During my first year of college I was pulled over by the University of Chicago police. What did I do you ask? I walked down the street at night. They told me they needed to see my I.D. because there was a robbery in the area. The three white people across the street speaking in a foreign language were not bothered at all, but the black man, the one who doesn’t look like he belongs on this campus, (me) was the one the was stopped on this particular night. When I showed them my college I.D. they looked shocked and said they didn’t think I was a student. For those who know me, when things like this happen in my life, I try to use it as an opportunity to express myself through poetry, so here is my poem:
Are you afraid of the dark…
it happened, to me
they told me that kinda stuff only happens
to those block dudes running the street, but, it
happen to me…
they said “excuse me sir can I see your ID”
can you see my ID???
I was walking down the street that I live on,
in the new college campus that I reside on.
12 years of public education that I stood on,
accepted into a private university,
and I just got racially spit on?
Because, what they see is something that doesn’t
look like he belongs on these educated street.
In my attempts to breakdown stereotypes
and be the resister of being a victim
of surroundings that are less than safe,
they look at me and feel like their less than safe.
And this plea for blacks to be free,
makes some feel less than safe,
but their glances at night makes me feel less than free,
All becuz someone was afraid of the black they see.
Because with no other probably cause then the tint of my skin,
they ask to see my ID,
said it looked like I was conducting
some type of suspiciously activity
thinking back to when I was eight years old,
watching a nickelodeon TV show called
“are you afraid of the dark”…
and now I felt like I was in one of those new reality shows on MTV,
only this one was called are you afraid of the darkboy.
Cuz I had to realize even in 2010 we live in a world
where people are still afraid of black cats,
and black men, and those hoods that hebitate bay-bay’s little black children
And so I can feel them, their eyes avoiding contact with mine,
glances that call me a nigger
not even 5 seconds after the first blink of seeing me
and my black skin blend in with the absence of the sun.
I walk, they fear, I walk ,they clasp hands tight
as if Im the big black boggieman that hid in their closet dat night.
They walk in a single file line when passing me,
not racist, yet afraid, not racist yet shaking, not racist,
yet chanting in their heads “I wont be afraid, I wont be afraid, I wont be afraid
rooting from lessons taught in adolescence,
they are still afraid of the dark-boy.
many who only know dark skin from TV shows
and the 6 o’clock news shootings,
many from rural and suburban neighborhoods
not knowing how to not be afraid of the dark-boy…
when its systemically tied into how they should react when passing
a dark man with dark cloths when its dark outside…
So I ask you…Are you afraid of the dark?
Because Im nothing to be afraid of.