People judge each other with just a look nowadays. They give you a once-over and they think they know everything about you. While you might not even notice you’re doing it (not gonna lie, I do it too), you’re judging them based on a stereotype, which is sometimes actually a form of racism. You might think that it’s meaningless, it’s not going to actually hurt anyone — believe me, it does. Just because someone looks a certain way or is a different race from you doesn’t mean they’re inferior to you in any way. The poem I wrote deals with the more serious consequences of the constant racism and stereotyping that happens in society nowadays.
My poem is about racism in modern society and focuses more on the stereotypes that come along with the race of a person, which is a type of racism as well. I feel like nowadays, stereotyping is a very common issue in society, so my poem’s theme is essentially how the race of a person shouldn’t matter; we’re all equal.
I used imagery in the third stanza to add some substance to the message of my poem because the first couple stanzas were abstract. Metaphors are also used in the third stanza to enhance the imagery. The narrator has an angry, accusatory tone in the beginning, but it shifts after a moment of realization. Then, the narrator reaches a conclusion and calms down. That moment of realization is in the fifth stanza, “Everything you’re saying I’ve already seen on the screens — maybe that’s why you’re like this”. This is saying that these racial stereotypes can be seen on TV, movies, books — everywhere. Since stereotypes have become such a part of our everyday life, people are “label[ing] [others] without even thinking”. The narrator realizes that all the categorizing is not completely the fault of these people, since the stereotypes are found wherever you look, and they’ve become almost ‘natural’ to label people with them. The word “color” doesn’t necessarily apply to only skin, it can also be used for hair: “Just because her hair is lighter”, which refers to the stereotype of blondes being not as smart, and the differences in skin colors can also refer to stereotypes of Asians being smart and blacks being athletic, “Who are you to decide who’s smart, who’s athletic?”. The rest of the poem goes back to the theme of how everyone is equal and we’re all humans, “just different colors”.
You fear what you don’t understand
Condemn and criticize
You hate the things you aren’t
Oppress and victimize
You punish me for something I can’t change
Persecute and terrorize
Equality isn’t equal
Freedom doesn’t come free for me
It’s different for you, but then again,
I wouldn’t know, would I?
You judge me without reason
I see it in your little smirks
And those taunting jibes that I hear
Even when you’re not around
It’s the yell of your voice
The punch of your fist
The fire in your eyes
Why do you say I can’t be the best at what I want?
Why must everyone fit into your little box?
Who are you to decide who’s smart, who’s athletic?
Who are you to tell me I’m not?
I guess you think you’re justified?
I guess no one ever told you you’re not?
What gives you the right to do this?
You think you’re being funny, being clever, being cool?
Everything you’re saying I’ve already seen on the screens
— maybe that’s why you’re like this.
Those cliches and labels
Are constantly blasted at you and me
Become the silent bullets you don’t notice you’ve shot
Until they’ve punctured my heart
You’ve labeled me without even thinking,
Like everyone in the world is your plaything.
I’m more like you than you’d like to think
We live under the same sky
Walk on the same Earth
You don’t have to like it
Sometimes I don’t either
Just because her hair is lighter
His skin is darker
Doesn’t mean we can’t like the same things
Be of the same status
Live in the same neighborhood
We both bleed red, in the end
Born with the same skin
The same eyes
The same hair
Just different colors
Featured Image: here