"White Washed" a poem by Layla marie
I remember posting this poem back in late October, early November and after I posted it I realize that I wasn’t the only one out this way. See, my entire life I’ve been called white washed because of the way I act and dressed at certain points in my life. For that exact reason I never felt like I fit in with the black community even I am black which really doesn’t make sense to me. One day I was on the phone with two of my friends and they called me white washed and for once instead of getting angry I decided to write a poem instead. And that’s how white wash came to be. Seen the reaction to this poem made me realize that I wasn’t the only one and that there’s so many other black and mixed people that just never felt like they fit in so here’s a poem for all those that will never understand and to all those that understand more than they’d like to.
I present to you the complete edition of “White Washed”.
Who do you think you are?
Discarding my black, By calling me white washed.
Is it because of the way I dance? Speak? Eat?
I’m sorry but I think you need to look again at my melon and given to me by my black mama. And my black daddy.
Along with my Afro which you love to forget about because I keep it in braids, but because little white girls think that my black looks better on them; my braids. A style that is meant to protect my coarse hair becomes white washed according to you.
But I’m assuming between your family and this jacked up school system you were never taught about the history of our people, and how the women on slave ships braided what little food they had into their children’s hair so that they wouldn’t starve to death.
Those braids were used as a survival tactic in the same way that my parents taught me how to speak corporate America but because I don’t speak the same as you, you decide not to see my black.
So. Tell me that my being educated not only when it comes to my wide vocabulary but also when it comes to the knowledge of the history that runs through my veins makes me whitewashed.
If I asked you which three amendments were made in the efforts to help black people could you tell me?
The 13th amendment abolishment of slavery ratified in 1865.
14th amendment civil rights among states a.k.a. former slaves granted citizenship ratified in 1868.
And the 15th amendment black suffrage ratified in 1870.
When I ask you how you feel when you take a T-shirt off the rack of a store would you tell me that you’re angry.
Angry at the fact that slavery was abolished with that 13th amendment back in 1865 but we’re both still picking cotton.
Could you even tell me the name of one civil rights activist outside of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X because those are three names that we should all know. Right?
How about Bayard Rustin?
Or maybe Whitney Young Junior?
Have you even seen the face of Emmett till.
Bayard Rustin was openly gay men and one of Dr. King‘s closest advisers.
Roy Wilkins played a major role in Brown versus the Board of Education and the voting rights act.
And Whitney Young Junior was a World War II veteran and advisor on racial matters to Lyndon B. Johnson which you wouldn’t know anything about.
I can tell you all this.
You give me nothing in return, and at the same time try to take away my black girl magic? I guess the joke is on you because I have been cooking with the spices of a hundred generations of powerful black woman such as myself to put together a potion that makes you feel so good about yourself that you feel the need to revoke my black card.
I get it.
I can cook like a black girl. I can look like a black girl. I can be a black girl... but because I don’t "speak black" or "act black" that makes me less black than who? because honestly form where I'm standing, I’m no more or less whitewash than you.