From being labeled as “too ghetto” to “not Black enough,” stereotypes all too often cloud perceptions and create misinformed judgements. Every Black person has their own unique experience.
Look at him.
That tall Black guy right there.
Well … “Black” guy.
He’s Black, but not really.
He’s muscular like us
And tall like us.
But his fashion sense?
He dresses like a white boy.
NorthFace and Vans?
I see what type of businesses he supports.
Have you heard him speak?
He sounds so white.
“Perhaps … additionally … suggests …”
Who is he trying to impress?
Because it’s not working on me.
Have you heard about his hobbies?
He doesn’t play basketball.
He doesn’t play football.
He likes to play … trumpet?
Have you seen his friends?
They’re all white.
It makes sense, I wouldn’t want to hang out
with an oreo either.
He stands out like a sore thumb.
He’s so much taller than them.
But once he opens up his mouth,
He’s not cool like we are.
Not as much natural swag.
Not as much apathy in his voice as in ours.
At least he found a group where he fits in.
Have you seen his girlfriend?
She’s white of course.
Vanilla and boring, how he likes it.
Turning his back on his own race.
Ruining the culture.
He’s trying to run away from his heritage.
Trying to destroy the ancestral line
that he came from.
He probably hates Black women.
Does he even love his own mother?
But I say
He’s just an egghead.
Probably just kisses up to the teacher.
Kisses up to the white man and conforms to
his standards of doing well.
Why can’t he be more like his older brother?
A basketball player.
The former president of a Black fraternity.
Someone that wears the title of “Black”
like a superhero cape
Instead of like irons around his ankles.
Why can’t he be more like me?
Why can’t he be like the rest of us
true Black people?
Secure within his own race
and not looking for an escape.
Maybe one day he’ll figure it out.
One day he’ll decide
to start being Black.
words_myles griffith. design_olivia ginsberg. photo_emebet deeter.
This article was published in Distraction’s fall 2020 print issue.