Why Do You ALWAYS Write About Race?

By Jaylin Paschal

Okay, this is more personal than my usual post.

One of my biggest fears is becoming a "niche" writer, so when people ask me "Why do you always write about race?" it kind of freaks me out.

I always joke that my blog is mostly about "Race, Rap, and Republicans." I talk about social issues, hip hop, and politics, as those are the things that interest and affect me the most. I can acknowledge that a lot of what I write, especially for this platform, has something to do with "blackness."

Obviously, my blackness is a monumental and important part of my identity, so I'm going to express and explore that however I see fit.

But again, the "always" in that question sends me into a mild panic. I want my body of work to be diverse; reflective of all I can do. I don't want to seem like I can only write about race just because I always write about race. So why do I always write about race?

James Baldwin has a quote that really resonated with me when I first came across it. It lingers in the back of my head almost everyday:

To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.
— James Baldwin

And, if that isn't true.

They meant it when they said "ignorance is bliss." I would even argue that ignorance is a luxury. Because once you're aware of your status--once you grasp your reality and take a good look at it--there's no unseeing it. Once you know injustice is there, you see it everywhere, with everyone. And things that once just "sucked" are now subtle reminders of the white supremacy and oppression that hold this country (this world) hostage.

And "rage" is the right word. Sometimes I feel so angry, and the only way I know how to get that off my chest is to put a pen to paper. Hence, why I'm always writing about race.

And believe me, if you're tired of reading about it, I'm tired of writing about it; of seeing it; of living it.

Tired of the justice system failing us, tired of cops kicking our asses or gunning us down, tired of driving on streets named after Confederate generals, tired of going to schools named after slaveowners, tired of being followed around convenient stores, tired of telling my white friends not to say "nigga," tired of the media doing their best to smear our names, tired of typing so many hashtags, tired of seeing black figures played by white actors, tired of white boys dabbing when they see me, tired of getting paid less for the same work, tired of having "Affirmative Action" thrown in my face, tired of seeing white Jesus and white Mary. Tired of being tired.

But again, once you know, you know. There's no pulling that wool back over your eyes. You have to actively work from letting it consume you; no one can carry that around with them.

I cope by writing.