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viewpoint

Black lives matter

| Monday, December 8, 2014

I’ve been followed in a store once in my life when I was buying an expensive mask for Halloween. Once.

I’ve been addressed by the color of my skin once in my life. During a basketball game, a girl I was defending said, “Back off, whitey.” That is the only time I’ve come remotely close to having a racist comment directed at me. The only time. It wasn’t even racist.

But you know what I’ve seen repeatedly throughout my life? Stepping off the bus with my predominantly black track team and having everyone in the vicinity stop and stare at us. I’ve heard people use the n-word derogatorily too many times to count. I’ve listened to white people express how they fear people of color for no other reason beside the shade of their skin. I’ve seen on the news unarmed black men, women and children murdered by white people of authority, or by white people who believe they have authority but really don’t. And no one is held responsible.

I’ve thought, “Hey, putting cameras on police officers is a great idea. That way, when we get to see exactly what happened, justice will be served and will protect everyone involved.” And then two days later, Eric Garner became a trending hashtag. He was a human being. He was a black man. He is now a trending hashtag because neither of those facts seem to matter.

To my black friends, I have never experienced the deep-seeded, multi-generational bigotry and hatred that has unfortunately always been a part of your lives. And trust me, I recognize that you are aware of this fact. You were aware of it years before I was. I can watch and be enraged. I can watch and be terrified, but not terrified for the lives of anyone in my family. I’m terrified for the people of color I grew up with, their families and strangers I see on the street. We live in two different realities because of our skin tones, and it is not okay.

You deserve better, which is an egregious understatement. An entire race has been and continues to be told through countless examples that they do not matter, when in fact they are of the utmost importance. There should never have to be a reason why you matter. You are human. You deserve to be treated like it.

Katie Mattie

Class of 2014

Dec. 4

 

 

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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Letters to the Editor can be submitted by all members of the Notre Dame community. To submit a letter to the Viewpoint Editor, email viewpoint@ndsmcobserver.com

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  • disqus_vTaYmcGqrH

    Very well said. Thank you for writing this viewpoint. While I’m not surprised, the fact that no one has commented yet is sad. This is an issue that we should all be enraged about, but a large portion of the people reading the Observer are not black and likely are not enraged. I am not black, and like you I don’t know what it is like to grow up experiencing that hatred, but I do have empathy. Unfortunately, too many people are unable to recognize the years and years of racism that has and still goes on today. They don’t feel compelled to put themselves in someone else’s shoes just to get an idea of how they might feel right now. If they did, they’d be angry and demanding change too.

  • Ke’Ana Bradley

    Katie, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences and lending your voice to a conversation that desperately needs all of us. Wonderful.

  • Nathan

    Seeing the pictures of the die-in outside d-bart made me so proud of my fellow students. I’m glad that people are not letting this issue fade just because the media flash has died down.