The Being Black Project.

Dunno how I forgot to post this piece, but I decided to considering it was laying idle in my drafts section. Besides, its been a while since I posted anything 🙂 . I’ll be returning soon though, count on it…In the meantime…enjoy.



What does it mean

To carry my particular pigment?

Unaccomplished?  inferiority?

Rip your outdated memo and listen closely,

Because it means power, my friend

What else confirms our superiority

Other than the relentless effort

By supremacists to hide such knowledge.


My role is not to convince you

That what I say is true,

But hear this,

What you see on me as melanin,

You’d best reaffirm

As unintelligible dark matter

Coursing through my veins

At unsettling speeds

Settling well under my skin.


It would be convenient wouldn’t it,

To have a “Black history” month?

How kind of you,

To reduce our vast history

To a month,

As if it all fits …

Why is there no “white history” month?

If not to raise peoples’ consciousness

To the idea that we’re different.


Well then, if being different means

I don’t end up as manipulative

Or power hungry as you

Then I, in kind

Whole-heartedly accept.


– Original-Dante ©2016


Art by: JoelKelly

43 Replies to “The Being Black Project.”

    1. Thank you Kim…I also love the art, the artist really knew what they were doing….and yes, its good to be back, although not fully lol I’ve missed you all 🙂 mgot a lot of catching up to do with posts…let the good times roll! 😀

  1. Love the piece, Michael. Black History month, however, was started by Carter G. Woods on, an African-American historian, and founder of my fraternity. It is a misnomer in that history is history and when we look at it removed from the whole it dilutes and skews perspectives. Mainly discouraging those of other ethnicities from learning it.

  2. I’m white and 79 years old. I enlisted in the air force in 1956 and went to tech school in Biloxi, Mississippi for a year. For the first time I saw the separate waiting rooms (bus and train), restrooms, and water fountains. Then I transferred to Charleston, South Carolina and saw more of the same. I even saw it to a lessor degree while stationed in the West Indies.

    While in the forth grade in Southern California my best bud was a black boy. I have no idea how we hit it off, and I’ve forgotten his name. What I recall most about him was him asking me who had the best legs in our class. He said it was Julie, a pretty little black girl. I was not yet a leg man, so I had to take his word on the subject.

    One day we met before school took up and he was so excited about Jackie Robinson getting into the big league (1948?). I was happy for him, but years would pass before I fully understood the gravity of what had happened and how he felt.

    Thirty or more years ago I found a book in the discard bin of a used bookstore. The subject matter was slave songs. I suppose it was discarded because the word Negro was somehow in the title. I don’t recall how. Unfortunately, it vanished like so many things I can’t account for. Another mystery.

    One would think that 79 years would arm a person with some knowledge. But I don’t have a clue as to how to fix the black/white issue that never goes away. I wish I could help, but all I can do is watch.

  3. I love history. I tell the young blacks men and women at work. You came from a great people. Know your history and heritage. I tell them stories abou what I saw and I learn when I was station in Africa and other parts of the world. I wish the men and women who saw the USA changed, Wrote more books. Freedom costs a lot and all of us must understand. Never allow anyone to look down at you. My dad knew racism. A Mexican with a white woman in 1957. He told me. “Education, education and more education. Never allow anyone to look down at you.” A powerful write my friend.

      1. Few people research their history. In the year 1000. Africa was the place of knowledge and great advances. Like all races. We must respect all people and know where we came from.

  4. Welcome home :). “The relentless effort by supremacists to hide such knowledge.” YES!!! And although society has burdened us with the responsibility to convince the world of our worth, you indeed are correct in saying that it is NOT our role to do so. Love everything about this!

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on my poem! When I clicked to your site and scanned the headings, “Being Black 101” was an immediate draw. You bring to the fore here some vital truths that society by design would have us never perceive, much less question:

    “What else confirms our superiority
    Other than the relentless effort
    By supremacists to hide such knowledge”


    “How kind of you,
    To reduce our vast history
    To a month…”

    I couldn’t help but notice that these two excerpts, in particular, could easily be about the experience of women in the face of systemic misogyny, and in that vein, the concepts resonate very strongly with me.

    Please forgive my ignorance, if my impulse to draw the comparison between racial oppression and gender oppression seems to miss the mark. I would never presume to co-opt or claim to know firsthand about another’s experience of normalized oppression. Brave testimonies like yours are an important reminder for me to remain cognizant of the fact that — regardless of my gender, and regardless of how hard I try to challenge norms and strive for “enlightenment” as a matter of course — I am also necessarily a product of white privilege.

    I also agree that inherent in the designation of “Black History Month” and “Women’s History Month” (which, granted, are in many ways emblematic of progress in terms of advancing awareness of social justice issues and promoting change) is the subtext (a.k.a., deafening refrain) of “You matter… but only 1/12 as much as white males.” I mean, how many millions of people (who are probably otherwise open-minded and well-meaning) have reflexively responded to Black Lives Matter with the lamest rejoinder ever uttered on the planet that All Lives Matter — as if verbalizing the former sentiment somehow poses an existential threat to the latter? Sigh…

    Anyway, thanks for giving me lots to think about!

    1. I love the way you think. Escaping the sanitized version of the “over-arching” reality force fed down our throats is all I strive for…I’d like to believe that because most women face passive oppression by society they have a general idea of how it feels to have a ceiling placed over their heads (much like black people)

      Its a terrible feeling, knowing that your race is seen as secondary; knowing that even some of our own are indoctrinated to the point of seeing the same thing…Black History month feels like an awareness of our culture, but contained…why did it have to get a grace period?

      I find that the solution is not undermining other races in an effort to empower mine, but rather to make people aware of what we’re capable of.

      Many people tend to get offended but its the truth, we have a ceiling…it becomes so apparent when you face racism…When I visited South Africa I would get looks in restaurants with the underlying message “How could you afford to be here?” Such vibes always leave me angry lol but that’s besides the point…I would enjoy to hear more of your thoughts pertaining to this issue or others 🙂

      1. I would very much value the opportunity to continue our exchange, too! I’m having difficulty finding words of any sort today (unless you count tears), and so I’m relying on the wise, self-possessed words of others for the time being…

        Yours in solidarity,

        Steph Harper

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