BY Naomi Zabasajja, 2:52pm April 03, 2014,

The Barriers That Exist Between Us Are Artificial

Black unity poems
The lives we live in are divided by our environment
The way the people around you act
The way the people around you think
But I thought even though we weren’t from the same place
That we weren’t all that different
You sat next to me in class and we shared jokes like friends do
You told me about the struggles from judgement you faced In school
Just like I do
But I didn’t know that somewhere in your brain
You saw me as different
When I could have sworn in the eyes of others
We were equal
You see my skin is as black as yours if not blacker
We both possessed a melanin-rich shade that reflected sunlight the way it was meant to in our homeland
We both had deep dark eyes that were trying to become immune to the stares we received from others who considered us different
We both had hair that coiled in knots that were too distinct from everybody else’s
They knew whom they belonged to
But even through all of those similarities and simultaneous characteristics we were adorned with
You could look me in the eye & use my own environment against me
Just a little far apart
Maybe because where you live has street corners
Where boys in the hood trade illicit goods and all mine have are the names of streets
Maybe because the color of the boys selling drugs in your park is different from the color of boys selling drugs in mine
Maybe because my stores are department and yours are corner
Maybe because the people around me aren’t so rich in melanin
Now their race is being pinned on me
How could you?
Want to deem me as deviant bc my words came out in proper English
Consider me an outsider because of my address
You know
I always knew that I felt different around urban Black kids
And suburban Black kids
No not different in the way that my skin shades
But different in how we simply weren’t the same
It was a bit of a game
You come from Master’s land, you use Master’s language
I suppose
But there’s no more Master
Just the educated and unintelligent
Yes, I know we’re not brought up the same
But no one knows our differences until we open our mouths
My mouth can utter slang and broken English that bounce off the cement of your apartment walls
Just as yours can articulate adjectives that bounce off concrete of my 3-story home
Apparently, my Blackness is questioned and overshadowed by my siblings who live in the urban world
Cuz I live in the suburban world
Well let’s see who cares about the sub in front of the urban
When the world confronts us with the words we heard for generations regardless of where we came from:
So don’t tell me my struggle was diluted
Even if the Whites may be more comfortable around me for my vernacular
You call it “spectacular”
But I look back to you
And say
Hey, Sister
Hey, Brother
Let’s blend shades of brown
And make one
No more differences
No more barriers or bridges that divide us
Cuz that’s the man’s plan
To mess up the minds of our kind
And tell us
You’re better because your words are bigger
Your diet is healthier
Your hair is straighter
Your skin isn’t as black as the average…whatever
Don’t make the White man comfortable
‘Cuz the opposition quakes in fear when the enemy bands
So take my hand
Let’s just call it a day and create One Love.

naomiNaomi Zabasajja (pictured) is a 16-year-old New Jersey native, the youngest of three girls, and the daughter of immigrant parents from Uganda. She attends high school & considers herself to be colorful and inquisitive.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: March 25, 2016


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