This poem by Rachel Danielle Hubbard is written about a guy in her class. I found it powerful because it talks about the awkward ways human beings try to bargain for respect & acceptance–which we all want. This poem is about the way that doesn’t work.
He is the only Black boy in the classes
He is lonely
He is desperate
That’s why he hangs out with them
That’s why he laughs with them
Maybe it’s because he finds the racism funny
Maybe it’s because he’s pressured by his inner demons
To laugh with them but to not notice that there laughing
at him is somehow a crime that he has committed
They mock him but he thinks they’re laughing with him. I
try to make people laugh but never in a way that makes
me look stupid to make them laugh Black or White.
It’s not like the black people here in our grade offers a lot
gives a lot they don’t.
They are mean, rude, obnoxious, raunchy.
But they don’t say you look like an Elephant , Mouse, or
even a Rat.
They don’t quite rap songs and you dance to it to be
This poem goes to everyone not just him but girls too.
Who twerk in class only to laugh and de-humanize you.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it because they think
it any way.
But you shouldn’t do it because they laugh and de-
humanize you when you do it.
It doesn’t matter but still it kinda does .
Because you are Black …and he is Black.