Thursday, July 24, 2008

Made for BLACKNESS (poem by ME)

This is a poem that I wrote a couple years ago and I wanted to share it with you guys. I thought this was appropriate for this week's discussion! So . . . enjoy! Peace out (until tomorrow)!

Made for Blackness
Poem by: Ashley McCann

What have I done wrong?
I guess I was born
Born Black
Held back and held down with the iron hand of my oppressor
You pickanini, tar baby, skillet, porch monkey
Nigger – ugly and less than
Ignorant and just plain stupid

But mothered your children and taught you how to season your food
My ignorance was my ticket
My ticket out of the hell you put me through
When I was hangin’ them clothes on the line and singin’ “Meet Me Down By the River”
I was organizing my freedom
My freedom to be black and to love it
‘Cause baby, I was made for BLACKNESS

For so long my skin was my sin
Something unfortunate; deemed a bitter end
But it became my fortune; my pride
I can look at my skin, and the texture of my extra-extra curly hair, my round lips and thick thighs
With honor, dignity, and love
This is who I am
A beautiful black woman

Looking at the old post cards, figurines, and statuettes of Aunt Jemima and black women made to serve their “superiors”
I fume, ache, and my eyes tear
Knowing what she went through just to survive
To survive
Then I look closer and I see the strength in her back
So that I could come along and stand on her shoulders
I look at that smile – plastered and fake
But behind that smile I read
If your dumb a** only knew how intelligent, clever, sage, and astute I really am
And if I got, you know my babies gon’ have it
‘Cause dey was made for BLACKNESS too
And don’t take my dialect as stupidity
I got away from you didn’t I?
I was made for BLACKNESS

And I come from good stock
Women that taught me that my being was necessary
Women like – Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Ella Baker, Mary McCleod Bethune, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Gwendolyn Brooks, Alice Walker, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Angela Davis, Zora Neale Hurston, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Augusta Savage
Articulate, proud, and BLACK

Joann Harriet McCann – my mama
Hannah Belle Butler – her mama
Viola McCann – my daddy’s mama
Strong, resilient, and BLACK

We were made for BLACKNESS
Yet you still inject your lips, lay out, and resort to silicone to make yourself look like me
All I can say is – I got it!
We’ve got it
And you don’t
Beautifully, fearfully, and wonderfully made for BLACKNESS

Being black is no longer my stigma
But my staple
My symbol that I’ve overcome
And will keep coming until you recognize who I am
I’m a woman
Intelligent, resilient, black
Strong, prideful, beautiful, and BLACK
A BLACK woman

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