Hi APC! My name is Lidia Solomon, and I’m a 17-year-old from North Carolina. My race is black though I identify more with my Eritrean nationality ( barely any people know this country exists sadly )
The piece I’m submitting was an independent writing project my AP Lang teacher asked my class to write. I chose to write a poem and I knew I wanted it to be about something I was really passionate about. Trying to figure out which passion of mine I would want to write about wasn’t that hard. I like to watch spoken word videos on Youtube and the day this project was assigned I went straight home and watched one; it was about the inequality that black people face in America and immediately I knew I wanted that to be the subject of my poem. I started writing it right after the video ended and after 45 minutes I was finished. But then… I read my poem to my dad and he hated the ending. He told me that my generation has the power to change this issue and that I need to change the ending to a more motivational note… so I did, here it is.
i come from a home where the whites are praised and the blacks are held at a lower gaze, being told to see how the white man functions, what moves does he make, how does he get his life to be so great, well, it helps that he runs the game.
while he’s on top the black man crumbles, he wonders why, looks up to the sky, and then…he sees him – the white man in the sky, and no it ain’t Jesus cause Jesus was never white.
it was his oppressor, the one who runs the game. the game in which i’m forced to play twice as hard just to get what he would get if he didn’t try at all.
see, i come from a home where the whites are praised and the blacks are held at a lower gaze and because of this i often felt like i didn’t know my place.
did i not deserve the same freedoms of my white friends?
did i not deserve the same treatment though i’m dark skinned?
do i not deserve to feel protected by my police force instead of this sheer terror i feel when i hear those sirens coming close
yes, sadly, i have to say
i come from a home where the whites are praised and the blacks are held at a lower gaze
but this is something i think outta be changed
we need to love one another, not despite but because of our skin color. no matter our religion or our beliefs, throw out the window all the misconceptions you have perceived,
so one day i can gladly say…
i come from a home where everyone is equal and best believe that ain’t ever gonna change
The home I’m referring to is obviously America but also the East African household I was raised in. People don’t talk enough about the fact that a lot of Africans look down on Black people in America. Growing up my parents would tell me to work hard to be in a position that white people tend to usually be in—having a good job, good salary, good house, good morals. If they ever talked about Black people in America they would always be painted in a negative light. Everybody knows (at least I hope they do ) that America treats and views black people in a negative light but I want people to also know that it’s not just a white vs. black issue. It’s not just white people who have biases.
Because I was raised being told that I was Eritrean, that’s how I defined myself. Never in my family did we describe ourselves as black, because we didn’t focus on race but rather nationality and the culture that comes with it. So as I got older it was hard for me to relate to African-American people who weren’t my nationality; I was disconnected from my race so as a result, I was disconnected from them. It wasn’t until I ventured beyond the walls of my house and my parents’ influence that I began to feel connected to both my race and my nationality. Africans, especially East Africans, tend to go through the same journey I went through because race wasn’t even brought up in their family, their culture was. But at the end of the day, the whole idea of “race” was created to divide us; we all come from the motherland. Black is beautiful, black comes in different shades and different nationalities. Black is smart, black is determined, black is excellence.