Does My Life Matter?

When you’re born they ask how dark?
Does my life matter?
When you’re a toddler and people call you pickaninny
Does my life matter?
When you’re in kindergarten and children won’t play with you because they say your skin looks like dirt
Does my life matter?
When you’re in first grade and you get put it the back of the classroom with the other black and brown children
Does my life matter?
When you’re in second grade and the teacher justifies George Washington having slaves because he was “nice” to them
Does my life matter?
When in you’re in third grade and friends say you can’t have a play date because their parents wouldn’t like it
Does my life matter?
When you’re in fourth grade and you get called the n-word while walking to school.
Does my life matter?
When you’re in fifth grade and you’re told your hair isn’t in dress code
Does my life matter?
When you’re in sixth grade and they tell you lies about the “romance” between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, not the rape
Does my life matter?
When you’re in seventh grade and they’ve never talked about Phillis Wheatley or Sojourner Truth in History
Does my life matter?
When you’re in eighth grade and a police car follows you a few blocks, even when you’re in pigtails
Does my life matter?
When you’re in high school and a teacher says you come from the ghetto, even though you were raised in the suburbs
Does my life matter?
When you’re in college and you learn about the Jenna 6, 10 point program, and the unusable GI Bills for Black Veterans of World War II
Does my life matter?
When you’re a college graduate and people say you only got into that school because of affirmative action, even though you didn’t even put your race on the application
Does my life matter?
When you’re in you’re in your early 20s and a gas station attendant calls you girl
Does my life matter?
When you’re in your mid 20s and a family member says you can dance because you’re black, not because you’ve had 17 years of professional training
Does my life matter?
When you’re trying to teach in a public school where teachers still say negro
Does my life matter?
When people tell students to speak real English, when Ebonics (Black English) is developed from West African and Creole languages
Does my life matter?
When you don't let your students leave the classroom with a hood on, because they might not be back the next day
Does my life matter?

This poem is about: 
Me
My community
My country

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