And you calling me colored??
When I born, I black.
When I grow up, I black.
When I go in sun, I black.
When I scared, I black.
When I sick, I black.
And when I die, I still black.
And you white people.
When you born, you pink.
When you grow up, you white.
When you go in sun, you red.
When you cold, you blue.
When you scared, you yellow.
When you sick, you green
And when you die, you grey…
And you calling me colored??
Variously attributed to Josh White, “an African child”, Malcolm X, the Oglala Lakota, and an anonymous pupil of King Edward VI School, Birmingham, UK; but most likely one of various renditions into English from the French of a poem by Senegalese poet and first president of Senegal Léopold Sédar Senghor (1906-2001).
81 Responses to “And you calling me colored??”
- majo says:
thank you, it is very interesting and has come from the innocent heart
- Bedish says:
Great poem, I love it! Such a smart kid.
- marta says:
Loved it…Children are amazing…that´s why teaching them gives me so much pleasure. thank you!
- nashwan says:
thanks.. it is very nice words ….. they make me laugh and think
- Piet says:
It’s really touching me… Thank you to bring me meaning smile
- Issy Obu's says:
Nice Poem, makes me think of who I am inside me.
- Janiya says:
hmm,,cool poem,,direct came from the heart of innocent child,,keep it up
- Duy Nguyen says:
I can’t believe this poem came from a child. I has a precious lesson for people all over the world, especially who hate black people as well as Asians.
- princess says:
I think this is the best poem,not only for 2006 , for 2007,2008,2009…………………….
I have never read a poem like this..
Superb and Amazing poem.
- YOUSSEF says:
i really admire the deepness of this child’s thinking and the great imagination he is using in here
wish he can continu and go farther ;i can admit that he s changed my perceptions of colors
- wendy says:
I’m so touched make me smile & think inspires me a lot thank you for sharing some thoughts you are so lovely!
- April says:
When I read this poem, I can’t image it is from a child. I love it so deeply! Hope this child give us new surprises.
- Cody Bryant says:
well reading it im half black,.. and it says alot and means alot. its saying so much. it hits the color thing right on the dot. when i cold, i black when u cold u blue. =D i love it so much!!!! my whole poetry class read this and loved this.. hope we see much more… from this child:) hopfully… it opens our eyes to c children not only as jus learning and look at them as learned, experienced, and wise.
- samanthaine joseph says:
a great poem from a very insightful child. it really gets you thinking also. i love it! :]
- Marina says:
A very nice poem.Short and smart.I like it.This child should continue writing poems because he is really good at it.
- Lily says:
I want to e-mail this poem to my friend,because she doesn’t agree her daughter to marry with a Hindu.
- Mutiara says:
That’s an amazing poem.
- Jarmi says:
It is very nice poem 🙂
- janny says:
this poem is so touching to my heart .it give me lots of thinking. from this child’s eye the colour – racial discrimination is still around the world.
- abdirahman mohamud says:
well done kid..well done pride future infront of you …i cannot wait him untill he write another poem..amazing..bye
- Tuyet Trang says:
What a nice poem! When i read it I remember the lesson that I learned when I was a school girl, alesson about the discrimination between Black and White. It touch me. It makes us think about us. Have you ever looked down the poor, HIV patients, Black even one time? Waiting for nice poems from this smart child.
- razika says:
this chid wants to give us love,he wants that our world be full of love and humanity,we should believe in these ,
a good lesson from a child
- HILDA says:
It is a great truth. It is beatifull poem.I loved it….
- Bayu Setiawan says:
woozy.. amazingly wonderful poetry..
i write poem too. i hope we can share about poetry. your poetry so simply but hue yeah it’s nice to read and meaning
- DK says:
White is a color.
If no color, either truly black (as good as blind) or transparent.
(BTW, america was not “discovered”. It was there before with natives.)
- thietcuaemhd1989 says:
- David says:
Amazing how hoaxes persist. If I told you it was written by a rich black republican, would your view of it change?
