Camouflaged Racism

Throughout my life, I was identified by others as an athlete. I was taught to keep my head down, focus on sports, and be the best athlete I could be. From a young age, society indoctrinated me to be cautious of what I said so that others would feel comfortable. As a result, when I started college, I felt short-changed in all other aspects of my life. I had a very difficult time expressing how I felt and the hardships I have faced. One evening, I found myself binging on spoken poetry and began to venture into it, as I appreciated the vulnerability of the form. I began writing and found that writing poetry is my best way of understanding the world, myself, and who I am within society. Shortly after I launched into writing poetry, I started sharing my poems with others.

The beauty of this type of writing allows me to become comfortable in my vulnerability. It allows others to embark on a journey that they may have already experienced themselves, or learn about something they don’t quite understand. I wrote this poem to share the conflicts and battles I constantly face in society. This poem is a letter to people who may not fully understand the frustration from my point of view. I write poems for myself and share with those who want to listen.

Truthteller Kieanna Stephens values sharing vulnerability through poetry, and believes that the only way to a better tomorrow is understanding today. Her goal in writing poetry is to help people comprehend the experiences of others—including the impacts of racism.
Kieanna Stephens

About the Author | Kieanna Stephens

Kieanna Stephens is a Canadian university student studying Sociology and Medical Anthropology & Global Health at the University of Washington. Her passion to understand the world and educate others is what fuels her drive to be the most honest and vulnerable woman she can be. She values connecting with others and spending quality time with loved ones, which usually includes beautiful mountain hikes.

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