‘How Not to Be the Angry Black Girl’
by Naomi Dairo
Hampstead School, London, 2019
When your non-black friend asks to touch your hair,
don’t freak out, don’t start nothing, just let them.
When mad, DON’T! CLAP! LIKE! THIS!
– It makes you look ratchet.
Get used to wishing to be looked at by black boys,
the way the black boys look at white girls.
Don’t laugh too loud, don’t be too loud,
stay under the radar, hide your blackness.
Realise you are only pretty for a black girl
and every white boy who has been feeding you
that mess, is right, let his words change you.
Get rid of that kinky mess of a head and buy
the next olive-oil relaxer from your local Pak’s,
for a more accepted European look,
the chemicals should set you straight.
Avoid rain, kills perms and ruins the control.
Pay no attention to the Black Lives Matter protest
outside, those fools are always on a wild ride
and I’D rather choose the right to be alive
than be dead like the minorities on the side.
Turn the other cheek when they slap
racist comments onto your melanin,
let those words, like a hot iron sizzling
with the signature of your oppressor, brand your heart,
handle the pain like your ancestors, with silence.
Don’t get angry and get out of line, whisper this,
remember this, keep it in your mind:
‘I am living in a world that is not mine,
where my name is always on that Beware sign.
I am marked off with the skin that labels me
criminal and the ability I have to change that is minimal.’
Realise that you can never be like the Barbie
-style European beauty that was forced
into your mind at a young age, but you can be her slave.