SSD: There are two big questions that I’m asking every interview subject to answer.
First: What does it mean to you to “Be Black” in 2022?
JK: To be Black in 2022. To me, this is being prideful of who I am, while still constantly being overlooked. I grew up (in school) in spaces where I rarely saw anyone that looked like me. I constantly had to adjust who I was and how I talked. Whether it was for the sake of fitting in, or making others around me more comfortable.
In 2022, as a grown adult… No. It’s not happening.
To survive/exist in this world, Black People have always had to learn a lot more about what makes White People comfortable, more than what they have ever had to learn about us (in general or “what makes us comfortable”). They literally don’t have to know anything about us at all, to live in this world. They don’t have to adjust. They don’t have to make themselves fit into our spaces. Our history is literally being wiped from history books and lesson plans because it makes them uncomfortable. The irony!
So… Being Black in 2022 means no longer giving a.f. who feels comfortable around me.
SSD: Does that include the time we spent going to the same school as well? The feeling of doing things for the sake of fitting in or making others more comfortable?
JK: I don’t feel like I had to do this at Lincoln.
Before I transferred to Lincoln, I went to private schools and THAT was where I felt out of place because I was the minority. I came to Lincoln and it felt like home.
SSD: Yay!! Ok, moving on to Numero Dos: As a Black Person in America, what’s one thing that you wish other people knew about your daily experiences?
JK: As a Black Person in America, I wish other people knew how it felt to have to adjust your entire life on a daily basis just because of the fact that you are viewed as a threat, even when you are not. From what I choose to wear to run errands, constantly having to fake a happy mood and put on a smile for no reason, the uneasy feeling when there’s any type of police presence, to toning it down in public settings when out with friends.
No day is just a regular day. Imagine spending your entire day feeling like a suspect.