My Black Life Matters: Unlearning the culture of silence and ‘keeping the peace’


On days like these,
I hate you.
I do.

I hate you for what your forefathers did,
I do.
And your foremothers too.

They say I shouldn’t say these things.
Its not fair
That the crimes of your ancestors,
Which will affect the future of my children,
Befall you.

They say it wasn’t all their fault.
My people had a hand in it too.
But why should I bear the weight of their shame
— I do —
Whiles excusing you?

You, with your Abbeys and Monuments to Systemic Racism,
Strong and still serving after x-hundred years,
Whiles our most valuable piece of real estate
Is a crumbling slave castle
That brings in


An important memorial
Tourism insists we keep, without using.
Yet, who does this memory feed,

The hungry?

You, with your symphony orchestras and opera houses
But a missile away
Mothers scream in silent soprano
Victims of a war
Triggered by a line drawn
Long before
They were born.

You, who have me begging
To enter your country
For an education
On my history.

And even before I turn the pages
Of your version of my truth
I am reminded to keep my
Angry eyes away from you.

To remember the role of the Allies
That fought by our side
Who risked their presidency and their lives
So I may have

So I may have

Like it wasn’t my right.

No, I’ve tried it your way
-To quell the hate –
But what doesn’t fall on you
Is transformed into internal shame

It has me speaking my name
In a borrowed accent,
Trading my cloth for your suit
In a country of degrees
That range
From 31 to 32

It has me accepting mediocrity
From my government and restaurants alike;
The food is cold
I don’t send it back
But under my breath, I remark
As for Ghanaians.

And then I board the Great Escape,
Cross my legs,
The pilot says settle in
So I begin, nodding in agreement
With a scathing, international article about
The begging, sycophantic nature of

The African.

The air hostess accidentally knocks my knee
I’m so sorry,
I beg,
For her forgiveness

But when does the hate end? You ask,
I respond, When the healing is allowed to begin
And you stop requiring me to be the bigger person.

When I am free to point out – without guilt –
The means to your developed end.

When I can shout at you
For being painfully insensitive
Without being shot
Down as crazy, black
And primitive.

When you accept that this is not peace.
It’s an impressive, concrete dam
Soon to burst at its seams
If you don’t let my anger


Its true,
History is finicky
And with the flap of a butterfly wing
It could easily have been my ancestors
Enslaving you.
But I’d like to believe,
In that alternative universe,
I would understand
If on days like these,
You hated me too.

About Yaba Armah

Yaba is a Ghanaian storyteller and founder of Tail'sEnd: A company that aims to trade stories for a change in mindset. When she isn't telling stories, she's a conspiracy theorist with a disturbing lack of respect for the difference between correlation and causation. But that is a tale for another time. To see more of her work, visit her website at

2 thoughts on “My Black Life Matters: Unlearning the culture of silence and ‘keeping the peace’

  1. Yes to everything about this! At some point in time I also thought that avoiding talking about these issues was neutrality. Little did I know that in the world we live in there is really no such thing as neutral. Silence is the biggest endorsement of the aggression against people of colour that there is. Great read!

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