Dear black students,
you put your fists up in the air
chant “black power” and preach about how black lives matter
but you will still draw white chalk lines between yourselves
tell each other you are not black enough
if your skin is too amber, too honey
but black men will still want women
lighter than their mothers,
lighter than their sisters
Young Latinas will wait on you hand and foot if you are caramel as their frappuccinos,
with colored eyes that have tints of blue and specks green that remind them of rolled joints, Heineken bottles and money they don’t have
and they will tell you they want light skinned, colored eyed babies
before they can even tell you what they want to major in
yet you will call your own worse than those more privileged than you for being too black that they disappear into the darkness
Criticize your women when their weave isn’t Brazilian or Indian
but put them on a pedestal if it’s “white” enough
shame them when they are confident enough to show off their real hair
And the only compliments they will know growing up is how they are "pretty for a black girl."
Dear people who say they want to have light skinned babies,
where were you in biology class?
Is the concept of recessive and dominant genes so difficult to fathom?
That you cannot predict the skin color of a mixed child?
I hope your child's eyes are darker than the blood that is spilled on our streets.
With ethereal skin, dark and rich as the earth in which King was buried in
Dear white America that appropriates just about anything,
You are just everywhere aren't you?
Prancing around Olvera Street in search of something "ethnic"
a bindi on your forehead,
crop top with ironic statements,
poetic justice braids,
you call it aesthetics
But that “exotic” shirt on your back sewn by my Mexican and Native brothers and sisters does not belong to you.
And you are so used taking things and claiming it yours.
Put a hashtag on everything, “Bring back OUR girls”
as if you haven’t taken enough.
Society disses people of color but will want to look for our features in someone white.
You take our bodies, our hair, our style
on us it’s ghetto, ugly, it makes others uncomfortable
But it’s chic, it’s trendy, it’s new, on you.
And then when I call you out on it,
you’ll call me a reverse racist and go on to blog about your day.
I just gave a lesson in biology, so here’s one in privilege
Racism is based on a system of oppression.
You cannot oppress the oppressor.
Dear current generation,
You tune out the discussions in your history and American government classes about the current events,
refuse to join into the conversation, refuse to understand,
but bring up a debate on why marijuana should be legal and suddenly everybody begins to itch. But no,
you continue to stare blankly at your Instagram feed,
turn up the volume in your earphones,
then have the audacity to say,
“Why should I care? it doesn’t affect me, this isn’t my problem.”
There are women too scared to walk down a street alone in fear of being catcalled, being told that she was “asking for it,” yelling “fire” because no one will ever respond to “rape”
There are young colored boys too scared to walk down a street alone in fear of being questioned because of the skin they were born with, being frisked, yelling, “don’t shoot” but still feeling the bullet.
Your own kin are being thrown back across borders everyday.
Your own kin are being killed every second of the day.
People in the communities surrounding us
see our faces and the melanin of our skin,
see the hoods that we grow up in,
see the school that we go to
stick us under a stereotype, a statistic
and think we won’t make it anywhere in life besides the streets,
but you still say,
“This isn’t my problem”
Dear History Teachers,
We are taught about freedom,
but voices are silenced.
Words edited to fit pages with margins too thick, paper too thin.
They say that ideas are bulletproof but mine have been shot down too many times that the glass has shattered and my words are already bleeding.
You will want to worship someone, something, out of the norm
then those expressing their “freedom,” will deride it
turn a world against you
You see, people are so quick to defend problematic beliefs with “freedom”
So let’s turn the tables
believe it or not there are comics that make a mockery of 9/11
but how many do you think ripped up those pages?
So pull out your “freedom” card,
draw a comic about the Paris massacre,
and practice what you preach.
I ask you,
if it was your God,
would you still be pulling out Voltaire quotes?
no religion, no God, is ever violent yet we tie violence to faces
tie those faces to a religion and call it terrorism.
You say you are Charlie
But I am not Charlie.
Because I will not slander a religion so beautiful and call it a right.
It is all blasphemy.
You say you are Charlie, but you are part of the problem.
Call it what you will,
but all you are doing is terrorizing the freedom of others.
When you see an interracial couple hold hands
You joke around and say, "This is what MLK died for"
as if he chose to get murdered
I still can’t comfortably walk home with a boy at night
he pushes me to his left side so he can be the closest to the street
to keep me safe he says
but I still hold down the hem of my dress
still cover up my breasts
and prepare for the next stare, the next catcall
keep him in my peripheral vision, and I want to hold his hand to keep him safe too
but two oppressed people coming together is only double the trouble.
You would’ve turned 20, this year.
February marked 3 years
but you started fading after the 4th month
becoming another name on a list of slain black boys
another lyric in rapper’s verse
another hashtag white people felt obligated to tweet.
We worried more about a hood on a young black boy
rather than the white hoods that already exist
because let’s face it, if the KKK were any other color but white,
it would have been labeled a domestic terrorist organization and dismantled before it could even begin.
It’s been 60 years
It’s been 47 years
It’s been 8 years
It’s been 6 years
Dear Brandon Franchise Jackson,
It’s been 4 years
Dear Tyree, John, Michael, Dante, and Ezell,
It’s been 1 year
Dear Eric, Walter, and Freddie,
It’s been 5 months
Dear Sandra Bland,
We are still saying your name
I have had to update this poem several times.
Update how long it's been since a black body had passed,
Have had to add a new name
Dear next victim,
You make me count and recount all of my loved ones everyday.
And when I come up short, I count the bullet holes left behind.
Dear Dr. King,
I am sorry that we have turned your dream into a nightmare we have yet
to wake up from.