I've got a confession to make.
If you asked any of my friends who I am
They'd probably tell you that I was born in Sharpie marker
Black of course; an attempt to cover the fact
That I am the whitest black girl you will ever meet in your life.
They'll tell you that I am mother hen to the world
And that my racist jokes are hilarious.
Just kidding...my jokes suck.
I'm not racist, either.
I just tend not to appreciate this Sharpie marker color
Because of the police two houses down every night
Screaming at the black drug dealers who can't catch a break
Or the comments like "Oh my goodness we never expected you to be so talented!" from the old white ladies at my church
Or the fact that I am plastered on every newspaper, video, honors list, awards ceremony, and welcome back assembly program my school has to offer because I am their
African American success story.
And God knows I don't want this.
He was there the time I was 7,
Attempting to take a bath in rubbing alcohol
Because if it took off dirt it could take off color, right?
Unfortunately, the label "permanent marker" wasn't a lie.
God feels the burn marks on my Bible from my hair straightner
As I pray for him to take the "nappy" away
And I'm sure you've heard this all before:
This is another black girl body image poem, right?
This is a poem about finding myself
in the dark parts of a race
I should be proud to call my own but its collective behavior
Has driven me away from heritage and toward perfection
For fear of judgement.
The first time I ever heard an African American child
Call his best friend the N word without consequence
I was shocked, but mostly I was hurt.
Because I knew that if my Grandmother ever heard me say it
She'd raise her hand...and run it through her hair.
Shake her head. Call me a disappointment.
Maybe even take my phone for a week.
The world I live in expects different;
A belt in hand, fire in her eyes, and a sore bottom by bedtime.
But I'm learning to accept that my family is different
And that I was raised to combat the Sharpie I was drenched in.
So I guess this is my acceptance speech.
Every nationality, every heritage has its stereotype
Has its racist joke, has its issues
And every single one of us cringes away from our own
In the attempt to fulfill the "criteria" of another
But too many of us have also learned far too late
That diversity makes us AMAZING and if we're a bit different
That does not rub off the skin we were born in.
It just adds to the magic of it all.
The magic that we've failed to grasp,
That we no longer believe in.
So, no this is not a body image poem
Or a finding myself poem
Or even an acceptance speech.
This is the harsh reality of it all.
And it's a shame
That no one cares enough to change.
What a hypocrite I am...
Neither do I.