To Be Young Black And Fail
To be young black and fail is a crime many can’t look past. Certainly, we know this. We internalize what it means about us and who it’s proving right. Rightly, we are paranoid. We walk around and act like it doesn’t matter — as if we have the ability to fail and still be seen as valuable. But we don’t. We know this. We were assumed to have failed before we spoke. But to fail when we do is fatal. Unforgivable. Completely black. Completely us.
But it’s not who we are, it’s just what happened. We can overcome failure and turn it into success. But no one believes us. No one cares. We’re black and we didn’t succeed. We’re black so the story was written before we got a chance to edit a thing. Perfection can’t be illusory. Perfection must be us. Because if it’s not, we failed. Because if not, we didn’t fail the system. Because if not, it’s just another story. Another black story.
But the burden is unforgivably heavy. The burden shouldn’t be on our brown shoulder blades, but it is. Every day. To be young, black and fail.