I have to wonder if today could be my last all because of a white man with a gun and a badge.
I can’t wear a hoodie over my face, it’s a mask. A mask that says SHOOT ME!! But you don’t even ask.
You don’t ask about my background such as where I grew up. You don’t ask about my academics and my athletics but I’m all signed up. I’ve been shot all because I’m black in a “mask” but you’ll never ask.
Let me stop. Let me stop and think back to when times were simpler and easier to be black, but when was that? When was there a time I could smile and laugh and show my joy without someone trying to bring me back. Bring me back to reality to tell me that black does crack. Not physically but mentally. The pain and sorrows of the people before me have been past down to the people after. So, what is it like being the color black? Imagine having a target on your back. You slam us down when we don’t resist. Your knee is on my neck, I scream “I can’t breathe”, you act as if you don’t hear that. Eight minutes later there’s no more plea. So what is it like being the color black? It’s a never ending battle for peace. We protest but oh no, that’s not enough. We’re tired and hurt because you refuse to hear us peacefully so those protests become more and more, now we got the media to react. We burn down buildings that we built for free, we break down boundaries that some refuse to see. We don’t hurt those at the protest but here come the police. They shoot and they shoot, the rubber bullets there they go. The tear gas turns us away from our journey but we come right back. It shows we want peace, we want peace with the world but without justice the peace we seek will never grow. So what is it like being the color black? Besides all the negatives the public wants you to see, my black will not crack. You may try to break us mentally but we refuse to accept that. We refuse to let you break us down and shake us up because we’re stronger than that. My blackness is not a pass for you to just look through me like a piece of glass. I’m human too, I’m just like you so I refuse to be overlooked and dragged because the melanin in your skin decided to lag. So what is it like being the color black? It’s an ongoing struggle that may never end. We’re fighting a battle that has barely begin. Although there is hardship, there comes beauty too. Our hair, our slang, our music just to name a few. Without black culture where would you be? My black culture is how I see the beauty within me. So, what is it like to be the color black?
~Nyla Simone Hyman