Black Is


Black is defined as the very darkest color owing to the complete absence or absorption of light

Black is the opposite of white

Black is people asking if your hair is a weave and a line of people waiting to touch it

Black is people asking if you can get sunburned or bruises and being surprised when you say yes

Black is being pretty, “for a black girl”

Black is being told that because I dress or speak a certain way that I am “the right amount of black” or “not black at all”

Black is being told that I should be proud of that

Black is being the token friend so your acquaintances can say they have at least one

Black is being singles out when you dare to enter a convenience store

Black is whistling Vivaldi as if it’ll save you

Black is Emit Till’s whistle that didn’t save him

Black is his body being dredged from a lake still tied to the cotton gin

Black is buying skittles and wishing it was the weapon they claim you had

Black is a pavement grave, a eulogy written in blood and spoken in a mother wails

Black is wearing hoodies like warning labels, saying “clutch your purse tighter” and “if approached, shoot first and ask questions later”

Black is wearing your skin like a target on your back

Black is wearing YOUR SKIN like a TARGET on your back

Black is wondering if you’ll see your family again at Christmas

Black is like swimming in shark infested waters and the fact that “not all sharks” would be the one to take your life won’t guarantee your survival

Black is a trail of bodies they left to guide us home

Black is not always knowing where home is

But do not misunderstand my words

Black is not, nor will it ever be synonymous with evil, or monstrous, or less than

Black is beautiful

Black is the night that gives birth to the stars

Black is nappy hair and smiles like an African sun

Black is my grandmothers laugh that I can still hear if I just stop and listen

Black is the way my father can code switch at the drop of a hat

Black is unwavering, an unbreakable will

Black is all encompassing, it’s everything they wish they could be and they will never take that away from us

Because we are black enough to eclipse their sun


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