Black or Smart

Black or Smart

By Jasmine Harris

Choice
Told that I must make one
One with melinated hues such as myself
Coils so tight, “teeth so white” she said compare to my skin
Denoting that I must consistently lack the skills within
But I can shuffle, dance, and lack the k to all consonant ending sounds
Raised hand educated insights no longer their black face clown
She said, “How did she become so linguistically profound
Said it must have been a mistake and years of consistent practice
That made me mock certain attributes opposing my blackness
How can she read, write, dance, and lean?
How can she be a multifaceted dark skin queen?
No satisfaction in sensory materialistic wackness
The way I speak hypocrizes the look of me
Willie lynch letters “speak unless spoken to” “know your place” mentality hiding the key
scribed into the lashed on their backs, avoid education and the renewing of your mind can’t have us on the conscientious tracks
“Like she must think she’s better, meticulously pronouncing each letter”
They said I wasn’t one of them
Nicknamed me, “Miss wannabe white girl, Miss proper and prim”
I couldn’t change my skin nor my love to learn
A choice impossible to make
Guess I’m just another one of God’s black mistakes
Excuse me
May I borrow your white out?

Jasmine Harris is a secondary educator and published poet featured in the International Poetry Digest learning and living in Arkansas. She’s a certified wordsmith with a B.A. in Linguistics and currently enrolled in graduate school to further equity in education. Harris began writing during adolescence as a means to promote mental health. Author of, I May Have Been In My Feelings, focuses her writing on the diverse experiences and development of women and minorities. She aims to capture the climate of society. Her writing is soulful, honest, and witty. She perfects the process of modern emoting. Harris frequently quotes her inspirations as Maya Angelou, Ntozake Shange, and Tupac Shakur. She hopes to inspire and encourage the importance of self-care.

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