National Youth Poet Laureate, inauguration show-stealer and 2019 honoree for The Root’s Young Futurists (yes, that was a humble brag) Amanda Gorman knows that her new-found fame won’t protect her from the ramifications of being Black in America. What’s the old saying? “Perform for the new president on Monday, earn a modeling career on Tuesday, perform at the Super Bowl on Wednesday, have multiple books climb to bestsellers lists on Thursday, just another negro in America by the weekend.”
OK, that’s not a real saying, but for many successful and prestigious Black people, it does coincide with reality, and on Friday, Gorman shared an experience on Twitter in which she described a common case of racial profiling—a case of simply being while Black in America.
“A security guard tailed me on my walk home tonight,” the 22-year-old wrote in a tweet accompanied by a link to a Washington Post article detailing her rise to fame in spite of American cruelty towards Black girls like the 9-year-old who was pepper-sprayed by Rochester, New York, police officers. “He demanded if I lived there because you look suspicious.’ I showed my keys & buzzed myself into my building. He left, no apology. This is the reality of black girls: One day you’re called an icon, the next day, a threat.”
“In a sense, he was right,” she continued in a follow-up tweet. “I AM A THREAT: a threat to injustice, to inequality, to ignorance. Anyone who speaks the truth and walks with hope is an obvious and fatal danger to the powers that be.”
Of course, you’ll see your fair share of color-redacted haters who won’t understand what the big deal is because they don’t have a clue what racial profiling feels like. Some will even say she’s lying because they think a woman who has been on a consistent winning streak since Jan. 20 still needs to clout chase—plus, getting America to believe Black women is always an uphill battle—but Gorman ain’t never been the type to shy away from speaking out about racism.
From the Washington Post:
Gorman’s first political memory was of her mother teaching her the Miranda rights, she told The Post in January.
“When you are a Black child growing up in America, our parents have to have what’s called ‘the talk’ with us,” she said. “Except it’s not about the birds and the bees and our changing bodies, it’s about the potential destruction of our bodies. My mom wanted to make sure I was prepared to grow up with Black skin in America.”
And this is why we Stan. Keep speaking out, Amanda Gorman, because no amount of fame or prestige will spare Black people from what it often means to be Black in this country.