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Jared Simmons 

Defined as the absence of light, worn by thieves to blend with night,
No color is linked with endless plight quite like this ominous, dark hue.
Black cats, Black Death, Blackbeard—all are worthy to be feared
Because their names are sadly smeared with the shade of shade, like glue
This word’s connotation sticks to any phrase it is adhered to.
Black man describes a chosen few.

This moniker’s dimensions are stretched when placed in front of human flesh
For the vast diversity of Black men can contradict itself, you see.
Just like any other race, there lies a mind behind each face
And, blessed with God’s infinite grace, each chooses what he wants to be.
His choices should not change the way you choose to treat black me.
From this burden set me free.

I don’t carry a colored rag or allow my pants to “sag”
But he that does and I can never live our lives separately.
Murderers and heads of state, though their differences are great
Are bound by the same weight that holds us down perpetually.
Black he and me together will be for all eternity.
Superficial eyes won’t set me free.

The black man’s plight is his alone, for no one else can don his tone
None other caused by grief to moan the moan that comes with darkened skin.
One can’t begin to fantasize about the view from these black eyes—
That of hatred, fear, and lies—but through it all we grin,
And laugh the laugh that comes with this lovely, darkened skin.
We laugh, we cry, we fight, we win.

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