Theme for English B
This poem is so simply and honestly put that it's purity becomes complex. He addresses that he does not know who he is at 22, but he does know he's Harlem. He is the only black student in his class, the only one to know what it's like. He points out that being colored doesn't make him not like the same things as other people of different races, but he is different. We are all a part of each other, that is America. America is many different races, whether we want to be or not...we are. We all learn from each other, no matter color or age. Freedom, freedom is what white's have and black's are still fighting for to this day.
The lines where he says:
"As I learn from you,
I guess you learn from me---
although you're older---and white---
and somewhat more free."
gave me chills.
As I said before this is so simply put and yet hits so hard and is so true that you can't help but lose your breath. To this day saying everyone is equal is impossible, but being the only black in a room full of whites would intimidate me and make me uncomfortable. Yet this man does it and he has no problem saying exactly how it is.
At first when I read this I didn't really know where to start. Then I remember the title "Harlem" and where that is and what happens there. In Harlem everyone starts with a dream, and as the years go on those dreams disappear when reality sets in. There are gangs, children to feed and people to take care of so the dreams of individuals to get out of Harlem or make a difference are quickly forgotten in order for things to be taken care of. Being in a place and just sitting down and observing and seeing that everyone around you has given up a dream for someone or something else is eye opening. So what happens to these dreams that everyone gave up? Where do they go?