This is for Jasmine
for when you bubble and boil at the sword sharp words of others.
Privilege is not their crime unless they’re persistent to be blind to it.
This is for you, when whipped with canes of their ignorance.
I wish I could protect you.
Mandate that every person who claims
you are addicted to racial issues take a class called:
Let It All Out Privilege Folks 101
So you don’t have to listen to the painful
curiosity they call innocent.
I wish I were there to give you a hug.
We could take a kickboxing class together
and silently beat the millions of micro-aggressions
that make our wrists hurt as well as our minds. If I had a
blood diamond for every time someone told me
I was intelligent and sounded white.
I would be filthy and rich.
I wish I could tell you it gets better.
Sell you on some post-racial society.
But seeing as this is happening at your college
as well as mine, I wouldn’t dare lie to family.
Instead I will tell you the truth. It gets worst.
The normative world is not going to pay you
one black cent for educating the masses.
But they will pay you billions
for holding those resentments.
I wish your biracial skin could pass
so you wouldn’t have to nudge through
other people’s explanations of you.
But your hair speaks a language the other half cannot.
My hair– even braided up– causes controversy.
They assume I can do their heads as well,
gape and touch it like a discovery,
something to be documented with fingertips
Nigga-saying (it’s in the song so I can say it),
and ignorance for ignorance’s sake
hold such a rhythm by itself.
You wonder why we poets even bother.
It could stand on its own like a song
So played out. How tiring is it to say that we are tired.
I wish this poem could tell you something different.
Deny your experiences as isolated or pass a bill that my
Let It All Out Privilege Folks 101 class be mandatory
at every PWC in the country. But reality is the one thing
that doesn’t taste sweeter the darker it gets.
Leave the ignorance. Take their education.
The stronger we get, they will have no choice but to listen.