The Chain Gang by Dinah Hutson

The chains you often wore around your neck, are the chains

That were wrapped around your ancestors necks, arms, and legs 

The hatred you wore so proud upon your neck was the same 

Hatred that left your ancestors into bondage,

That left your great great great great grandmother in fear that her slave

Master would rape her again

It all started when darkened skin was put onto ships

Where diseases killed them all, put onto plantations where death was promised,

 but until the cotton was picked the advantage took place, years and years of 

Bondage, captivity bonding, communist seeking-democracy lacking 

Illegal crimes 

Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 

The time in history when I thought the establishment of 

Colorism,racism, and inequality would all be done

But I was wrong to think that moments in society where we took big 

Steps were the moments that were tucked underneath our blood 

Civil Rights Movement 1950-1960, a time in history where water fountains 

Depressed the “colored” and held white privilege over the head and faces

Of what America is today 

1790, Naturalization Act

1857, Dred Scott v. Sandford

The Renaissance, reformation, scientific theories, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland,

Emmett Till, 


But today, oh today 

Never had I thought the tables to turn 

           Never had I seen black on black crime,

           Black on black hatred,

           Black on black gentrification,

           Black on black prisons,

           Black girl raped, black boy killed

I’ve seen it all: tragedy, privilege,pain,life, death 

We’ve spent so much time focusing on the trends, baby-phat, trash-rappers with no message, fast girls, fast boys

Not seeing the bigger picture

That this world’s damage 

Goes beneath the ocean floor 

That nothing can pull us back up

I realized that reality as bloods and crips killed family members of mine,

Never had we met 

As there was a divide from dark skin people to light skin people

Curly hair from nappy hair, so ignorant that the hair that grew out of all our heads

Would not be here if we didn’t have those ancestral historical figures

To gives us those strands

I saw the reality when we as black girls were used as experiments

That ones that were used for the control variables and the ones

That were manipulated, I realized that the damage was so deep as the mornings

Where I woke up proud to be a colored woman 

I was only proud that God gave me the ability to wake up 

But for several moments something in me wished and thought to ask 

Why couldn’t he just let me sleep forever?

Waking up a colored women, I felt the torture of the ones

Who suffered before me, I sensed the image of being accused of a crime I did not commit,

I felt insecure, I sensed the image of failing the paper brown bag

test, I had the senses of an image of being thrown onto a ship 

Where the chain I saw the white men wearing 

Was the same material and chain that held onto the legs, arms, and necks of those historical figures who fought like hell for the damage that has been done

To never appear throughout history, to never find its way killing adolescent hearts, 

To prevent little girls from being made fun of because of their afros, to stop letting skin color become a preference 

But something that everyone could uphold 

I was a fool to think that the past could be valued instead of the present 

That is belittled by the culture of all who wears the chains, choking their inner--self 

Allowing for their hatred to unleash, letting their hatred follow the 

History of sinking to the bottom of the ocean floor.


This poem is about: 
My community
Our world


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