Surrounded

I was surrounded.
By whiteness –
The white man’s languages.
The white man’s history.
The white man’s perspectives.
The white man’s way of thinking,
But I wasn’t white
And that was said to be the better life.

I spoke their languages
With eloquence.
I wore their clothes
With dignity.
I lived their way of life
With confidence.

I sacrificed my hereditary.
The beautiful languages.
Our customary practices.
Our history.
For what was said to be a better life
Which did look better,

But does its internal and mental impact count?

Does the unease of
Being too white in a black community
But having too much melanin in a white community count?

Does the pain you experience being disregarded by those around you
Because it occurred in an environment of more “privilege” count?

Do the stares of all those who envy the “privilege” you are a part of
Yet deemed unappreciative when you mention the sacrifices you had to make
To try fit into that “privilege” count?

Does the fact that, sometimes, you cry yourself to sleep
Because you feel like this “privilege” has placed you
In societal purgatory?

It is said to be a better life,
It looks like a better life,
But does its internal and mental impact count?

Written By: Rethabile O Masobe

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