I always try to keep from writing personal pieces on here but today this was just weighing heavy on me so I thought I would share.
I Am the Black Child
I am special, ridicule, cannot sway meI am strong, obstacles cannot stop meI hold my head high, proudly proclaimingmy uniquenessI hold my pace, continuing forward throughadversityI am proud of my culture and my heritageI am confident that I can achieve my everygoalI am becoming all that I can beI am the black child, I am the child of God.
When I was younger, my parents removed me out of the school district I was in to enroll me in a private school in East Saint Louis, IL named Crossroads Preparatory Academy. I am forever grateful that they did. The director of the school, Ms. Willie Mae Cross, made us recite that poem by Mychal Wynn every week. As I look back now I think about how eloquent these words flowed out of our mouths. Kids from ages 2-6 spoke these words with such diction and confidence. It wasn’t until I transferred back to district 10 in Collinsville, IL that I realized that I needed to remember that poem for all of the obstacles ahead.
I became the only black child in the district’s elementary honors program when I was in second grade. I was looked at as strange and treated differently. I would always be picked last to be on teams when we had to separate into groups. One day during lunch, two girls in my class spit in my food because they thought it would be funny. I had to remember that poem so I would keep my head up high. I continued to be the only black student in my classes until 8th grade.
I had to remember that poem when a group of girls in my neighborhood would always harass me because I didn’t go to their school. I took a transfer bus to go to my honors classes and it became apparent that their parents talked about it. One day one of those girls told me that their parents told them that I was in the honors classes because they were for slow children. She told me that she was better than me. I went home that day upset and my mother and father told me don’t get even, get ahead. I learned that being a black child made me have to work twice as hard to prove myself.
I had to remember this poem when my white neighbor, who used to play basketball all the time at my house, grew up and started to call me and my black siblings and friends “Nigger” as he sped off in his white truck trying to intimidate us. He wasn’t bold enough to say it to my face when I told my older cousins and friends what he did the next day at school. He was weak both physically and intellectually and I knew that him ridiculing me could not sway me.
There are countless times I have had to remember this poem and this week’s election was no different. Since Donald Trump has won the electoral votes hate has spewed across America. People feel they can incite violence and show bigotry and hate because they believe that Trump being elected in office gives them power to do so. Those affected by these bold acts of racism fear for their lives, their families’ lives, and their friend’s lives as well.
I see former classmates that boldly proclaim that they voted for this man and make every excuse for his actions. These are the same people that I saw criticizing President Barack Obama every step of the way. Not to mention I have never seen them so patriotic in my life: they never held their hand to their heart during the pledge of allegiance let alone take history or politics so seriously. I realized how some of them smile in my face while secretly wait for my downfall. Do I get mad about the situation? No. I am however disappointed, but I move forward.
As a proud black woman I REFUSE to let this break me. I will read this poem aloud everyday. I will read it to my daughter so that she too knows her worth, her intelligence, her beauty and her history. I will remind her that she is royalty. If I ever have a son he too will learn this poem and know it. He will know that he comes from a people that brought light out of darkness.
If anyone tries to tear you down, don’t you weep. Put a smile on your face and you remember your culture. Remember where you come from. Remember that these obstacles cannot stop you. Work together. Be confident. Be brave. Be strong. For generations our ancestors have proved that we can overcome anything. Let the God in you shine and excel. You’ve got the light.
Peace and blessings,