By Button Poetry
Jahman Hill, performing at Rustbelt 2019 in St. Louis, MO.
Transcript provided by YouTube:
When the white girl says, “Cash me ousside, how bout dat?”
What she’s trying to say is, “Catch me outside. How about that?”
She’s trying to say is if you have problem with me,
we can proceed to exiting this facility under the premise
that once we have proceeded to the open air,
the rules, will no longer be the same.
In fact, it is highly probable to surmise that beyond these four walls,
outside to be exact, the rules no longer exist.
Allowing for us to engage in activities of which I can best describe as knucking
if you are in fact bucking, after taking all of this into consideration,
how much you’d be disposed to my proposition.
When a white girl says, “Cash me ousside. How about dat,”
she’s dropping hard consonants in order to sound harder,
to sound tougher.
She’s creating a caricature of black identity,
built on negative stereotypes,
and in her whiteness is reinforcing my blackness when she says,
“Cash me ousside, how about dat,”
what she means is her whiteness is fragile, her whiteness is fragile,
her whiteness is just as fragile as my masculinity.
What I mean is, I can relate.
I too have requested conference in an outdoor location,
followed by an inquiry of their thoughts on my proposal
in order to prove my manhood.
I too have lashed out in fear of being broken,
in fear of being seen as less than a man to them white boys.
Y’all, I know what it’s like to be the bully,
to mistake violence for a safe space,
to try and turn my body into Tom Brady,
my target into Randy Moss and make football out of these hands.
The funny thing is, I’ve only been in like two fights
both of which I lost.
In fact, if one more to “cash me ousside,”
I will recommend that we reconvene at an indoor location at a later date,
under the supervision of some administrative
or authoritative figure.
Basically, these hands ain’t as powerful as this mouth.
And I thought I could build a castle out of dropped hard consonants in shards
from my mother’s glass ceilings projecting the man
that I thought I was supposed to be but I was wrong.
So, when the white girl says, “Cash me ousside, how about dat,”
I get it. I can relate.
See, we were both reflections of our societal shortcomings,
too scared of shattering ourselves.
How about that?
(audience cheering and applauding)
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Photo credit: Screenshot from video