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What Does Being Black Mean to You?: A Poem by Beyla Lahsen

What does being black mean to you?


Is it just a color?

Is it the right color to describe you?

Is it simply a word to define your physical characteristics?

Is it a word that is supposed to put you in your place?


Does it evoke the inherited emotional sadness of your black ancestors?

Does it evoke the need to be a social justice warrior?

Does it make you rush to every protest after yet another injustice?


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Or, does it make you enjoy each of life’s precious moments because you know how quickly life can end?

Does it mean enjoying your family and making sure you say ‘I love you’ every time you leave them?

Does it make it more important to keep family traditions alive to cement your place in this world so it cannot be erased no matter how hard they try to render your life useless?

Does it make you scared to drive alone at night for fear that it may be your last night out?

Does it make you hesitant to walk with your hands in your pockets in the store as the clerk follows you down the aisles?


What does being black mean to you? 

Is it all the ways that the world experiences you?


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