I am My own Shade of Brown

October 27, 2011
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What am I supposed to do?
What am I supposed to prove?
This right here; this is me.
How can I possibly convince you that what I say is real,
If it’s not already obvious?
What characteristic do I lack that completes your status quo of black?
I am so perplexed…or is it that?
Does your stomach churn as you digest my success?
Does your mind spin off its axel
When I describe my vocabulary as gargantuan?
If so, then I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that I’d rather make ecstatic faces instead of indignant ones.
I’m sorry that my sass is too bougie or not bougie enough.
I’m sorry that I don’t turn ghetto fabulous when I’m pissed
Or don’t twerk my hips every single time a “bootylicious” song comes on.
And I’m sorry that you dislike it.
I’m sorry that I’d rather press my nose into a book
Instead of pressing my butt against a stranger’s groin.
I’m sorry that I except pencil and paper
Faster than a Trojan condom.
And I’m sorry that I’d rather grip a diploma
Instead of a positive pregnancy test.
I’m so sorry
If I turn right when
You turn left onto your dirt road
With no outlet.
But I am not sorry for who and how I am,
And that makes me no less black than you.
I am Shanita Ariona Monique Jackson, and I was born from
The womb of the womb of the womb of the woman
Whose great-great-great grandmother’s great-grandmother’s grandmother shuffled
While shackled
Off that Middle Passage Hell
And emerged into a world where pale skin
Didn’t absorb the sun’s energy into its melanin cells,
But rejected it.
And My God,
If that sun baked, copper toned, crimson whelped skin
Ain’t root-tipped black,
Then what is?
In my book, I don’t think anyone holds the right to tell someone else that they’re no what God made them.
In my book, we are all the same under our skin.
In my book, I am whatever color I see bouncing off that light-projected image in the mirror
But unfortunately, my book was never published.
And your book became a best-seller.
So stand to me and tell me what I’m lacking.
Tell me what I don’t know.
Tell me what I’ve been missing since day one!
See, I could rant and rave
About how technically I am
1/16 Black Hawk Indian
1/32 Caucasian
99.9% African American
And 100% human.
But that’s useless because
No matter what I say or do,
I will never be black enough for you.
Since you know so much,
Tell me why I’ve been an Oreo all my life.
Proceed with your analysis on what shade of brown I am.
Go ahead. I’m listening.
I’m waiting.
And I’ve been waiting
For 15 years.

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