I Raised My Hand, Let Me Just Say Something

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Can I just say something?

About the time we were sitting

In history class with one of my magazines,

I had stopped on a picture of Rihanna

With fiery red hair. I personally thought

She looked cool, fierce, daring even.

Before I got a word in you proclaimed,

“I do not like her hair, I’m sorry

She is too Black for that.”

 

Can I just say something?

About the time we were talking 

In gym class and you were telling me

A story about the time you had a friend

Who “reminded me of you, you know,

Because you talk White…”

 

Can I just spit a little something? 

About the fact that if I wanted to rap 

(And I’m sure I darn well could

If I darn well pleased)

I don’t need you telling me,

“You’re not Black enough for that.”

 

Can I just state a little fact?

That if I’m sitting in my room

With my headphones on, plugged

Into the radio on my bed

after a long day of work, with a CD in hand

I definitely don’t need you

To barge in unannounced 

And ask “Are you listening to that White music?”

 

Can I just give a quick shout out?

To the Anita’s, Jamila’s, Keisha’s at the local Y,

Who had no qualms 

About calling me out

On my “whiteness”. 

I realize my proper sentence structure 

Must have frightened you because 

“Black girls don’t talk like that”, right?

 

Can I be a little honest?

And say at one point 

I believed you, so my words

Began to slur and my vocabulary

Invited slang to stay for a while.

Until I realized I was pretending

To be exactly what you wanted.

 

 

Can I just say something?

About the fact that you think

It is okay

To color me with your words,

To color me by your stereotypes,

To lead me into ignorance.

 

Can I just take a minute?

 

Can I just say something?

Let me just say something.

 

I am done asking for permission.

I refuse to be colored by your words

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