What is it like to be Black in America?
Constantly being told that you’re not enough.
Constantly being told you have to change some natural aspect of yourself to be even barely accepted.
Guilty before proven innocent.
Assumed not to have class or decency… because in the eyes of many, ‘Darker Skin’ is not human.
Having to work twice as hard to get half as far.
Finding out later that your resume was overlooked because your named looked “TOO ETHNIC.”
Constantly having to prove your intelligence because you were born the ‘wrong’ skin tone.
And if you do speak with any pinch of eloquence, you’re trying to be something else.
As Chris Rock once said, “The Black Man is expected to fly to get something the White Man can walk to.”
What is it like to be Black in America? EXHAUSTING.
“Black American” © Khalilah Yasmin 2016
They will tell me to my face that I’ve transcended race when my version of Black is accepted,
Yet I’m angry, belligerent, and threatening when my skin color is why I’m rejected.
When you tell me that you don’t see my color, and call me the ‘Brown version’ of you,
You’re denying my culture, you’re erasing my lineage… You see it. I know that you do.
You remind me that I’m BLACK, whenever my version of natural is met with question.
I’m BLACK, when you’re uncomfortable unless I tiptoe around these harsh truths and valid lessons.
You tell me we’re the same, but say that my name is too difficult for you to remember.
Named after an Arabic Queen. History you’ve never seen and would have returned to the sender.
Unless I straighten my hair, the playing ground isn’t fair.. because kinky hair is too strange.
Your version of natural is widely accepted and mine must be painfully changed.
When I enunciate my words and speak properly with articulation, You say, I’m talking ‘White’.
Because if I speak another way, that isn’t as such, I’m told it’s not right.
“You’re pretty, what are you mixed with?” as to imply that Black isn’t enough to be seen in glory.
My skin color isn’t my entire journey on this planet, it’s only part of my story.
You say we’re not different, but every day you make sure to remind me that I AM BLACK.
I’ve embraced it and I love it. By now you should not have a problem with that.
You cannot look at my face and say that I’ve transcended race when every day, this ‘Earth Suit’ still is not universally accepted.