Enormous Pride

I am guilty.
With a hope my admission of this,
Leaves me sentenced,
To my admitted commitment...
For the rest of my conscious life.
I am one who believes,
I don't have to prove my ethnicity.
By expressing anger.
To repeat and revisit that kind of history.
Nor will I allow myself to contradict,
My integrity with a pretense...
When and if I am invited to social events.
Hobnobbing around to convince anyone,
I am different and born...
With undeniable intelligence.
I've jumped off that fence too many years ago.

I am not one who prefers to charade,
My appearance in public to masquerade.
Like some may do who would rather excuse,
Their identities everyone sees and in clear view.
With a proving themselves clowns down to Earth.
Remove those masks and fast,
Insecurities they have will appear.

I take enormous pride,
When representing my ancestors.
I want it known with it shown immediately,
Discussions of slave ships, plantations...
And who did the oppressing,
To leave this documented in minds...
Is not a conversation I will defend to define,
Who it is I am.
As if I am in need to be kept reminded.

I am guilty.
With a hope my admission of this,
Leaves me sentenced,
To my admitted commitment...
For the rest of my conscious life,
To be 'black' as a fact.
But assisting others to keep me labelled,
Like that?
Is not a concern I've inherited to carry,
On my back or in my mind to be reminded.

by Lawrence S. Pertillar

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