Just a word

On Tuesday night, along with my poetry troupe SISTAHS, I attended an open mic sponsored by campus entertainment.  Just an opportunity for us to perform as we prepare for our own show and to open for the Great Nikki Giovanni (yes, I’m too excited for words!).  If anybody has fooled themselves with the illusion that racism in Amerikkka has not trickled down to the younger generations, let me be the one to pull the wool from over your eyes.  It has not.  Three comedians (at least that’s what they called themselves) took to the stage back to back and displayed an overwhelmingly sickening amount of stereotypical drivel that would have inspired the fox news pundits to orgasmic elation.  I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, this is a Predominantly white institution, yet I was surprised.  It was such that I, and several other people (of many races) got up and walked out.  Since I am a poet, this is my response to the evening:

I was born in 1963 when jim crow still ruled the south

and the segregated schools we attended were called training

because they didn’t believe we could be educated

so, no matter how many times people who look like me use it

or people who don’t look like me imply it

it’s not just a word to me.


It’s a label designed to strip me of my humanity

to comfort you with the secret belief that you’re better than me

it’s a line in the sand that says don’t sit here, don’t eat here, don’t go to school here

it’s the carefully cut traced outline of my foot so that  i could “try on” shoes in downtown Wilmington


it’s my father being called boy and my mother being called gal

as if they were in capable of reaching adulthood

it’s a kid carrying skittles and tea being gunned down in the rain

because he was wearing a hood


it’s hundreds of paperclips in a jar masquerading as a voting test

it’s the denial of the american dream that prompted the march on washington

it’s Dr. King in a pool of blood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel

it’s the open-casketed, unrecognizable remains of Emmit Till


it’s the understanding of the origins of the word picnic, playing the dozens and memorial day

If you don’t know what I’m talking about you can google it  (by the way)

it’s not being so far removed from the movement

that i’m blinded to it’s improvements


so you can think that you’re a comedian because you can

remix fox news rehtoric with the lingo of today, but I’m not fooled

I can see what’s behind your laughter and your lack of understanding of my culture

and you can say it’s just a word and it doesn’t mean a thing

but I wasn’t born yesterday.

I was born in 1963 when jim crow was king

it will NEVER be just a word to me.

drp 2013


~ by Diva2de on September 12, 2013.

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