The Meaning

April 4, 2017

“Racism is not about how you look, it’s about how people assign meaning to how you look” – Robin D. G. Kelley, historian



What does my skin mean to you?
Does the dark pigmentation of my body
Mean that I am not as intelligent as you?
Mean that the brain inside my head does not have
The same potential?
The same capacity for knowledge?
Mean that I cannot think or dream like you?
Does the distribution of keratinocytes inside me
Mean that I am inferior to you?
Mean that I am less human, less alive?
Mean that I should be considered property?
Mean that I should be enslaved?
Does the amount of melanin in my skin
Mean that I should be assumed
To be rowdy and loud and bigmouthed?
Mean that I am angry and wanna start a fight?
Mean that I deserved to be called a n---?
Does the brown shade of my skin
Mean that you have the right to beat me?
Mean that my arrest needs to turn into a murder?
Mean that I cannot wear my hood up?
Mean that I cannot walk down the street?
Does the dark pigmentation of my body
Mean that I cannot love your white son?
Mean that I cannot be friends with your white daughter?
Does it mean that my blood is different?
That my heart does not beat the same beat as yours?
What does my skin mean to you?
I know what it means to me
It means I am strong
I am smart
I am beautiful
I am powerful
I am worthy of life
I am worthy of love
I am a phenomenal
I am unstoppable
I am me.

Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

SpeakerofWolvesThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 8 at 9:09 pm
So beautiful, truly a poem that can portray the belief of the Civil Rights Movement. Keep up the amazing work!
hwoodruff98 said...
Apr. 8 at 3:56 pm
I can really see the emotion behind this piece, and I think it would do well in a spoken word competition.
TheNerdyGirl said...
Apr. 7 at 2:40 pm
I like how you end with "I am me" :) Never let others label you!
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback