Just Won’t Let Me Be

If I sing, I am a minstrel
Can’t dance, won’t smile because I’m “shuckin’ and jivin’”
If I don’t, I am an “angry black woman”
Can’t cook without Aunt Jemima’s head scarf
Can’t eat without watermelon and fried chicken
If I tell the truth, I am an Uncle Tom
If I don’t, it is because I can’t be trusted anyway
If I speak well, I am tryin’ to “sound white”
If I don’t, then I’m from the ghetto
Can’t think because I’ll be considered “uppity”
If I don’t, the white man will do it for me
Can’t go to college because “they” don’t want me there
If I do, I was admitted through affirmative action
Can’t gather because I’m planning a conspiracy
If I don’t, I think I’m better than my own people
If I am attractive, a Jezebel
If I’m not, a mammy
If I have children, they are pickaninnies
Can’t work because some say I’ll work harder
If I don’t, I am a welfare queen, a shiftless nigger
Can’t drive because I’ll be pulled over for three letters: DWB
If I do, the car is stolen
And no matter how I wear my hair, it’s nappy
Race just won’t let me be

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