I was invited to join a community health board, on arrival it was obvious that I was the only person of colour on the board. Before the meeting begun people began to talk small talk. One woman was talking about her upcoming vacation to Jamaica and her excitement of the trip. She then proceeded to say “can you imagine how dark I’ll get, no one will want to see me!” At that moment, everyone looked at me in shame. Some laughed. I felt silenced, and alone. Yet in the silence, no voice of others would comfort me in resistance.
So the rest of the meeting went on, and I couldn’t hear anything but the pumping of blood in my ears. It wasn’t until after the meeting, that I approached the lady about what she had said. She listened to me attentively. I asked her to think about what she meant by “being too dark that they WOULDN’T want to see me” as if being dark is ugly or invisible. She apologized profusely and said that she couldn’t believe she had said that, considering she’s a diversity trainer. She agreed that the group needed diversity training. I then approached the other lady that looked at me from across the table in shame, and asked her what she thought about the statement. She responded by saying, “I know can you believe what she said?!” I then asked her, then why didn’t you say anything?
White folks always leave the person of colour to defend for ourselves as if our voice is huge and powerful enough to rain over them all.