I sit in the back of this classroom with my head ducked low.
Too smart for the black kids, taught that I am inferior to the whites, so I keep to myself.
My grades reflect those of a mediocre middle class school kid, whose parents care, but work too hard to pay me any attention.
My mouth don’t twist with a twang, so this Ebonics feels unnatural and foreign on my tongue.
As I sit in this classroom, my teacher attempts to fill these empty souls with knowledge, not knowing that their hearts are empty… dreaming about days where their pockets are full, praying that it will mend the broken seams of the places they call home.
College? A dream, far away, into the distance where only the strongest make it out alive, being crushed by the mountain of debt that weighs down their chest, where we struggle to breathe.
But this teacher still preaches, praying that her words touches the soul and graces the ears of somebody. Anybody.
Little does she know… the dream that King had, rings upon my ears, as I dream about no longer being a statistic.
Praying that this proper English and this brown skin goes hand in hand in guiding me in to my success. Praying that I make it out alive, because there are not many who do in this neighborhood.
This recurring cycle of poverty in the black family. The older generation simply teaching the youth to live paycheck to paycheck, off government assistance, and piling up a mountain of debt. When you make 7.25 an hour, you have to live above your means because you can’t afford school supplies for your child. And because the child is ashamed and unprepared, they don’t focus and stops valuing education. A degree is often a rare commodity in some black communities.
While chain smoking, cheating, STD’S and diseases, becoming recurring alcoholics, drug addicts, drug dealers, in and out of jail and prison, multiple kids with different partners…
Eating cheap processed food that’s killing you slowly, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease…
What role models do your children have? The rappers and basketball players who are marginalized and being raped for their talents to increase the credit score and savings accounts of the 1%?
It’s this recurring cycle that I see so many, my peers, my family, and my friends alike, get sucked into and they don’t even realize it.
You think progress comes from one great man trying to do great things. Even if he is POTUS, our crab like mentality hinders making strides to even thinking about having a dream.
I dream for a better future for the generation after me. But it takes the generation before me to wake up and realize it.
However, a hamster will forever be content with his wheel, as long as he thinks he’s moving forward.
So I sit at the back of this classroom, dreaming of the days where I am free to be this strong, beautiful, myelinated, and unapologetic me. Not afraid to change the world. But for now… I sit.