This is my poem based on the novel “The Hate U Give” for McGeehan’s class. Khalil’s spirit is talking to the white community that doesn’t understand a lot that has happened to him, so he (Khalil) is telling the white society his story. 

Hi. My name is Khalil.
I’ma tell you a story, my only story
So please sit back and relax
This might take up your time
But hopefully you don’t hesitate and try

I’ma say it. I died from a white cop from his assumption
People that don’t understand will say, “What assumption?”
The fact that I died from a hairbrush and the color of my skin is that assumption
And that should never get anyone killed
Let me go deeper into this since you might be confused
What do you call a nigga like me living in the projects?
Your answer – a thug and a gang member
The reason? Because society makes stereotypes and puts the people that are different into boxes
These boxes are homes to my Black folks, my Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans, Mexicans, anyone who is a minority
And the only reason why you’d say such a thing, which is false, is due to the fact that society makes these assumptions for others to use against us

This is how I died.

Hold up, yall thought I was finished? Nah I ain’t even scratched the bottom of the pot yet. But for you to understand my death I need to backstack.

Listen here, my moms a druggie
And she had a problem
She had to pay off debt
Or she woulda got killed
So me being her knight I helped my mama out
It wasn’t a big deal to me
So the only thing i thought of was buying and selling them drugs
Why drugs?
Because it’s the easiest way to make money. Nah it’s always around me
But it ain’t my fault that I grew up like this
Seeing crack babies on the street
Got nothing to eat ‘cause they homeless
Well i guess it’s their fault that they homeless, right?
Of course not!
Is it their wrongdoing for living in a low-income community, which is also called the ghetto, but is it their fault?

Your answer – yes it is.
Well to you that’s reading this I got a trick question for you

HOW WOULD YOU FEEL
if you could barely get a job at a good place that pays enough money
But your race predicts everything nowadays?

HOW WOULD YOU FEEL
if you had to choose between food and lights when both are important?

HOW WOULD YOU FEEL
if somebody wanted you dead and never know when your last day is?

HOW WOULD YOU FEEL i
f you got pulled over by a white cop and went…
POW!
POW!
POW!
And did the number 3 on your back because of a hairbrush?

This was how I died. This is how my mama could’ve died.

You that’s reading this, I want to give you my final thoughts

HOW WOULD FEEL being a target everyday?
WHY WOULD YOU FEEL that type of way?
WHO WOULD YOU TURN TO in a situation like this because you don’t understand enough?

No matter how much I ask you, you still won’t understand enough.

This was my story, my only story.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 How Would You Feel? by Gogisgksoquili is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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7 Comments
  1. Whitlee 7 months ago

    This is very powerful, and incredibley well written. This issue is so important, and I’m glad you brought it up. It has so much emotion, yet it focuses on the issue. The emotion doesn’t overwhelm, and the information doesn’t either. There’s a lot of people who say racism isn’t a problem anymore, but they’re wrong. There is so much gun violence, and problems and a lot of it I see rooted in racism, misunderstandings, assumptions. In my religion class we watched a documentary on police brutality and the reality of racism. I’ll try to find the name for you!

  2. Zoe 8 months ago

    I really enjoyed reading this. Police brutality is one of the biggest problems facing America right now, and I really appreciate how you used your creativity to address such an important issue. Like Emma said, it is very frustrating when people refuse to accept that there is so much racism in our world today when there are news articles of Black people getting shot without reason every day. The Black Lives Matter movement is so important to show people that racism is still relevant and that we need to address it. Your poem really moved me, thank you for writing it.

    Looking forwards to your next post 🙂

  3. Mia 8 months ago

    Gogisgksoquili, this was a very powerful poem and I genuinely enjoyed reading it from start to finish. It is disappointing to still see so much racism in our world, and I hope that our generation has the capacity and knowledge to fix this unreasonable issue. The fact that people are dying over the color of their skin in the 21st century baffles me! My favorite part of your poem was every time you said “how would you feel” because you really manage to capture the readers’ attention and make them reflect on themselves if they were in that position. I also loved how you mentioned that it is not your fault that you were born the way you were, and that you should not be punished for it, because that is so very true and a forgotten aspect. I found a website which lists some tips for writing a great poem, and I hope you make it to the absolute best of your ability!
    https://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/creative1/poetry-writing-tips-how-to-write-a-poem/
    Thank you for writing this beautiful poem,
    Mia Kowalczyk

  4. Haley 8 months ago

    This is amazing. You chose such creative ways to really put the audience into Khalil’s shoes. The details truly make this piece powerful and real, though I appreciate the fact that you still left a few things unanswered / up to interpretation. I also loved the authenticity of this poem and how you handled what some people find such a difficult / uncomfortable topic to talk about. It NEEDS to be talked about more and brought to people’s attention. I truly found myself stepping back and saying, “Oh… How WOULD I feel??” – which I think proves that you accomplished your goal with this one! Thank you so much.

  5. Andrea 8 months ago

    Gogisgksoquili,
    I could feel the rage through the screen as I was reading your poem. You did an excellent job of putting yourself in Khalil shoes when you were writing. This poem shoes how racism is a prevalent issue and is overlooked when you don’t have the chance to tell your story. I thought the lines, “HOW WOULD YOU FEEL, if you had to choose between food and lights when both are important?” because it puts everything you talked about in the beginning into perspective. Keep writing and looking forward to hearing from you again.

  6. Logan 8 months ago

    This post was the most powerful thing I’ve seen on this website. It is amazing to hear you speak out about these kinds of issues. Racism is as big of a problem as it has ever been, and people need stories like these to shake them out of apathy. The more people who realize that there is still prejudice in our world, then the less prejudice will occur. Even though it is hard for people to face, they need to hear stories like these. Even if the police officer didn’t consider himself racist, he obviously still had some bias, and that is the issue we need to face.
    Thank you for an incredible post,
    Logan Seat

  7. Emma 8 months ago

    This post was real honest and emotional. I am so proud of this new age for people beginning to speak up about the racism they experience throughout their lives. A lot of people believe that racism doesn’t exist anyone because we’ve passed laws forbid it. But that doesn’t prevent the racism rooted deep inside us and the prejudices we hold whether we realize it or not. We need to face this no matter how difficult or uncomfortable it is. Thank you so much for sharing this powerful piece.

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