A poem, written by Kianna Cole while she was a Sophomore at Corcoran High School. (Now, if that is Corcoran, CA, or Syracuse, NY, I have been unable to tell.) I ran across it while searching for "black is a state of mind", and thought it deserved a larger audience.

Being Black

Being black is a state of Mind
It's not the full hips or the big behind
It's not the nappy hair or the funky talk.
It's not the way we act or the way we walk.
Being black is not a choice.
It's "let freedom ring" in a manly voice.
It's sitting in the back of the bus,
While all the whites look down on us.
It's learning your New black history.
It's fighting 300 years to be free.
It's being left out when you try for a job.
It's being lynched by a Ku Klux Klan mob.
It's poverty, starvation and all those bad things.
It's being treated as lesser human beings.
It's being followed when you go to the store.
It's knowing your pride cannot take anymore,
Being black is smiling when you're not happy.
It's getting a perm cause your hair is too nappy.
It's saying your friends are "acting white"
Cause they get good grades and don't wanna fight .
It's boycotts, sit-ins and the Alabama bus line.
It's "I want to be free" in a yell not a whine.
Being Black is bravery and determination.
It's having strength to overcome in a color
conscious nation.
Being Black is full-time work,
It's whites looking down at you with a smirk.
"Acting Black" is considered a pleasure.
Our smooth black skin is a treasure.
It's fleshy noses and big juicy lips.
It's tight curly hair and full brown lips.
It's boys who wear a box haircut.
And girls who have an unflat butt.
Being Black is a different thing.
Cause acting black is the thing you bring.
It's not a suit you can just put on.
When you take off the suit your black ain't gone.
My black skin is where I live.
It's the suit I was born with.
And when I'm cold it keeps me warm.
It keeps me dry when there's a storm.
And when it's hot it keeps me cool.
My black skin is a valuable tool.
Being black is a state of mind.
It's not the full lips or the big behind.
Acting black is a different thing.
Not just Malcolm X or Martin Luther King.
Acting black is not a thing you earn.
But being black is a thing you learn.

See you there...

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