James Hudson

Why We Dance - Poem by James Hudson

There are things that frustrate me about white privilege.

For example, if you can take a selfie after 7pm
then you are in fact experiencing white privilege.
Cause y'all know my post sunset snapchats be looking like
two eyes and a smile.
Yet still there is nothing as polarizing as a dance floor.
I do believe that racial inequality would be solved if
white people knew how to dance.
Let me explain.

Friday night high school dances were my shit.
I walk in.
T-Pain is singing, and people are grinding.
Except there are two different types of grinding.

Exhibit A.
White boy walks behind white girl, and sways awkwardly.
White girl sways equally awkwardly.
Looking like two pieces of uncooked spaghetti.

Black people do not do it like that.
Black people grab a hand.
Grab a hip and shake it like a salt shaker.
Tryna see how many limbs we can get into the air.
One two three four.
I bet you didn't know black people could fly.

White people look terrified.
What are they doing?
Are they hurting each other?
Is that what rhythm is?
You just don't get it.
This is a dance that only we know…and then it happened.
The DJ starts fucking up. Gwen Stefani.
This is bananas.
This shit is bananas.
And the white people rallied.
They marched into a war they had already won,
and just like that all 4 black people in the room realize
that in the darkness of the dance floor
we could not see ourselves.
And no amount of shade thrown can make them stop.
Always outnumbered to our own songs.

White folks I tried.
I tried to dance like y'all.
I tried to dance off beat, but my body is a bad liar.
I even tried to fist pump.
But, fist pumping never made sense to me.
Like my fist was meant to go up, but not come back down.

What I'm trying to say is
there are things that frustrate me about white privilege.
It is the fact there exists for you the option of not understanding
and I'm not just talking about the club.
I'm talking about Iggy Azalea trying to have her cake walk and eat it too.
It's knowing that for our culture to exist bodies had to die in atrophy music

What i'm trying to say is that it has taken me so long to say that
I am proud to be black
to say it like it means something.
And whether I found that on the radio,
in my mother's cooking,
or in the electric slide.
I dug my hands so deep into the dirt that my fingers finally felt like roots,
yet still I know that we can share this dance floor.
So long as you do not try to window shop our pride,
just check it,
respect it,
and know why we dance.

Topic(s) of this poem: black african american, culture, dance

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, June 15, 2017

Poem Edited: Thursday, June 15, 2017

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