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