My DNA showed me that I am exactly who I thought I was.
I was excited at first
But as it settled within me,
I realized what it meant for my ancestors – and living family.
There is some yt family out there
– somewhere in America –
The children of confederates and white supremacy,
living off of the deliberate opression of my ancestors.
Thriving off of the bones, pain, and fear of my ancestors
Robbed of the wealth and opportunity
We wept, and prayed, and died for,
And they think it is their birthright
Their family – your family – goes on vacation
While mine dies of exposure,
Because we do not have central heat.
Thrown into darkness by power grids designed to preserve yours
and kill mine.
While your yt family is at the Biltmore for winter break
Mine is at home freezing, living without power
No central air or heat
Using the oven as a heater
Your family inherits wealth
Millions and billions and trillions of dollars,
built on the backs of my ancestors.
While mine inherit hypertension, diabetes, and other disabilities.
A direct consequence of the torture our ancestors were forced to lived through.
Modern descendants forced to take out thousands in student loan debt
For a slightly higher chance at equality
For a fistful of grass on an uneven the playing field
Your family is the gatekeeper of “healthy eating”
While mine is denied access to resources
Like clean water and safe housing,
The barest of minimums
Our neighborhoods made to be the center of food deserts
It makes me think-
Are my ancestors in a piece of furniture?
Does some white family out there sit on a chairs made of what is left of my ancestors?
Squashing them, stifling
“We can’t breathe!”, they scream.
Ignored, time and time again
“It is justified,” they say, “this is the way things were meant to be”.
“Our hair has been desecrated, it is sacred!”
“Your hair is uncouth, nappy, ghetto, unprofessional”, they tell us.
Our hair and our bodies policed until it feels like it is no longer ours.
Were they eaten?
Boiled alive, in a vat of hot sugar?
Forced to work and starved to death in the Devil’s Punch Bowl?
“Here lies the negros, unworthy of name or marker”
Are my ancestors teeth in a museum somewhere?
Labeled as, “George Washington’s Teeth”
And now, in present day-
They want our hair, our skin, our style
Our food, our music, our Ebonics, our celebrations
Our neighborhoods, the ones they forced us into
They can keep our systemic oppression,
our poverty, our wealth gap,
our discrimination, our fear, our rage,
But not our culture.
The only sacred things our ancestors had left that had meaning,
Passed down to me.
Ours and ours alone.