Dear Black Folks

September 27, 2016

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By Guest Contributor: Stacy G

Dear Black folks

I don’t know what it’s like to question authority because I had the privilege of never having to do so
I don’t know what’s it’s like to have an authority figure see you as a threat before seeing you as a child
Demonizing you before they get to know you
I donft know what it’s like to watch your classmates be called overzealous
While you do the same, and your teachers send you to detention and call you rebellious

Dear Black folks
I don’t know what its like to be followed around a store
Or to feel like a suspect as soon as you walk through the door
I don’t know what’s like to have to tell my future son to fear the police because anything he might do
Might be construed
As a threat and force them to shoot

Dear Black folks
I don’t know what it’s like to live a lifetime of anger and frustration because of what happened to your community
What happened within your community
I don’t know what it’s like to have your tongue ripped out by having a bullet
Strike your heart before you have the chance to have your voice heard

Dear Black folks
I feel empathy and compassion because I don’t know what it’s like to face the reality of constant death and trauma and how real it is for you everyday
Feeling mortal is more real to you every day than I can ever imagine

Dear Black Follks
You are necessary
Without your community, and your hustle, I would not be given the same opportunities as I have now
If I was born before 1954, I wouldn’t be allowed to have an education
Because of the color of skin

If I was born before 1967, I wouldn’t be able to marry outside my race
Without your community we wouldn’t have peanut butter, stem cell research, traffic lights or pace makers

Dear Black folks
We might be different cloth but we rip the same way
Stain the same way
Jin said we see the same sky and cry the same cry

Dear Black folks,
I know what is like to try to defy every label and stereotype given to you
I know how tiring it can be to prove you are different,
That you are not a statistic,
I know what it’s like as a person of color, to feel you have to be representative of a whole community that is complex and diverse in itself

Dear Black folks
I know what it’s like to be generalized because of your race
I know what it is like to read your history as something unrecognizable because there are
Too many missing pieces and
Too many white voices
I know what it’s like to have to write your own history, in your own voice, in a language they can’t understand because they choose not address systematic oppression
When teaching apathy instead of empathy because it pays more

Dear Black folks
I do know what it’s like to have the women
In your community
Treated as a commodity
Before they are treated as human
I do know what it’fs like to feel like you have to work twice as hard to get half way up

Dear black folks
You are strong for carrying such a heavy load of the world
You are beautiful because your shoulders are strong yet gentle enough to lean on
You deserve a world that makes you feel like you belong

You are necessary
This movement is necessary
You are enough
And you should not be demonized for simply existing
Because of that
I will try to be better

Dear Black folks
Black culture has given us a world with captivating poetry,
Influential music
Beautiful fashion, dance, art and technology & writing, math, and science
Even if it was all stolen from you
Repackaged, bleached and resold to you

Dear Black folks
For that I want to be better
I will be more compassionate than I had been in the past
But most importantly, I will continuously unlearn every single internalized racism and discrimination that I was taught to believe about you

I will unlearn my anti-black racism that has been passed down and
Normalized in my Asian American community
Anti-black discrimination that has caused fear rather than understanding
Anti black discrimination that started with being taught darker is inferior

I am not going to be perfect
I know I will make mistakes
But I will try my best to learn from them
Change is scary
But staying in this violent present is scarier
I guarantee that I will get weird, awkward, shy and uncomfortable as I grow out
But Grace Lee Boggs once said that to change within our society begins with change from within

Dear black folks
I am an Asian4 Black Lives
Because Black Lives Matter
Since you built this land
with your bare hands
You have always mattered

Stacy Gee is a first-generation Asian American and the youngest daughter of Asian immigrants, as well as a first-time college graduate in small town of Chico, California. Stacy would like to publish a book of my poems one day. 

Learn more about Reappropriate’s guest contributor program and submit your own writing here.

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