Coexist (with a slam poem/speech vibe) | Teen Ink

Coexist (with a slam poem/speech vibe)

September 4, 2015
By elisenicolle PLATINUM, Redwood City, California
elisenicolle PLATINUM, Redwood City, California
25 articles 8 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
stuck in the suburbs, eyes glued to this screen
wake me up when the world is clean.

Oppression sounds like something from the past.
It sounds like a big word
that we’ve heard
in history class
with black and white pictures
and small font captions
when black men were lynched from tall trees
and women’s voices
could only be heard in the confines of houses
And people of color
weren’t even allowed to buy those houses
It sounds
like something from the past.
But then I listened.

I listened to the whole song of humanity
and heard the bass
That endless rhythm that runs
on the bottom of the human race
I heard the gunshots
and choke holds
the wage gaps
and rape stats
people hiding in the closets
condemned for their love
I heard racism in the airport
and racism with the cops
A sexual woman is a s***
but a sexual man is not
I hear people inferior for their sexuality
their culture
or religion
I heard it
louder than the riots after Ferguson

I heard the media tell us to look a certain way
you need lighter skin
and longer legs
and if you can’t shed some weight
maybe you can shed your tears
until your knees hit the cold bathroom tile
face in your hands
fingers picking at the flaws
like sharpie stains on your skin
that you just can’t remove
wondering what you did to deserve
this curse of ugliness?
Because someone told us we can only find self worth
in our appearance

the media tells us we should keep up with the Kardashians
but not keep up our confidence
It seems like no one  
has a good relationship with the mirror anymore.

I heard racism sneak through our halls
people throw around the
n-word and FOB
do you even know the history?
you may not be racist outrightly
but aren’t you subtly
perpetrating white supremacy
I heard someone ask
why black people were so butthurt about Ferguson,
“it’s not like THEY experienced slavery”.
I heard someone say to my muslim friend
“Go back to your country towelhead”
People saying they have “Jungle Fever”
and “Yellow Fever”
someone even told me they thought
mexicans were dirty.

and yeah, racist jokes can be funny
and light hearted
but we must remember that minority groups
are still called “minority groups”

I’ve heard people are FINE when they see the letters
LGBTQ on paper
but appalled when they take a human form
condemning the boy who likes boys
and the girl who likes girls
and the kid who fails to conform to gender roles at all
enforcing the idea that we ALL
must be cis-gendered and straight
calling people f***
and saying “that’s so gay”
society seems to say
if you’re not normal
you should be afraid

I don’t know why we are so afraid of individuality
but we seem to mask our fear with negativity
When did the word “Unique”
come to mean “inferior”?

just MAYBE
someone is different than you
different race, culture, or religion too
maybe they’re heavier, disabled, transgendered, or gay
or maybe they’re just a little weird
but that’s not to say
they are less
that’s not to say
they don’t deserve your respect

I wish oppression stayed in the history books
and people could find value in character
instead of in looks
i wish people could be friends with the mirror
and accept themselves
but that can only happen
if we accept everybody else
it’s hard enough when the media tells us
we’re not good enough
or white enough
straight enough
or smart enough
but it’s even harder when our peers tell us too.

so let’s all sing our own notes
because it’s the variety
that makes the harmony
and if anything
heritage fair is a time to be in harmony
it’s a time to celebrate our differences
unite our cultures
races and colors
and accept one another

Now I may sound like a barefoot, granola hippie
but my message is this:
if everyone opened their minds
we can ALL

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