When Innocence is Taken
By: Alyx Goodwin
Typically the phrase “loss of innocence” is used to define the moments of childhood when a person is exposed to the realities that life is not all playgrounds, naps, and coloring books. But for Black children, this phrase carries nuance. For many of them, the loss of innocence comes when they enter school or on the playground and they begin reading between the lines, making comparative notes between their upbringings and that of their peers. For Black children, innocence is lost when they begin to see how the color of their skin will play into their households, their relationships, and their learning experiences.
It has been reported that the KKK hacked into the library page of the Berkeley High School website and threatened Black students. High. School. Students.
Upon reading about this hate crime, I saw photos and videos of rightfully angered Black students that had no fear of the KKK and the threats presented. These were Black students that had lost their innocence long before this happened, and were left with the motivation to change the course of history.
When I was in middle school learning about “The Civil Rights Movement” it wasn’t my first time learning about the KKK. I remember reading through the section of the only chapter Black people get besides the one about slavery, recalling that I knew this history of hatred already. I also knew that this hate was not history and thinking that this was still only a problem in the South.
When I was in high school, I heard stories about “skinheads” in neighboring cities and my fear of White Supremacy became something I felt, rather than just read about. In college I was radicalized to see White Supremacy work in a way that was bigger than lynching, bigger than white hoods, and bigger than skinheads; I saw it in the form of the socioeconomic disparities that the Black community faces.
I don’t know which of those reflections of racism I’m more scared of. What I do know is neither of them will be standing for much longer.
Since inception hate groups like the KKK and the government have reigned by instilling fear, but what happens when that fear is gone? Please do not speak to us like we are that Black Community you knew 400 years ago. In 2015 the silence has been removed from the soul of our community and replaced with the amplified voice we need to challenge oppression, hooded in plain sight or hidden within the system.
Today I saw what happens when innocence is routinely taken and replaced by oppression, and then I saw a glimpse of the Revolution.
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