I was 20 years old when I had my first chicken box.
I was 22 before I could say the N word without fear of not belonging
To this day I still can not dance any of the popular dances
But by 22 I had mastered shucking and jiving for massa
smiling real pretty with my big white teeth, teeth that on
a dark night on a bus ride home from a soccer game,
were the only thing that fit in with the all white team.
My bright eyes the only thing that belonged in the all white school
as long as they weren’t looking at any of the pretty little white girls.
Cause niggers used to be killed for even looking at white girls
and we done moved on but sometimes you wonder.
So I led with my white teeth forward as a shield and my white eyes down
never achieving too much to scare anybody but just enough
that for a second everybody could forget that I am one of them.
After all I didn’t talk like them, I was eloquent and proper.
Oh I’m not calling YOU a nigger, you’re an oreo, I am talking about those people.
Imagine growing up and being taught self hate.
Raised to detest people who looked like you and love people whose parents
cannot stand the sight of you.
Making sure you weren’t too black but never being white enough.
Then breaking free and realizing that wasn’t even the worst of it.
After all you have been “raised white”, how will you ever be black enough.
I mean, you can’t dance. You can’t play basketball. You can’t even rap.
You like watermelon but prefer honeydew melons.
You speak “proper” and win speech competitions.
I mean you’re an honor roll student. You can’t be black.
The worst part is realizing that the insidious nature of racism
has painted your people into a prison of stereotypes.
I refuse that.
Blackness is not determined by actions, attitudes or culture.
Blackness is acceptance.
Blackness is becoming who you truly are.
Black is a color that contains within it all other colors.
When you are black you are free to be you.
You can be a thug or you can be a scientist or you can be both.
That’s your choice. That is what it means to be black.
I am proud to be black.