By: Corinthia W.Y. Aiken

Ignorant, Ill-mannered, Loud, Obnoxious, Ghetto, Uneducated

But a short list of what you, society have dictated

I be

But society, don't you see?

I am better than you will ever know.

If you'll just let me grow and glow

Don't judge me based on the pigmentation of my skin

Let me rise and fly and begin

The journey toward my vision.

Allow me to break free from the chains of oppression

Break free from the chains of racism and stereotypes

Allow me to strive for the life I was promised in the Bill of Rights

I'm struggling to reach the skies

Because you keep trying to hold me down with your lies

Under the oppression of your racial profiling

I feel like I'm dying

You won't stop trying to destroy me

Because you resent my ethnicity

Has it never occurred to you

I deserve better than you say I do

All you see is the color of my skin

Not the person within

I kicked and punched and screamed

And fought for what I dreamed

I stood my ground

And refused to be bound

My mind was set

I would not fret

I could do anything,

Be something

Then your thoughts became my thoughts

I was finally caught

Entangled in your embrace of hate

My body told me to fight, but my mind said it was too late

I suddenly became nothing, worthless, a failure, dreamless

I was lifeless, sightless and hopeless

My dream was just that a dream and nothing to believe in

Just another fight I could not win

I was no longer me,

But what you said I should be.

My life was a walking nightmare

Being lived based on fear

Everything shadowed by hate

Was what determined my fate

I was living the life of a stereotype

But still refused to fight

Life was but a trace

Leaving a bitter aftertaste

The race I was running wasn’t even for me

But for you society

Then I heard someone say

There’s a different way

I came to understand

The issue at hand

You were trying to kill me with your lies

Because you didn’t want to see me rise

But no matter what you say or do

I will not succumb to you

You see my race

When you look in my face

But I see the spirit of everyone

That has fought and won

I was once in a defeated state

Because I listened to your statements of hate

Society you may try to kill me with your bitter twisted lies

But still like dust I’ll rise

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Entering a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I am making my own destiny

Not based on my ethnicity

I am no longer the same

My spirit will not be tamed
Because I am not dreamless or worthless,

I am not sightless or hopeless,

I am not ignorant or ill-mannered,

I am not standard.

I am educated and sophisticated
No longer what you have dictated;
Your hate isn’t even towards me

It’s just the reaction you have towards my ethnicity.