Don’t just look at me.
Don’t look past me,
or through me.
Don’t hear my dialect
and judge it as ignorance.
You speak one language,
I speak at least two.
See the entire person that stands before you.
Don’t see the locs,
the head wrap,
the beard, the tunic,
and dismiss me as “other,”
or less than you.
This isn’t an egotistical demand.
It’s humanity’s expectation.
It’s every soul’s cry.
My presence here is normal.
Look past the hoodie,
the iced tea and the bag of candy,
the life-threatening cell phone
or wallet in my hand
that you believe has the potential
to shorten your days.
See my child in the back seat.
See my fiancée sitting beside me.
See me without requiring additional justification
of my worthiness.
I’m supposed to be here.
My child’s life, my husband, wife, or intended’s life
is equal in value to anyone’s life in your world.
See me, but don’t demand I fit into your limited mold.
I’m fearfully and wonderfully made.
God broke the mold when he made me.
Therefore, I won’t play small for you.
And if you choose not to see me and mine,
I will not take accountability for your blindness.
It’s up to you to remove the scales from your eyes.
I can’t lead you to water if you dig your heels into the dirt,
and I certainly will not bring you water and force you to drink.
Because, the limited view
in which you choose to see people like me,
is how people will choose to see you.