Black American Privilege: A Poem

Black American privilege looks like

Being barked at in the elevator at your Miami university,

hours after weeping with your friends

in the English department,

following Trump’s election.

It looks like being told that you’re

“pretty for a Black girl”

Over and fucking over.

It looks like having people touch your hair

Everywhere.

Black American privilege

Looks like being called “a selfish American”

For wanting people who benefit from performing Blackness

Who’ve made their money from wearing us

And wanting to be us…

To say that our lives matter to them.

To care.

It looks like people asking “why should we care about BLM”

On main.

No shame.

I can’t tell anyone anything

Why you should care about Black people –

That Black people live in “your” country –

That antiblackness is universal –

But even if I did…

Would you listen?

Or would you do what’s been done:

Ignore me?

Diss me?

Dismiss me?

Would you accuse me of US-centrism,

as if your country –

Any country outside of a relative few  –

Treats Black people like we matter?

You say Black American privilege

Like melting under the spotlight is worth the abuse.

Like being visible gets us anything.

Like being a hashtag is worth it.

Like being a martyr for a cause that should’ve been solved

years ago

is worth it.

You say it like we need to apologize for it –

For Korean idols’ cultural appropriation,

Cornfed teens and their racist TikToks,

Being murdered in our own fucking homes,

For people around the world coming together to say

“Black Lives Matter”.

Because they do.

Black American privilege looks like

Barely censored footage of Black people here

being beaten,

hunted,

shot.

It looks like flinching when you heard

one

two

three

 gunshots

fired into Ahmaud Arbery’s back.

It looks like the news showing stills

of George Floyd’s death

with that cop’s knee on his fucking neck.

It looks like never seeing white people’s bodies on television,

just ours.

it looks like how many black people have been killed since George Floyd?

Tell me again about all of this privilege we have as Black Americans

In America.

Tell me about privilege,

When our bodies are

choked out,

broken down,

experimented on,

and left in sweltering city streets to rot.

Tell me again about Black American privilege,

when we make up 12% of the US population…

but over 35% of the prison population.

We are hypervisible,

hyperpoliced,

and

mistreated from cradle to

coffin.

And y’all call that privilege.

Black American privilege

looks like being told to make amends for our hypervisibility

by people who refuse to fucking

see us

as people

period.

About Zeenah

Zina writes about comics, nerd history, and ridiculous romance novels when not working frantically on her first collection of short stories and complaining about stuff. One day, she'll settle down and write that novel.
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2 Responses to Black American Privilege: A Poem

  1. Pingback: Black American Privilege: A Poem — Stitch’s Media Mix – A Blog devoted to Supernatural

  2. Pingback: Black American Privilege: A Poem — Stitch’s Media Mix – [Black. Fly. Magic.]

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