Lessons in Microaggression
He whistles the punchline through thorn-sharp teeth:
“Shadrach, Meshach, and a Bad Negro.”
Just as “girl”
always means (white) girl
“negro” always means (bad) negro
She has never eaten Girl Scout cookies,
or listened to A Tribe Called Quest.
I bring her a box of Samoas and
People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
We smoke dope from a bowl named Gladys.
She has always preferred old lady names:
Laverne Blanche Mildred.
“Can I Kick It?” comes on and she says,
“I know this one.”
I explain to her that this is called a sample.
She begins to sing “Walk on the Wild Side,”
doing her best Lou Reed impression.
And the colored girls go doo doodoodoodoo doo doo doo
The only part she knows the words to.
At karaoke, the (white) people change that word to “ninja.”
I wonder if they show this same courtesy at concerts,
or when singing along in the car. When the radio plays
the clean version, I hear one faint voice say, “nigga.”
This is The Breakfast Club on cable.
When they say, “flip you,” I laugh.
I dub the word “fuck” with my own voice.
This is not The Breakfast Club on cable.
Black people exist in this world.