Five Dollars to See the Unicorn

I was at a holiday party last night, having a pretty good time, seeing people I hadn’t seen in a long time.

I was in a group talking about life stuff..travel, kids etc.

Everything was fine until the one man in the group started talking about something he heard on a podcast about the term “Royal Flush.” He was looking at me when he said this and since we had just been talking about siblings, I thought it was something to do with that.

“No, it’s about how many ways you can be marginalized.” He began counting on his fingers, “there’s non-white, non-male, non-straight… and suddenly I thought BINGO! I know Kronda!” He said this as if he had won some sort of prize.

My face in a ballerina backdrop painting
Step right up, pay your fare and see the dancing unicorn!

Suddenly I went from human party guest to Diversity On Display, all the white people staring at me and marveling at all the oppressions represented in just one person. Amazing!

“Oh and you’re a cyclist…” Yes, how many ways can we make you into the ‘other’ this evening? Let’s find out.

I reached for the leash on my racism service dog, but then I remembered that she’s just a hashtag I made up on Twitter.

“She’s a unicorn,” his wife chimed in helpfully. And it’s true I have applied that term to myself, though mostly in regard to the tech industry. I said this out loud.

“Oh you’re a computer scientist too!” he said, as if he had just made a particularly good roll in Dungeons and Dragons. +5 to diversity!

Like so many places I go, I was the only Black person at the party.

Finally the moment passed and I escaped to the living room and spent the rest of the party with the cat.

I wish I could have come up with a snappy retort like lowest difficulty setting because to them, this is all just an academic exercise. But to me, it’s my life.

I AM A BLACK, LESBIAN, WOMAN.

I am not just a collection of modifiers from ‘the norm.’

I AM A PERSON.

This is what Mia McKenzie is talking about when she talks about ignorance as violence.

This is why some days I question whether I should leave the house and subject myself to the risk.

Inevitably, there is the question of what to do with all the pain, frustration and anger. Whether to address the incident with the good white person who ‘didn’t mean any harm,’ How to heal myself so I can continue to move forward. The effects of these cuts is cumulative.

Inevitably, I come back to the keyboard.

I give it all my pain, anger and sadness to hold so I can move on. I lay it out for you to see, like they laid out Michael Brown’s body. I let the words pile up, incident after incident, in the hope that eventually the stench of bodies and the shame of complicity forces the good white people to deal with their ignorance.

  • No, where are you from?
  • I don’t really think of you as Black. (I think of you as human)
  • You’re more white than Black.
  • I don’t see color

From the microaggressions to the murders, we have had enough.

It’s time for you to do better.

Reparations:

  1. Ferguson public library
  2. Black Girl Dangerous
  3. TWIB Nation

14 Comments


  1. “I give it all my pain, anger and sadness to hold so I can move on. I lay it out for you to see, like they laid out Michael Brown’s body. I let the words pile up, incident after incident, in the hope that eventually the stench of bodies and the shame of complicity forces the good white people to deal with their ignorance.”

    This paragraph. This paragraph. Damn.

    Haven’t checked your blog in a while and just read this. Glad I did.

    Reply

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