Voice From the Back of the Room

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 12:26 -- jforc
But you don’t act black.
I’m sorry but I don’t understand, am I supposed to
Listen to rap music, shuck and jive for you, enthuse about thug life?
Did you expect me to be what you call ‘ghetto’? 
Perhaps this is a compliment, your approval of my behavior, but
Am I not supposed to be in this class with you?
Should I just grow accustomed, and
Hide the discomfort of being the lone black sheep in the herd?
Just remain an invisible man in this whitewashed room. 
 
So you want to go to Yale, you’ll most likely get in.
Why do you say that?
You know.
I know? Is it because I’m welfare-stricken in Harlem? A basketball expert?
I know?
Yet, I don’t. Am I any different from you? Do you think so little of me
That you feel I need a head start? 
That I’m a victim reaching for your helping hand?
But should I allow myself to be stigmatized,
Abandon the teachings of Du Bois, Cobb, and Malcolm,
And simply nod my head and comply in the affirmative?
 
 
Or do you think that I’m a sell-out?
A traitor to my own kind because I refuse 
To be seen as a cymbal-banging monkey toy, or as a happy-go-lucky minstrel?
Do I not have cotton soft hair, or full lips, or a thick nose? 
Or do you just want me to stoop myself down to fit the quota? 
Sometimes I wonder if when you compare me to Carlton or Urkel
I should be flattered, or be disappointed that I didn’t get Jay Z or Kanye,
Then again, to me, it’s all by the same token.
 

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