A Poem by Oluwaseun Matiluko: The Only Black Girl

If I didn’t exist I wonder what those

In my classroom

Would think of black people

What stereotypes they would have held onto

What myths they would have unconsciously held

As true.

 

When I was at school

Blacks were supposed to be stupid

Yet teachers were shocked when a

String of A*s came spinning from my arms

Top of my class

As I went to further lands

Than they thought possible for

“someone like”

Me.

“Wow”

Black people can be smart too.

 

When I was at school

Blacks were supposed to be ghetto

Twerking all the time, in a gang and maybe selling drugs to boot

Yet teachers were shocked when they saw

There was no cocaine in sight

My family a delight

Doctors, stethoscope to hand

Received pronunciation

No slang

“You’re so posh”

Black people can be wealthy too.

 

When I was at school

Blacks were supposed to be at the back

Where they slacked, as one classmate put it best

“Black people don’t really do anything do they?”

Yet teachers were shocked

When I rose to the top

And ran for every spot

Working to improve my lot

Until eventually they said

“You’re the hardest worker I have ever seen”

Black people can be leaders too.

 

So even though it’s not always fun

To be the only black girl in the room

I am glad to be the exception to the rule

To disprove what all they thought was true

To be the test model, the guide

The “black friend” they use to say that they aren’t racist

Because I dispel the myth of the monolith.

seun poems

 

Illustrations by Maria Paradinas.

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