Outside In — A Poem About Racism

When you look at a Black person, what do you really see?

Hello friends, I wrote this poem some time ago, after an experience of racism. The sad thing is that there have been so many that I can no longer remember which particular incident prompted me to write it. Anyway, for a change of pace, here it is:

You see me from the outside in

Distracted by the color of my skin

You see me from the outside in

Troubled by the color of my skin

You see me from the outside in

Agitated by the color of my skin

You see me from the outside in

Exasperated by the

Rich, warm, velvety blackness of my skin.


You see me from the outside in

Bothered by the shading of my skin

You see me from the outside in

Diverted by the pigment of my skin

You see me from the outside in

Angered by the darkness of my skin

You see me from the outside in

Disconcerted by the

Lush, smooth, silky blackness of my skin.


And what do you see?

African, servant, n**ger, slave

Every colored image, save

The one that’s really me.

Someone to serve your every whim

That reality was grim

For me, but not for you


For you, I am

Not a person, but a symbol

Of the chaos that lies within.

For you cannot be you unless I am

Other

Strange

Foreign

Lesser

Bizarre

Unfamiliar

Unknown

Definitely different

Not one of us

A reminder of past power

And present problems

Though you deride me

I define you.


But

You see me from the outside in

Symbol of the chaos deep within

You see me from the outside in

You don’t know how it feels inside this skin


I am more than just a symbol

Black my skin; my mind is nimble

See me from the inside out

I am mother, friend and lover

A heart as pure as any other

See me from the inside out

Doctor, lawyer, cook or cleaner

See my mind and my demeanor

Appreciate my inner queen, or

See me from the inside out

Time to stop; there is no doubt.

See me from the inside out

See me from the inside out

See me from the inside out!

© Sharon Hurley Hall. All Rights Reserved.

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I am an anti-racism writer, a professional B2B writer and blogger, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast. Learn more about why I started this newsletter and how you can support it.