Poem: On Being Both Black And White
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Politics and Activism

Poem: On Being Both Black And White

What is race anyway?

Poem: On Being Both Black And White
Brooke Swift

I wish I could say that something like this could die.

That one day black and white could be synonymous.

But after all this time I think it's become obvious,

That something like this can not die.

Because black and white are not synonymous.

You don't get the looks I get,

When I walk to the store in a hoodie at night

Or the wide gripping eyes my brother gets when he walks by a woman with a purse in her hands.

Or when I say I go to a prestigious school,

And they give me eyes that don't understand

But when I say I also play basketball there...

They smile and laugh and chuckle and relief sets into their eyes

That it ALL makes sense now.

My mother is white.

But she is not oblivious.

She is not ignorant, she does not see the differences...

But the similarities.

She knew her daughter would be black no matter how white her blood was.

She knew with her dark features...

That her blood wasn't that white at all.

That no ones blood is THAT white.

But I can't prove it.

My ancestors names only exist in the wind.

Their voices only exist in the walnut trees.

Their smiles only exist in negro spirituals.

Their skin burned in the fire.

Their faces still hanging on the ropes.

Their blood in the soil of the cities they built... On whips that cracked everything but their souls.

I can't tell you the name of my great great great grandfather because according to this world

He didn't exist.

He wasn't a person.

Black and white will never be synonymous.

But like anything good in this world...

They will disappear.

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