It's Not Exhausting To Be Black – It's Exhausting To Constantly Fight For Our Own Equality

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Black Lives Matter protest

“You must be tired of being Black.”

I simply cannot count the number of times I’ve heard a well-meaning non-Black person utter those words to me. It’s usually laced with sympathy and pity, although I’ve never felt either towards the color of my skin.

It usually makes me uncomfortable when someone makes statements like that because I have never felt “exhausted” or “tired” being a Black person in this world.

I can play devil’s advocate and acknowledge why non-Black people would think like that. You look at the way the world treats Black people, and the way that the system keeps us at the bottom of the totem pole, and you wonder why anyone would want to be Black.

Except, that’s just not true.

It’s not exhausting to be Black. It’s just exhausting having to constantly fight for our own basic human rights. 

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It’s exhausting having to educate non-Black people on issues that have plagued our community for centuries. 

It’s exhausting having to go outside with our hands already in the air.

It’s exhausting turning on the news and seeing another Black person’s name having to become a hashtag.

It’s exhausting protesting in the streets for people to stop killing us.

I can probably speak for many Black people in the community, but being Black is not a burden. I don’t wish I was anything else. 

Instead of asking Black people if they’re tired, try and ask Black people what you can do to alleviate their exhaustion with the way this country regards us.

It’s systemic racism that is exhausting to Black people in America.

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If anything, I’m tired of crying, screaming, and begging for our voices to be heard. It’s exhausting to realize you’re not safe anywhere — not in a church, not in your own house, not in a park, not out for a jog, and not at a convenience store.

I have never wished to be anything but the person I am right now. Being Black in America isn’t easy, and this might sound strange, but figuring out my place in this world and maneuvering in spaces while being Black has made me a much stronger person.

It’s admirable to watch the way that Black people are still resilient even after knowing the kinds of cards we’ve been dealt in life.

In the face of injustice and racism, Black people stand their ground. We still nurture and care for one another. We are still fighting the fight — and that’s what makes me proud to be who I am.

Togetherness is something that white America fears because togetherness is what is going to allow the system to finally crack. 

It was truly amazing to see how many people were out last summer, protesting and standing with Black voices. That allyship is what we need right now and forever. 

We need to continue this fight and work against systemic racism because that is the exhausting factor. The more pressure we apply to a country that has allowed marginalized communities to continuously be subjected to the bottom of the totem pole, the sooner we can thrive and exist in a world that caters to all people, of all races equally.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Chicago. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.