Yo, Black is whack.
Black is what I am behind closed doors
when no one is watching.
Or, what I am when everyone is watching:
When blonde hair turns to cornrows
or Bantu knots to “mini buns.”
Black, is the past
I, am the present.
Who are these people?

Who is Shaquille?
I don’t want my child’s name to make it
evident that he is of African-American descent.
Who is Alshawn?
Dreads so long, they can reach out and hug the roots of the trees
my ancestors hung from.
I don’t wanna’ hire Shaniqua, I want to hire Mary.
Because Shaniqua will not do what I tell her to do.
Shaniqua will not work efficiently.
Shaniqua will not keep quiet.
Shaniqua will not tame that hair to look representable.
Shaniqua will not assimilate.

I know more black people in prison
than I know in my neighborhood.
I know more stories about “black crime”
than I know about the criminal justice system.
I know the names of more black men and women who have
died in the custody of law enforcement
than I know who led the Civil Rights Movement.
Who are these people?

Black isn’t historical.
I’ve never read about it on Wikipedia.
It’s what’s cool,
Hipster status.
So what if the “land of the free”
simultaneously has the largest incarceration rate in the world.
They’re criminals.
They deserved to die.
Justice only has one face—
justice is the face of God.
I am God.

I am not black.
I “fight the power” too,
but I have to time it just right
So that I can be sure my Facebook friends actually see it.

I don’t see color.
I see people.
I know we just met, but it’s like I know you,
even though I don’t actually know You.

We should hang out sometime.
I hear bar hopping is the latest trend.
Just try not to take too many shots
or you may not make it home.

No, I am not black.
I don’t need to prove anything.
I am the benefit of the doubt
I am the innocent bystander
I just happened to always be in the right place in the right decade
I am the appropriation of black culture.
And I’m sorry that you do not actually matter.

 

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