Esther Nunoo ’17: Excerpts from “Talking About Talking”

Esther Nunoo reads her poem, "Talking about Talking."

Esther Nunoo reads her poem, “Talking about Talking.”

Esther Nunoo is a member of the Intergroup Dialogue program, which is learning to train students to talk about race issues on and off college campuses.

We talk a lot about talking here
Have a problem? Talk it out
Bad day? Talk about it
So I’m gonna talk

I came from a place where I could ask almost anyone
Whether they believed in God
Where they were from (hood, island, country, didn’t matter)
Without them worrying whether I was judging them
And I asked because I was curious
And it was fine

Lets talk about how some people throw around the word liberal
How some people are liberal until you disagree with them

Back to college
Pass all you classes and your exams
Lets talk about passing
I have usually pass in life
Exams, quizzes, classes, blunts? meh, sometimes drinks
I’ve passed stores, ex-friends, mailboxes, houses
I’ve passed through towns and passed through dark stages in my life
Maybe that’s why I didn’t think twice as I passed for college
I know some black folk will get upset when I say this but that’s exactly what it is.
Passing
You wrote your essay in a certain type of English
Passing
I got here for programs for minorities
Passing

We carry the pride and shame of our ancestors on our skin and in our
wallets
They tell me it doesn’t matter
That I’m here now
And that my circumstances don’t define me
But they do
They matter
The fact that my pops didn’t go to college matters
The fact that I had the privilege of teaching my mother algebra matters You didn’t ask your parents to go to college
You didn’t ask your mom to become a crack addict You didn’t ask them to be born into a wealthy family He didn’t ask to be put into foster care
She didn’t ask to not have food on the table
Heck, none of us asked for any of the cards life dealt us! we didn’t even ask to be born!
And although I see the unfairness
There is absolutely nothing we can do about

I come in peace
With confusion
I offer these pieces of me and I hope you can help me understand
I USED to not identify as black
My mother told me I was not black
She told me I was Ghanaian
I am not African
I cannot represent all those countries all at once
I am one person
I am not black in Ghana
But I am black in America

I aint knocking silence because sometimes silence is good
Like right after you watch a really good movie with a really good friend
and ya’ll are just sitting there soaking up the dopeness ya’ll just watched
That silence is good
But the silence that accompanies our conversations when we “talk about
everything”
That silence aint too hot

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