Contributions from a Reader
DOES THAT MEAN I'M NOT BLACK
By Reginald Jackson
I grew up in the ghettos and the slums of St. Louis, Missouri,
I vowed early on in my life that my background would not define me
I swore if I got out of the "hood" I was never going back
Because I choose not to return, does that mean that I'm not black?
I spoke proper English, got straight A's in school,
Because of that I was ridiculed and told I wasn't cool
Is ignorance our only measure, I hope that's not a fact,
Because I'm educated, does that mean I'm not black?
I teach my sons the value of education and doing well in school,
I'd hate to think that one of mine was known as the neighborhood fool
I ride them hard about their grades and don't cut them any slack,
Because I want them to be smart and successful does that mean that I'm not
If I go to a nightclub and a brother steps on my shoe,
Is punching that man in the face the thing I should do
If I choose to forgive him and not create some flack,
Does my understanding and compassion mean that I'm not black?
Black people spend a lot of time focusing on material things,
Fancy cars, expensive clothes, and flashy diamond rings
I don't wear baggy clothes or wear my hat turned to the back
And just because I don't do so, does that mean that I'm not black?
I grew up when Rap music was about entertainment and fun,
But now all Rap music seems to be about is bitches, drugs, and guns
I choose not to buy into that, because I think its whack,
But because I don't like gangster Rap does that mean I'm not black
We don't respect anything, don't respect anyone else,
It seems to me that being black these days is all about yourself
There's nothing wrong with lov ing who you are and all the things you do,
But I was taught to respect myself, and to respect other people too
We walk around all angry with bad attitudes,
It seems to me being black these days is all about being rude
I'm not dissin' or hatin', I'm just simply stating the facts,
But because I do not hate the world does that mean I'm not black
My brothers and sisters all brag about being gangstas and thugs,
All of our movies and music glamorize violence, crime, and drugs
But I refuse to reinforce our negative stereotypes,
I want my life to represent more than just bullshit and hype
When I hear the phrase "ghetto fabulous" I think what's up with that shit,
I grew up in the ghetto and there was nothing fabulous about it!
The ghetto ain't filled with nothing but poverty, dirt, and squalor,
I'm a tell y'all like Marvin Gaye said, it makes me wanna holler!
But all B-S aside, I'm trying to keep it real,
I love my black people, that's just how I feel
So no matter what I've said tonight, I hope you've got my back
'Cause in the immortal words of Run DMC, I'm proud to be black!
Wisdom is Supreme, therefore get wisdom. Though it may cost you all you
have, get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7 NIV)