Read Poetry: Am I Really Black?, by Rose Cockerham

Am I Really Black?

Sometimes other people around the block ask me “What are you?”

At first, I want to respond in a smart-ass way by saying something like,

“Oh, I’m a human, what are YOU?”

But just end up saying, “I’m Black”.

And of course, all the years of questioning has got me questioning,

Am I really Black?

Well, this morning, I decided to moisturize and style my hair with olive oil,

But I’ve always used either relaxers or quick weaves;

The other day, I bought KFC for lunch,

But threw away the bag with the logo and hid the Chicken Little sandwiches in my purse before I went into work.

Whenever one of my white co-workers tells a story, I have to force out a chuckle because I simply cannot relate,

Yet I’m probably the only Black person who thinks that the “Martin” show isn’t that funny.

What makes a Black person REALLY Black?

Is it the level of richness of their skin tone, or type of culture they grew up in?

This must be the sequel series to the ‘nature versus nurture’ question.

Despite my exterior shade,

I’ve had many moments of crushing on men who were

Chocolate, both dark & milk.

Whenever I can support a Black Business, I do.

I’ve watched Poetic Justice, Love Jones, and all three Friday movies on repeat ever since high school.

I’ve just began to realize the delacy of squirting siracha on ramen noodles.

Some of my inspirational women include Rihanna, Gabrielle Union, and the late Dr. Angelou. To this day, it still feels like she could’ve been my play-grandma.

I play RnB and hip hop on the daily,

And I take pride in being a Black woman of God before anything else.

But….on the flipside,

I receive assumptions that I MUST be mixed with either Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, or even Samoan if my cheeks look plumpy enough.

I’ve been told that I act like such an “oreo”, or I speak too properly, or I surprisingly get good grades, or simply put, I just don’t act Black.

I’ve never got into a fist fight in school,

The only time I say the ‘N’ word is when I’m repeating a Dave Chappelle skit at home,

Or pissed at other driver’s maneuvering skills from the inside of my car.

I don’t want to use that word to casually describe my own beautiful people. Why in the hell WOULD I?

I never smoked weed, and don’t really intend to;

I actually enjoy eating both pumpkin AND sweet potato pie;

And with the risk of being burned at the stake, I never liked mac n’ cheese.

Based on my parents’ color and lineage, there is no doubt there were a few cups of rich, black soil sprinkled on land to grow the family tree which stands today.

But I honestly don’t feel like proving my level of blackness, or brownness, or down-ness to those who are fixated on dividing our own people.

So, Am I Really Black?

Heritage-wise: Yes

Culture-wise: Meh.

Me-wise: Duh.


Author: poetryfest

Submit your Poetry to the Festival. Three Options: 1) To post. 2) To have performed by an actor 3) To be made into a film.

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