I was told that my friends were no good.
Single parent home, shattered family values,
This was no Leave It To Beaver production.
I was told that my friends were no good,
That my friends would lead me down the wrong path, but Mom
I was the one influencing them to smoke pot.
I was told that my friends would never amount to anything,
so why surround myself with...them?
Why surround myself with people who conduct themselves in such a poor manner?Why?
Why surround myself with people who feel proud to be themselves even when told they will never amount to anything?
Why surround myself with people from single parent homes only raised in that environment due to their fathers being incarcerated because the redlining in our region arranged it that way?
Why surround myself with people who come from a community more accepting than mine ever was or could be?
*Laugh* And they asked my why I hung out with these kinds of people.
They asked me why I do not look down on them? How could I not see the messes they are making? The delinquent lives they are living?
So, I replied smiling.
I look up to those constantly beaten down but still hold the resilience to say Black Power,
Those who bare keloids from past ancestral lashings but whose spirit still allows them to sing, Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around.
*deep tired breath*
If we each were given a dollar for every time someone spoke poorly about the poor, our world would be prosperous.
If I was given a penny for every time someone in my family spoke poorly about those living on the other side of the freeway. Those only 12 miles from our white suburban neighborhood, yet what seems like lightyears away..
I would collect each and every fucking penny,
Until I have enough to give to each and every person that my fucking white suburban neighborhood labels “some crackhead”.
I was told my friends were no good
But I knew what they were really trying to tell me.
That because the pigment of my friends skin is a darker shade than my own we should not be friends.
That I should not go to their neighborhoods because gang bangers run around in pure daylight popping off gats.
It’s not like those in lower-income neighborhoods have tax-deductible jobs or anything,
or that maybe my friend always looks disheveled because her mom hasnt made enough money to pay for the water bill in a while.
Have you ever had to bathe yourself in the bathroom of a McDonald's before?
There is no shea butter for their cracked keloid skin. No warm baths to soothe hungry souls.
This lifestyle, one of hardship and hard work, won’t grant you Teslas or the newest iphones,
Nor does it let you walk into stores without being followed, or give you a boost into Ivy League schools.
But you want to know what this lifestyle does give you?
The ability to say that I am not the stigma that is superglued onto my people,
That I am not going to sit there in silence while you redline my future into a worthless box.
This lifestyle may not get you into Ivy League schools, but this lifestyle can grant you a full ride to one of them. And that is something no white suburban resident will ever be given.
This lifestyle may not hand you materialistic obsessions on a silver platter, but through blood sweat and tears you have taken that platter from them and have turned it into pure gold.
And you may ask me why?
Why do I choose to surround myself with these types of people?
Why do I feel most comfortable surrounding myself with people who, too, are outcasted for being themselves?
And I'll just smile,
and laugh at you, because you just don't seem to get it.
But that's alright, because I’ll just enlighten you the next time you ask.
But until then…
we’ll just keep on walkin, keep on talkin, marchin up to freedomland.