The Color Black Through Russia, India and China: A Dramatic Poem
This is a poem that was recited at the Martin Luther King Leadership Day which reflects on observations about being black throughout Salome Mosehle’s study abroad experience.
Thomas Chatterton Williams wrote of the power of travel, “the more I’d ventured from my own backyard and projected myself into the world—the more I found myself unwilling to preemptively cordon off any of it.” How has your travel changed the way you view the world and the people in it?
The Color Black Through Russia, China and India: A Dramatic Poem
Russia- A Black Woman’s Plight
On the streets of St. Petersburg, a black woman walked
With a burly white man, they talked
On Russian politics and the like
Economics and how oil prices took a hike
But to her surprise
Two white men came to her demise
They daunted and screamed, “Africa… Africa”
And followed her closely almost touching her.
The white burly man stood to protect her with deft
And to her good fortune they finally left
But no one can wipe her memory clean
And no one can wipe the color of her skin.
China- A Curiosity
Whether black or white, the curiosity abounds
Chinese people asking to take pictures all around
With you and your foreign looks
“Nee hao” is enough of a hook.
But to the black female, children point
Their fingers stretching strongly from their joints
For they have never seen such a pigment
Could this be part of an imaginary figment?
A black friend once said, after years in Shanghai
To the Chinese I’m a curiosity, I cannot deny
Initially I knew they meant no harm
But I can’t change my skin color, like I can’t change my palm.
India- The Black Stereotype
Brown people, black people very close hues
So there weren’t many different social cues
India indeed felt like a solace
Free from ignorance or straight malice.
But perceptions hid beneath the surface, you see
Stereotypes about you and me
Black people are strong, agile, well-trained
So fit, athletic but other topics, we choose to feign.
Am I saying that black is victimized?
Am I saying that black is perfect, not to be criticized?
No, I am saying that black needs a fresh paint brush
in someone’s brain- something more real, not something lush.
My small black and someone else’s
Might be the window to new addresses
The black man will now be free
In the minds of those who will let him be.