Academic journal article Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy

I Can't Breathe

Academic journal article Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy

I Can't Breathe

Article excerpt

I mean I physically cannot afford to breathe

In brown skin because it is inherently toxic

They say I'm worthless

Because brown skin is worthless

And I can't breathe

Because I'm choking on my melanin skin

I can't breathe

In all this melanin, American skin

Because I'm choking on your suspicious expectations

On your stereotypical degradation

Lingering colonization, internalized self-hatred

I can't breathe

In this air that was never made for me

You don't care because this air was never made for me

Can't you see, America, what you are doing to me?

Mentally, emotionally, and physically killing me

Cock, load, and shoot-choke, hold, and boot

You killing me

I CAN'T BREATHE

I guess we was never supposed to breathe here

'Cause this land wasn't never our birthplace to begin with in the first place

But it is the worst place and the best place for us to be

'Cause it ain't nowhere in the world for us to breathe

We been suffocating in this world since we crossed them seas

We come from a lineage of niggas who wasn't never supposed to breathe

Only supposed to breed young niggas who wouldn't breathe past age eighteen

And now them same young niggas killing them young niggas

Chasing the American dream

But they still can't breathe in this air that you claim is mine

They believing your lies and chasing the high

Until one day they lose their life and realize

They wasn't never even breathing in the first place

We wasn't never even breathing in the first place. …

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