Poetry from Kha’Lil
Kha’Lil is a bundle of energy wrapped up into one of the funniest, quirkiest, kindest human beings I have ever met. A day never went by in my class that he wasn’t making me laugh except the occasional day when we were butting heads because we both are fervid people. He is a passionate, vibrant young man who has educated me more than he will ever know and made me a better person. I am very blessed that I was able to be his teacher.
—Kelli Gehrke, GSA (Genders & Sexualities Alliance) advisor, Sussex Technical High School digital publishing and design teacher
BY KHA’LIL WHALEY (they/them, he/him)
To be an ally to all black people, you must first understand that you are implicitly biased. We all are. And it’s our job to under-stand how to check our bias, learn, grow, and teach others. As a black person, I have seen time and time again how film and television has characterized my community as one single caricature based on stereotypes. I had to learn that my peers were not what I saw on screen. I’m more than black you see on screen. This poem is my younger self learning the absur-dity of the screen.
On the Screen
On the screen,
I see a black man that looks much like my Father.
That black man sips alcohol and screams profanities at his
In my kitchen,
I see my black man, finishing up dinner just in time for my mom
to get back from work.
That black man burns his finger on a hot pan and whispers
profanities to himself.
On the screen,
I see a black man on the street corner rapping “It Takes Two” by
Rob Base, my Father’s favorite song.
That black man is unkempt, and his mustache isn’t tamed.
In my living room,
I see my black man, vacuuming the living room floor to the song
“It Takes Two.”
That black man is unkempt, and his mustache isn’t tamed
because he knows I think it’s pretty cool.
My black man is your black man.
And if you don’t have a black man
You only have the black man on screen.
You can not know a black person, if you are color blind. Our
colors are beautiful.
Colors, plural. ▼
Barbara Antlitz, CAMP Rehoboth Youth Coordinator, is working with GSAs in middle and high schools in Sussex and Kent Countries, and with other groups supporting LGBTQ+ youth. Barbara can be reached bantlitz@camprehoboth