Speak Up or Comply, You Decide

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 19:52 -- Kayla A

 

I feel the warmest when I’m surrounded by my family

We live life as if there’s no limitations despite the fact that there are so many

 

Living for the strong aroma of smoke coming out of the barbecue

All you hear is laughter and all you see is the people starting to line up as grandma sets out the food

Mash potatoes, mac and cheese, fried chicken, potato salad and collard greens

 

Mom starts the cha cha slide

Tongues are stained with kool-aid

Uncle Russell piles thirds on his place

No one's surprise that Auntie Tre is a hour late

 

Adults play poker and swear no alcohol is in there drinks

But the children are smarter than they think

Precious moments like this make you too scared to blink

 

Box braids, afros, weaves and wigs sway to the sweet sounds of r&b throughout the day

At night, heads are wrapped in silk scarves because ruining our hair is too big of a price to pay

 

A painful history binds us together

But thankfully, we are exactly that

Together

 

But this warm feeling can quickly transform into coldness

 

Suddenly the kids at school see me as strange

The place I live is considered too dangerous to have my friends over

I’ve become embarrassed of what’s shaped me into who I am

 

My natural hair is seen as too nappy

I conform to their standards of beauty and straighten my hair

As if getting rid of the naps are the solution to all the dirty glares

 

I’ve been asked questions that are both inconsiderate and subtly racist

Sadly, the moments where using my voice matters most, I feel silenced

Contributing to the problem by being complaint

 

Forcing myself to take on the label on being smart because anything is better than the angry black women stereotype

 

This version of me doesn’t eat soul food, listen to r&b, or use slang

This version of me isn’t me

 

I want to live unapologetically in my blackness

I am not ashamed to be the black cup of coffee stirred just enough to give you that bittersweet taste

The piece of dark chocolate that you crave all throughout the day

 

But I’m tired

Tired of my people not getting the recognition they deserve

Tired of being denied the rightful title of a human being

Tired of being terrified everytime I turn on the news or pass by a police car

Tired of being told that I act white when I am more than capable of succeeding in my own skin

 

Like a light switch, I flip between two worlds

This process is dreary and confusing

Can I embrace my culture? Do I have to assimilate? I feel like I shouldn’t have to be choosing

 

Even if my body trembles, my voice shakes and my words stutter

I’d rather use my voice in the face of adversity no matter how negative the consequences, then let all these past sacrifices go overlooked

 

You can destroy wood and brick, but you can’t destroy a movement

Our voices matter, our dreams matter, our lives matter and we can prove it

 

This poem is about: 
Me
My family
My community
Our world

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