Obama was crap

Oprah was crap

Rap was crap

Hyper-glamourized gospel choir was crap

Black men were crap

North Minneapolis was crap

Fried chicken was good

Along with hot-dish

Along with suburbs

Along with mega-churches

Along with eating out

Along with Johnny Cash

Along with Chuck Norris

Along with blond-hair, blue-eyed Jesus

Unlike Moesha

Or Family Matters

Or The Cosby Show

Or Beyonce 

Or Kirk Franklin

Or spoken word

Or box braids

Or ebonics

Or laughing with your whole body

Or telling the same stories over and over trying to find a different ending —

Reader, I was raised by a white man.

And if you're unaware, I'm a yellow -

I mean negro -

I mean colored -

I mean black...


Ugh, no I mean gal

No, no I mean lady

I mean, woman.

Born in the thick of stereotype and baby mama drama,

I was destined for setback

She was trying 

Succeeding, rather; doing well

Single mom, homeowner, early twenties —

On her way.

That is, until, my 6-year old cries for ‘daddy’ became more than her melanin wrapped bones could bear

That is, until, my 6-year old cries for ‘father’ became more than seeing a man -

I mean guy -

I mean boy -

I mean, person...

once a week.

That is, until, my 6 year-old cries for ‘family’ became ghost and haunted her dreams until she could figure out a way for them to become framed on living room walls, and then --

She met him.

Light hair,

blue eyed,

Pale skinned —




Safe —

A believer.

They wed.

A 2005 conversation with my aunt would leave me forever scarred:

I asked her for something to drink

Water, she said, from the kitchen 

Ooo.. with a snarky face, I made; “I don’t drink tap”

I’ll never forget the way she looked me up and down, did that laugh that wasn’t a laugh, and declared:

You’re becoming like them

My 8 year old self found that to be inconsiderate, and, frankly, rude.

Almost 15 years later I’m scared to admit she was telling the truth:

In more ways than the one.

I was raised by a white man; not inherently bad, but, let’s consider: 

I transitioned within weeks from seeing black faces left and right

In church, school, playground and family

To being the only face within miles -

except mommy's

And suddenly -- progressively, rather

Melanin became curse

I hated defending the dignity of my skin and upholding an entire race at the age of 10

So when that country boy looked me in the eyes and declared, nigger, I laughed a laugh that wasn’t a laugh and kept on my way

Or at my first day

At an all-white school

When that one kid on the playground asked if I minded racist jokes; 

(Reader, I’d heard stories of being the piece of poop in a field of snow. Speaking up doesn't end well. So I bit my tongue.)

No, in fact I like making them myself

I spent the next year listening to their jokes

'How many white people does it take to screw in a lightbulb?'

I don't know, how many?

'None! They get a nigger to do it!'

Hahaha good one, I laughed a laugh that wasn’t a laugh and, biting my tongue, went on my way

Within a few years, I became immune to ignorance

I learned to walk past micro aggressions 

And not think twice about racism as ‘historic’ and ‘non existent’.

Not only did I become immune, I became, in the realest sense,


To protect myself

To fit in

To have a decent chance at being invited to that party

(I never was)

So I’d let them pour literal shit in my water bottle 

And make fun of the ghetto blacks we were playing against

All to be patted on the back and be reaffirmed that you're not really black, though. You're just like us!

So I'd laugh a laugh that wasn't a laugh and, biting my tongue, go on my way

So to this white man that led me into adulthood,

I wish you’d taught me that my blackness was not curse

That pastors can exist as more than that of Caucasian men

That its inhumane and wrong to deem black men Satan

That Obama’s presidency was and is and will forever be a crazy insane landmark that we ought have celebrated, not mourned

That my hair was beautiful and didn’t need to be straightened

That women can exist as more than their husbands’ submissive

That when Trayvon Martin died, a part of you did too

But you didn't, 

Because it didn't 

When I wasn’t asked to prom, I wish you’d have said nothing.

That you’d known 'its probably because you’re too tall and dark'

Wasn’t comfort

But, to this white man that led me into adulthood, let me say:

By knowing you I've beaten teenage pregnancy

By knowing you I've graduated high school and am traveling the world

By knowing you I’ve seen 50 year marriages, Swedish museums and recipes from small-town Lutheran Church cookbooks

There's plenty for which to be grateful.

But, truly, I need you to know one thing:

You didn’t save me.

Kept quiet throughout this poem was a woman standing next to you.

It was hard for her, albeit, as I found your words Gospel.

After all, you reflected the hero in my history books.

So to this black woman that, too, led me into adulthood,

The reason I’ve beaten teenage pregnancy

The reason I’ve graduated high school and am traveling the world

The reason I’ve heard 50 year old stories, secrets while braiding on the stoop and memorized recipes from grandma’s kitchen

Know that you’re the reason I’m standing.

With scratches,


and a dented backbone, but

standing nonetheless 

Being a black woman, wife and mother, I saw

That presenting an image of strength became habit

That suppressing emotions became expectation

That needing help from others led you to feel weak

That you were always motivated to succeed even when resources said otherwise

That caring for yourself before others screamed selfish

I'm not sure these are always good things

Truth is I’m confused; a mixed identity inside a yellow -

I mean negro -

I mean colored -

Dammit I mean black


But I’m learning. 

And forgiving. 

And growing.

I guess sometimes my story feels like an unknown scar

But I’m slowly realizing:

Whose isn’t?

-raygen samone