Looking back at the month that I have taken to be offline and instead chose to my present in the moment, I have learned a lot about myself, and more importantly, about my best interest and what I can handle.And honestly, the past few months have been a whirlwind. I'm moving into a new apartment in Ithaca for school. A recruiter from CBS ghosted me. I settled a new position in an organization. I affiliated with the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell. I experienced a lot of emotional turmoil from my own experiences of how I am treated as a black woman in technology from high school to this day, and from reading all of the social media rhetoric. I started an internship with ZODAJ from Carnegie Mellon University to help create contact-tracing solutions for COVID-19, which is a really inclusive work environment that is making a difference--honestly refreshing. I'm taking a summer course. I haven't been able to do as many robotics projects and develop things as much as I wanted to. I'm pulling myself in 100 different directions, when I need to let go a little bit.
As part of this journey towards self-reconnection, I made the choice to delete all of my main social apps (i.e. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat) from my phone, and refrain from logging in. I noticed that I was getting frustrated with what is going on in the world and forgetting to take a mental pause and give myself permission to need that kind of space from others. I needed to stop tempting myself towards this irrational fear of missing out. I needed genuine human connection, not all of the artificial drama and controversy that comes with the internet.
Of course, there were days that I caved, but over time, I found myself relying on my apps less and building more, studying more, connecting with my family more, having an improved demeanor and better state of mind. And that's when I was able to put my frustration into perspective.
I'm tired of having the internet and many of the people I encounter on it disrespect me for being unapologetic in my conviction. I'm tired of people being disrespectful towards me in workplace settings and then being surprised that I'm not okay with their lack of organizational behavior and etiquette and then attempt to gaslight me when I respond. I'm tired of the excuses and the complacency from others. I'm tired of being told to be patient with adults who should know the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior because they don't want to acknowledge their own shortcomings, I'm tired of others telling me that I am not good enough to do the work I do because of my race and gender, and then being shocked when I step away from that toxicity and allow someone who fits their preferred profile. I'm tired on this not being a one-off experience at one place.
And when I close my eyes, I wake up to the reality that so long as I pursue my career, people will treat me less than acceptably because of identities that I was born with and will die with. Why is it that the world judges me for my race and gender 24/7, but when my actions no longer fit the narrative that they create about black women, I "should make my accomplishments about my race." As if the world didn't make everything else in my life about my race.
And to think I'm one of the more privileged ones, as someone who holds those target identities from the comfort of a higher socio-economic status and colorist privilege from not being a dark-skinned woman. If I'm tired, IMAGINE how tired they are of a world that tears them down, puts them at a structural and institutional disadvantage, and berates them about not adhering to certain beauty standards and fetishization. I'm over this mindset of "get over it" when it's not over yet.
I am for black woman, I am one of a certain background, but to those that are not of the same background: I stand with you and in solidarity of you. I can be both affected to a degree and allied to a degree. I am not just against anti-black women rhetoric. I am PRO BLACK WOMEN. In the workplace, and in life. I have not and will not always agree or get along with every black woman I encounter, but I will always speak up for all black women, because in today's powerful pro-feminist movement and pro-black movement, black women are showing up but are having their issues swept aside.
Silence is complacency, so speak up.