WELCOME TO WHERE MY MIND AND WRITTEN WORDS COLLIDE. JOIN ME AS I EXPRESS MY THOUGHTS ON WELLNESS, SOCIAL ISSUES AND MORE. AT TIMES, I AM VERY RAW AS A WRITER WHICH MAY BE DIFFICULT FOR SOME TO DIGEST SO PLEASE BE MINDFUL.
laqwanda roberts-buckley social justice advocate
The gentleman would explain how he does not live his life code switching and expressed the freedom associated with not adapting this concept. As I listened, I was honestly both envious of him and motivated by him. I was reminded of my days at Jackson State University and how freeing it felt to speak freely without certain concerns. I remembered my boldness in speaking about certain issues and how I would not retreat based upon what I thought I might lose. I began to ask myself “Have I become a professional code switcher for the comfort of white folks?”
I wrestled with this concept of code switching for the comfort of white folks for over 2 years. I thought in the back of my head that I always had to “hold truest self back” and ensure that I was “digestible” for certain communities particularly the white community. I wondered about the potential loss of opportunities and connections if I were to broadcast my real self to the world. I questioned if the world would accept an unapologetically Black, Queer, Social Justice Advocate, who is also a Wellness Consultant. I asked myself if I could call out Passive White America and still receive opportunities.
The answer came to me fiercely one day as I sat in a meeting with mostly members of the white community. I found myself defending myself for wanting to specifically focus on the wellness of Black women. I was told to my face by a white man that some people would be turned off by my focus and that I should be cautious. Feeling enraged, I found the closest group of Black Creators near me and vented for 3 days at the least. It was at that moment that I knew, I could not shrink any part of myself including my voice to make white folks feel comfortable about me.
I was tired of trying to find a balance between my fierce social and wellness advocacy for the Black community and being digestible. I missed the younger me who was fierce in all realms of her life and gave zero fucks about who had what to say about what she had to say. Yes, I understood that this would cause some to step away from me but at the same time ending the code switching bullshit in my life meant that I would be stepping closer to myself.
I know we are taught that there is a time and way to say things. This is true. However, I also believe that part of that statement is laced in how the Black community is taught to pacify our voice. People want you to speak out but not SPEAK OUT. We are told if your good job, fellow Board Members, or community leaders learned of “your true voice” for the Black community; you might not get that promotion, assignment, or opportunity.
I’m not going to lie all those things might be true but I had to ask myself a simple question “What are you willing to lose Laqwanda to be your truest self?”. My answer was immediate and just as simple. EVERYTHING! I would rather live my life as Laqwanda Roberts-Buckley as I know Laqwanda to be than anyone else. I rather be alone and rebuild everything from scratch than be surrounding by people and opportunities that I “faked” my way to receive.
At the end of the day, I am done with the bullshit. I am done with code switching to make myself more digestible to white folks. So, allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Laqwanda Roberts-Buckley unapologetically Black Queer Speaker, Wellness Consultant, Social Justice Advocate, and Writer; and my voice is more important to me than your comfort.