Te’Aja McCoy, 16yrs, hails from North Carolina. A poet and activist, she's been writing poetry since grade school and found a true passion for it ever since middle school. Since taking a liking to poetry, Te’Aja McCoy has done spoken word poetry throughout her community and has plans for an upcoming poetry book of her own. Her poetry page is thegirlwhowritesshit and personal website is dammmmm.tee.
“it’s ok, I understand.”
You understand how it feels as a brown female, the first thing that races to another’s mind is ghetto?
To be questioned about your good grades while thought that you cheated on your test before thinking you actually put in the work
You understand how the STEM program is a segregated neighborhood?
You know how it feels when you actually know the answer and pass it up to the shades lighter than you
You know, not to dare stick out, you’ll be labeled as- “The Black Girl Who Thinks They Know Something”, “Smart Black Girl”, “Black Girl Who May Make It Out Projects”.
Tell me, person of lighter shades how it feels as a brown female to be labeled as loud, ‘ratchet’, project girl
What if your GPA exceeds a 2.0? what if it was a 4.9?
Does that make you, a brown girl, 2.9 shades lighter?
You’ve exceeded your expectations, now you’re showing off, a ‘profitable black girl’ she needs a sponsor
They’d never thought twice about you and now? You’re no longer ghetto or loud, wow
You still know how I feel right?
Have you ever been racially profiled when you walk into an advanced school, pick up a college application at a college you’re ‘not supposed to be at’, or when you raise your hand with the right answer in class?
Tell me, have you ever been looked at like you don’t belong in a country where you never asked to be
Told “This place is not made to fit you!” they tell me, as if this country was ever made to be invaded by people the same shades of you, person of lighter shade
So, I lower my blackness, ‘don’t be so black, be little black, don’t be black at all.’ These are the things I tell myself on a daily to walk the streets of your country
Yes, I said your country, you made it no longer mine when my people, brown people were scared to wear a hoodie outside, when seeing cops no longer meant safety but to drop to the ground and plead for your life, that you get to stay alive and not get arrested and have a faked suicide
no? so you lied
This white boy called one of my brothers a nigger today
My brother I quote went "black" on him
Before you react let's go through the basics of this poem
We will not address this white boy by his name
I haven't decided where to place the blame
Is there blame to be placed?
Do we blame this unnamed?
A child only learns through what it hears, sees, feels
He had to hear the word nigger to place it, to name it, had to feel how to address it
So we blame his parents, but to do that we blame their parents and theirs too
This is history
But who are we to blame him, how does media portray African Americans or black or colored, or the renowned placement-nigger
He hasn't seen many colored doctors, or scientists, just football and basketball players
He turns on the tv and through the years him and his family become more dependent on their confederate flag, on this word nigger
Confused on whether they're supposed to accept colored people or be afraid of them
These darker people, these less pure breeds, these minority's, why is our president building a wall Daddy, isn't he disrupting the diversity of our country
Do we blame this white boy who was raised on white supremacy
It's all that he knows
Or do we blame at all?
My brother doesn't know what nigger means
Just if he's called the name to beat the shit outta who mouth the word has claimed
My brother does not know what white supremacy is
Just that he's in an advanced class that's 3/4's white and he asked me why all the student council has lighter skin than him
Someone told him they should riot
Grandma told him not to make a scene
She said : "Don't you disrupt them white people you hear me?"
I believe we've built on top of this white supremacy, have become too comfortable with this state of action
That maybe we're too scared to take a step of action to disrupt this foundation
My other brother read Paul Beatty say being black in America is a full time job
That night he grabbed the bleach he told me he didn't like his skin anymore
He told me he was scared to be black in America
He said "Whoever said the darker the berry the sweeter the juice, lied its actually the darker the the berry the more likely to be thrown away-squashed."
"Being black is too hard. Why do I have to work to be something twice as hard in a place that I never chose to be. We're fighting and we don't even understand what we're still fighting for, we're fighting in an unwon war."
How do I tell him he has a target on his back with every breath he takes being black
How do I tell him to be black and proud but to not be too proud, so he won't be looked upon as an ignorant negro needed to be hushed
How do I tell him who to blame
So I tell him to put the damn bleach back and go his ass to bed before I whoop it
And to just get over it