What is the best I can hope for?
A seat at the table with those who look down upon me?
If I speak and dress eloquently I will somehow be acceptable?
Acceptable enough for compliments such as
“You’re so pretty for a black girl”
“You speak so well for a black girl”
“What are you mixed with it’s beautiful”
“You’re not like those other black girls”
Acceptable enough to sit
Acceptable enough to nod politely
Acceptable enough for them to steal my words and my work.
How has that ever been enough?
Can I not simply be a beautiful young woman?
Can I not simply be smart?
Can I not simply be known for my effort and good work?
Why am I always the exception to my race?
Why do I have to be reminded I am present by the simple grace of my caucasian counterparts?
Why do I have to be reminded I am less than?
Why do I have to be reminded what a ghetto little negro I am and what my ancestry once was to them?
To them, I am a diversity rate.
To them, I am the token black friend.
To them, I am the butt of a joke,
To them, I’m the n-word pass
To them, I’m the invitation to the cookout
To them, I’m a statistic
To them, I’m an exotic hairstyle
To them, I’m just ghetto
To them, I’m just another angry black girl who speaks to much
To them, I will never be enough
And for me, that is far from acceptable anymore.
So no Brenda I’m not from Oakland.
No Jennifer I will not do your white daughter’s hair in corn-rows.
No Chad it is not appropriate for you to say the n-word.
No Karen it is never okay for you to touch my hair, ever
No Michael, I'm sorry I've never met the random black person you're talking about
And no it is not okay for you to interrupt me in a board meeting.
And yes, you will catch these hands.
Because your version will never be enough for me.
And I am speaking.
So you will listen.