Who Am I?
am every black woman who has ever been raped,
I am every black woman who has
ever been murdered,
I am every black woman who has ever been called a "nigger",
am every black woman who has ever been called a "slut".
racism is not as sexually specific as you might imagine. When the racists are
out there, they're not too worried about gender. And my response to that is,
well, it's probably predictable. When you see me, you ought to know I am also
Every black man who's ever been whipped and beaten
black man who's been strung up in a cell
Every black youth turned down for
And every black boy conforming all the closed doors
am every black boy who has seen his mother raped, I am every black girl who has
seen her father arrested and humiliated, I am every black child taken away from
But that's not all I am, I am not only the
victim that white society has made me.
I am every black
woman who has ever been loved -
Lain the night through in sensual caring arms
And every black girl who has ever flirted,
And has danced, and known
the wind and the rain
On her skin and in her hair.
am the woman of mystery at night.
My eyes, too, peep from under the brim of
my pert hat
Silk swirls loose and colorfully around me
The scent of flowers
lingers in my footsteps.
My low cut black negligee is worn
from use -
And see my scabby knees from climbing trees
The fine-tooth comb
dragged nits from my hair
And my back is bent from scrubbing floors
am every black man come in from a successful hunt
- bought joy and survival
to my family in need -
Have carried my woman across water too dirty/too deep
every black man in communion with God
I have known both
lust and passion
And murderous deeds I have done
I have caught the blood-wet
baby as it fell
From its safe place in the womb
not merely who you want - or need - me to be. Racism does not shape my every movement,
does not prevent me from feeling trickling sand move beneath my feet or sun beating
warmly on my shoulders.
I am humble
I am every black
person who has ever been wrong,
Who has ever said "sorry", who has
ever felt stupid,
Who has lost their way home/forgotten where they parked their
car/or arrived at the shop and not remembered what they came for.
am every black parent
My child has won his race/come top in her exam/been the
beauty queen at the ball
Or become a yuppie professional.
course, my child has also - been arrested/overdosed on drugs/been found hanging
in a cell/been shot in his bed/come home unwed and pregnant - but that's not all
I have seen the lights, the min-min lights,
spent a lifetime around a campfire,
Huddled intimately over candle-lit dinner,
watched bushfire eat trees and people.
I am a successful
liar - I have to be
In order to be a politician
And a successful thief -
to steal back
That which has been stolen from me.
I am a land rights advocate,
an equal rights supporter,
A global citizen and a human rights endorser.
I've been alive long enough to know
That - to be all these things, and live...
have also had to be black and proud and strong.