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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

A Poem

is it the fate of the black body to be a spectacle ? 
something to be used for the enjoyment of others . . . ?  
freshman year  of high school ln a majority white town it seemed  like English  teachers would become basketball recruiters  whenever I would walk into class 
Only to be shocked when I said  that I didn’t play it 
because the only thing more wondrous than a white person appropriating black culture is 
getting a black kid to play basketball  
like a sport invented by someone who wasn’t of black skin 
becomes a national pastime to young boys of color
to the point it becomes a defining characteristic  
to the point others will question you if you do not play it 
to the point that a black boy who goes to a white school is already labeled a basketball expert 
if he throws trash into a barrel call him Kobe 
writes a poem for a class assignment call him Kendrick
walks out of class early call him Kunta
if you call him your homie he might think you’re kindred 
next thing you know black kid gets catapulted to classroom Subject 
Suspect him of everything other than living his life  
Put his whole life under a microscope
Yet he is still microscopic
 and those who do good get signed to contracts in which they 
as long as they play within the boundaries 
risking lifestyle and limb on the court in order to bring smiles to the faces of millions 
Smile for the camera after they make the shot they made a  million
But still a million miles away from where they want to be 
Ignore the little boys in body bags 
I don’t know shit but  
I’ll be damned if a jersey isn’t a skin tag  
As if a piece of cloth with the number 23 aint the encapsulated persona of a black man 
Like Yu-Gi-Oh of the ghetto 
Throw on that jersey to make something whole of your hollow 
Ain’t really do shit but you get excited when you hear melo
and in actual fantasy leagues people can own their likenesses
Make themselves the sun in a galaxy full of black stars
Like Pokémon you gotta catch them all to become a supernova 
  bet money on whether they win they win or lose 
buying and selling grown men to the highest bidder 
They call it fantasy 
Like such a thing has never existed before
it seems that the only time that people want the black body is if it is a backdrop to recreational
entertainment 
like we are to be the the drowned out sample before the beat drops
as if blackness was a discipline of dance
an invitation for appropriation.  
now race is performative. 
as if it’s only purpose is to be provocative.
as if black is the paintbrush to bring color to the dull canvas of the country 
 And they have the nerve to complain when the paint starts chipping