaking out now. We are listening and learning. We are willing to make necessary changes.

      Thank you for being brave. Thank you for not deleting this and thank you for sharing your story with us.

      Erin xo

  2. Hi Erin! Thank you so much for this post and sharing Keowatha, Clarissa and Tricia’s experiences with us. i am in Canada and racism certainly exists here too. i appreciate you using your platform to raise awareness and understanding. i will continue to read and follow and learn (and unlearn!) so that equality can finally exist. i wish there were more comments here. this is so important!

  3. Hi Erin,
    I really want to thank you for talking abouT systemic RACISM, and for Sharing these 3 womens storIes. Like t
    I’m sorry to say that i just DIDN’T realize what People of colour have to endure every single damn day.
    a couple of months ago, i left a comment on a vlog (i subscribed to), Re: a post with the title “10 must have luXury bags”, or something to that effect.
    At the time, so many people were (and still are), dying of coronavirus. I Just couldn’t comprehend how someone could blithely write about fashion and luxury, while So many people are out of jobs and dying. I DIDN’T leave a rude comment, Just Something like “I’m sorry, just not feeling lUxury bags at the moment due to whats happening in the world”. The blogger was totaly rude back and basically said “if lUxury bags makes people happy then whats the proBlem. Did you just click on tHe video to make a rUde comment?!” I replied that i was a subscriber, anD watched all the content but was DISAPPOINTED thwre was nEver Mention, even a tiNy bit about whats going on.
    Things got a bit dicey and i unsubscribed. In fact, i unsubscribed to all the fashion Blogs, except yours.
    I was going to actually, but then You’d make a genuine comment about real life (CoRonavirus, losS etc), so i stayed, but a teeNsy bit reluctantly. It feelS wrong to me (personally), to talk about fashion, Etc, things that don’t seem to matter much in the big scheme of things. And then George Floyd was murdered. Another black life taken. Im so grateful When i read that first post yoU wrote addressing this, and calling attention to racial inJuStices. You said SOMETHING like “this may not be popular, but it’s important”.
    Like Clarissa said in her story “ Doing the work of educating people on these issues is exhausting”!
    Damn! Hell yes, it must be. That is whY it is up to us, PRIVILEGED white folks, to help, to step up, educate ourSelves, get involved…im not even sure yet what all i need to do, but im damn sure going to try my best. I heard a black woman say “why don’t white people love Us”? That just hurt my heart to the core. I love you, my bLack sisters and bRothers, i just diDn’t believe so many white people didn’t feel the same. Just because of the colour of Someone’s skin.
    Clearly, my love for you though is not Enough.
    I need to do more. Thank you Clarissa, Keowatha, and Tricia for taking the time and telling us your stories. I hear you. I promise you that i will start by reading the links that Erin has shared here, and getting involved.
    Why are there only 3 comments Left on this important topic?
    Sorry for the long comment.

  4. erin,
    Thank you for being willing to start the conversation. Thank you for standing in and WILLING to be uncomfortable. I appreciate you for that. Honestly, as a Black women that enjoys your instagram and YOU TUBE content, I have never thought that you saw me. Like, when you create your content, did you have me in mind?However, I watch anyway because, it’s good content. I am a woman that likes style and Fashion… I am i little older than you. However, we are close enough in age. When you talk about MENOPAUSE, and weight gain… I relate so much to the things you say. Not knowing if you realize that i am a black women who is in your audience. It should not matter much at all. However, It does come to mind every now and then. I say that to say, i know now that you do know That I am in your audience and you are willing to learn about me too. That speaks volumes to me. So again, i thank you for seeing me. Also, Thank you for standing with me.

    Kindest Regards,

    Princess Lee

    1. Boy do I hate auto correct. I hope IN SPITE of it, you understand my message.

      Thank you for being willing to start the conversation. Thank you for standing in and willing to be uncomfortable. I appreciate you for that. Honestly, as a Black women that enjoys your instagram and YOU TUBE content, I have never thought that you saw me. Like, when you create your content, did you have me in mind?However, I watch anyway because, it’s good content. I am a woman that likes styles and fashion… I am a little older than you. However, we are close enough in age. When you talk about menopause, and weight gain… I relate so much to the things you say. Not knowing if you realize that I am a black women who is in your audience. It should not matter much at all. However, It does come to mind every now and then. I say that to say, i know now that you do know That I am in your audience and you are willing to learn about me too. That speaks volumes to me. So again, I thank you for seeing me. Also, Thank you for standing with me.

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