Two Generations

My grandmother—a white woman of Scottish descent—was born 2 years after the 13th amendment was passed.

The black-as-night Bajan man she married working as a chef, saving him from peonage laws and debtors’ prison. My mother was born at the height of the Jim Crow era, where you could lynch a black person for looking at you the wrong way. She was one of the first research scientists to work on the correlation between cigarettes and cancer. She received a janitor’s salary.

The year I was born, interracial marriage was still illegal in the United States. Four years after I was born, schools were desegregated.

Two generations. That’s all it’s been since 100% of black women brought here as slaves were repeatedly raped from childhood on, since 100% of black men were brutally beaten, maimed, if not killed outright.

Two generations since it was okay to own human beings, treat them worse than animals, and justify it scientifically, socially, and religiously.

We’ve fought to change laws and made some progress, but seeing video evidence of systemic abuse shouldn’t surprise anyone. We’ve come far, but we’ve got a LONG, long way to go.

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Photo courtesy of the author.