Our bodies don’t belong to us. In a society dominated by whiteness, the ownership of our own humanity, of our own race, is under attack. From being stopped by the police because of the amount of melanin our body produces to being systematically shackled in a land forced to become our home, the authenticity of ownership of our own being is nearly stripped and eradicated, leaving behind bloody streaks of half-hearted promises.
Marginalized bodies are in a position of uniqueness, a level of uniqueness unfamiliar and unrelatable to those of privilege. This uniqueness is one that doesn’t allow for hiding or erasure of one’s skin color, gender identity or sexuality, but rather puts these things that both hinder us and beautify us on display. It’s left out in the open, exposed to the air and unprotected from harsh gusts of prejudice that crack and split it. Some gusts are stronger than others, and these strong ones do more than crack and split. They tear. They gnaw. They seek to deprive. For as long as our bodies are living on this earth, we will forever be exposed to this gust.
However, there is one form of protection from this gust: pride. For one to have pride, a shield is formed. A shield held together and strong by the calloused and bruised hands of our ancestors. A shield that is within all marginalized bodies, but is often cracked and destroyed by hate. A shield that sparks a light within us. This light takes on the form of a flame, eventually forming a forest fire that destroys the seemingly beneficial seeds of self-hatred and leaves behind nutrients that guarantee security, thus preventing the seeds of self-hatred from sprouting and forming gardens of abhorrence. In the end, pride is what protects us, for if a marginalized body has pride, the gusts of prejudice are gusts no more, but just simple breezes of fresh, clean air.