Wednesday, March 31

ethan on being black, gay, and deaf

I've always been black.
I mean, that's not exactly something
that you can hide, right?
I couldn't climb in a closet
or go to a special school
or anything.

I was just black.
Everyone around me
knew that I was black.
Everyone around me
knew that I couldn't hear
but every once in awhile--

Well, they forget
when they are all the same.
But blackness is such an intense
identity-creating experience
Being a black man in America
is not easy, see
it's not easy to walk in a store
even the black boys know
that you're black.

I didn't have a family
to come out to.
There was only my homeboys,
and my lover.
But he already knew,
he'd drawn it on the
soft prison bars
of my soul,
and he ripped away
the metal and he
made me who I am.
He already knew.
He's more apart of me
now than my blackness.

My homeboys, before they even knew,
they saw his face and they laughed.
When they look at me they see
their nigga, someone who
will watch their back
even if it means jail.

When they see him
they don't see what I see.
They see a skinny little
white boy who never
knew no harsh times.

The reaction these
strong Black men
who fight for rights every day
the response to my
skinny little white boy,
it was enough.
It was enough for me
to know I didn't belong there
anymore, that that world
of blackness wasn't mine
that I had been expelled,
disowned, that I didn't
need a real family
to kick me out
because they would do it
for me.

I didn't even say anything.
I touched his hand. He touched
back with the gentleness
I know to expect.

The boys looked surprised,
you know, they looked
real surprised
when he and I walked
out of the restaurant
hand in hand.

I don't see things
in black and white anymore.
I see shades of love

Now all my friends is
Not because they're white,
but because they are
who they are.
They don't have to
put up some front.
They don't have to
and do stupid shit
to prove themselves.
They just are.

And so am I.


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