A Reminder to Myself

The ideas and viewpoints expressed in the posts on the Ideas and Creations blog are solely the view of the author(s). Luther College's mission statement calls us to "embrace diversity and challenge one another to learn in community," and to be "enlivened and transformed by encounters with one another, by the exchange of ideas, and by the life of faith and learning." Alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of the college are encouraged to express their views, model "good disagreement" and engage in respectful dialogue.

Dear chocolate drop of beauty
Apologies to the assumptions that have already been made about you
They know not a thing about you
But they have planned your life out for you
They have decided what names you should be called
So when you tell them your name is Emma and not Folisha
They'll be shocked as if you've violated some kind of law
With Every courageous action you’ll take
You'll set off alarms
So baby girl, you'll be put on their radar
Your life will consist of informal interviews
Every neighbor is a cop undercover
You thought Stacey from yoga class was just a friend
Well baby you're in for a surprise
Every situation is staged in order to learn more about you
You thought that it was just a coincidence when you got "randomly" picked to be searched at the airport
Baby girl don't let it get to you
Every question has its own box in a category
You thought the boy from the cafe was being nice when he asked about your birth place
He was just double checking to see if you fit in the box they have prepared for you
Checking to see if his single story checked out
But you are not a single story
So they'll ask you "where are you from" constantly
And you'll tell them Georgia but that's not the answer they'll be looking for
Because what they'll want to know is "Where you’re really from"
As if Georgia is not the right answer
As if someone like you couldn't possibly be from Georgia

But then again, maybe they're right

Because mama raised you to be full of culture and light that's out of this world
Your energy will foil the oppressed
They will fear your strength
So they'll try to weaken you every chance they get
Baby your beauty will make them ask questions
Your loud laughter will diminish their insults
They will not understand how your body moves to a rhythm even when there's no music playing
They'll want to know how you are the way you are
Why you do the things you do
Baby girl be sure to tell them
Come let me introduce you to my mother
The queen of my family's empire
The woman who made it her mission to make me her masterpiece
She has planted the right attitude in me
The right words on my thick lips
The right confidence in my self esteem
And she has made sure I'm armed with love and not hate
So the next time they say, "no, tell us where you're really from"

Baby girl thank them!

Thank them for reminding you of your roots!
Thank them for reminding you not to forget the legacy of your people!
Apologize, not to them but to yourself and forgive yourself for forgetting
And respond them "I'm from the motherland"

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