Saturday, 30 April 2016

THIS IS NOT A DRILL | A Poem About Misogynoir

A note from Joelle... 

Sit up straight
And listen up,
Because this is not a drill and
I will only say this once:
I am not ebony -
A piece of decorative wood.
Nor am I chocolate-
Ready to melt into myself with the heat of your touch.
Please don't call me “sista” –
We are not related.
And I’m definitely not your “gurrrrl”.
Because we never dated.
I will tell you what I am:
You may want to take a deep breath now…
I am a Black woman.
Yes, with a capital ‘B’.
I am a Black woman
who is exhausted because
everything I do is silently political.
Whom I choose to dance with in the club
Is political.
The way I answer the question:
“Where are you from…?”
“No, where are you really from?”
Is political – “You look different from me, so I need to put you in a labelled box and prod at you with my mind.”
Like saying I’m from near your ends isn’t a good enough answer.
My accent?
Political – “Why is she so well-spoken? Who adopted her?”
 It confuses you, because my Sloaney slang doesn’t match my South London skin tone.
The way I choose to style my hair
Is political – I wear weaves because I want to be European and hate myself. I wear afros because I hate Europeans and love myself.
How I pronounce my own surname
Is political – Do I simplify it to spare your blushes when you don't even bother trying?
The music I proudly declare to enjoy –
Political - Because I should just stick to my people's roots and keep my ears shut.
And my body...
I must be a secret bloke – like that Serena fella of that tennis show.
‘Cause no woman with thick thighs deserves success.
And my fragile frame?
Only a fragile home life can be to blame.
You say: “I don’t see race – we are all one.”
Good for you.
But, I cannot afford to pretend to be colorblind because
I am a Black woman-
Shoved to the bottom rung.
I am affected and I am exhausted.
I am a Black woman-
But you see, that is not all I am.
Are you still sitting up straight?
Can you hear me in the back?
Because this is not a drill
And this woman is Black.


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