Gray is the New Black

My hands are as black as the shadows of the trees at night,

yet the blood that runs through my veins is the same as my friend’s who is white.

I chew the words of advocacy for my race like a spoiled dinner-

fearing my words will twist into those of a violent sinner.

I work towards a world of change, acceptance, and peace.

I long for a fantasy where I feel accepted by the police.

The words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. warm me like a loving blanket.

I am challenging myself to practice patience.

However patience is a difficult virtue to follow,

especially in a city moving too fast to swallow.

Society sees the cause and masks it under a veil.

My words and my voice, are what tells our tale.


Sitting in a classroom filled with my peers,

debating a topic prone to chuckles and sneers.

The Baltimore Riots occurred just a day before.

My classmates were fervent with the fire of war.

“Animals! Savages! Monsters!” they cried.

“I’m just glad another thug has died.”

The words I once swallowed, now swelled in my lungs,

and pierced through my chest til they slipped off my tongue.

In that moment, my voice could not have been silenced.

I had to stand strong against verbal violence.

“You all scream and shout yet you hardly know,

what it feels like to fear being shot in the streets like a doe.”

I must be the model for the color black.

Everyone waiting for the smile to crack.

I often find myself speaking to impress.

Choosing my words like a game of chess.

A game where the pieces are black and white-

both colors waiting for the fight.

Plucking away the each pawn to reach the king.

It always starts as such a trivial thing.

But when the white always wins and the black gets plucked away,

the once trivial game is less fun to play.

Once all the pawns slowly disappear,

the rook, knight and bishop begin to fear.

Once the black starts to speak,

their future seems less bleak.

Everyday, the colors take aim,

            no one wins until the teams are the same.

In this essay it is only a game.

In my life, black is synonymous with my name.


 I am the voice for those who lost theirs.

Those shot down in the streets, pulling bullets from their hair.

My lungs fill with prayers for the departed.

I carry the torch from the fire they started.

Every scholar wants to change the world, so why is my voice unique?

I once choked on advocacy, now I choose to speak.

What truly makes me different is not the color of my skin.

It is the story that lies within.

I crave a college where I can be me.

Where my skin isn’t the only beautiful color people see.

A school can give me the microphone.

I will never again feel my voice is alone.

My hands are as black as the shadows of the trees at night.

With those dark hands I will sculpt a future that is bright.


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