- rasha says:
When we read this words maybe we forget maybe we never forget the efforts in the world , and this the important point ” apartheid ” of color, nations or races, religions..ect. At all times we allege progress but we do not .
This feeling we share TOGETHER in all of the world ” human feelings ” , but if we cant expression we must do . Respect and affection each other .
* we: who have more or less resposibility .
- boedy says:
that poem is very impressive, i know what are you feel, but actually you must realize that the god create everything should have different function, and each function are needed, and we must realize that no body perfect, we need each other, and i hope you never to give up!!!!, let’s rebuild the new world
- Boumahdi says:
That’s really amazing. The white people should uproot the idea that black people are different from them. All human beings are the same. The difference is a question of ethics and respect.
Stop being racist! Start to think that your discriminatory ideas cause much pain and suffering to others.
- Queen_Of_World says:
hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh u make me laugh it;s soo imazing boeam
as ones which in Arabic boeam .
if u wanna not call u black just join 2 my religion which is Islam <3
we have different colors and different languages but we have only one God 🙂 beace
- anka says:
great.. i am fascinated… 🙂
- muriel henry says:
This poem is a tranlation into English of a famous poem by Leopopld Sédar Senghor , written in French , so sorry to disappoint you!
Here it goes :
Cher frère blanc,
Quand je suis né, j‘étais noir,
Quand j’ai grandi, j‘étais noir,
Quand je suis au soleil, je suis noir,
Quand je suis malade, je suis noir,
Quand je mourrai, je serai noir.
Tandis que toi, homme blanc,
Quand tu es né, tu étais rose,
Quand tu as grandi, tuétais blanc,
Quand tu vas au soleil, tu es rouge,
Quand tu as froid, tu es bleu,
Quand tu as peur, tu es vert,
Quand tu es malade, tu es jaune,
Quand tu mourras, tu seras gris.
Alors, de nous deux,
Qui est l’homme de couleur?
- Rose says:
This Poetry is strong, very strong. It’s beautiful.I liked.
- Athieng Majak says:
Wat a gifted kids…… u said it all baby Africa
- adou says:
a kid with great talent. after growing up, he can become a leader who fight for their own rights. just like Martin Luther King.
- duyennguyen says:
I like!!!!!!…. It verry great…
- Me says:
A powerful poem, and in the original version by Leopopld Sédar Senghor (thanks Muriel Henry!), very beautiful.
But let’s try a thought experiment. Imagine the same poem, only with the colours reversed and written by a white child. Imagine that the phrase “And you white people” was instead “And you black people.” What does it mean now?
“The white people should uproot the idea that black people are different from them.”
Yes, they should. But racism isn’t exclusive to white people.
- Iniakee says:
true true true.. I love it obamama! nonje hante be wat suh!
- rose says:
Can racial discrimination be so harmful that even little children suffer from as well as grown/mature people?
Until when humanity will keep suffering from such miseries.
- Jerianne says:
I was born pink but dont terin ren red I stay sam coler my mum theo chainges lick that My dad dosent eather
- ferdaouss bakri says:
amazing poem….you fascinated me
- Steve Todd says:
It’s a quote from Malcolm X and the real version is:
“When I was born, I was black. When I grow up, I’m black. When I’m ill, When I die, I’m black. But you – When you’re born, you’re pink. When you grow up, you’re white. When you’re ill, you’re green. When you go out in the sun, you go red. When you’re cold, you go blue. When you die, you’re purple. And you have the nerve to call me Colored?”
- Shayan says:
I thing the kid is talented. Not only in looking the world but also in words!
- faisal says:
i am so love it, meaningfull,let us to wish for their freedom so touching in deep my heart. i hope God always keep them for anything.
- jeramia parana says:
i first heard this poem my sophmore year in high school , that was 1997 , at a poem recital . And it has stuck with me ever since . It is the true essence of poetry , to make people feel something in just a few words . And sometimes the so obvious truth that is not realized until , unfortunately and shamefully , a child makes us aware of it .
- motahare says:
It’s a very impressive,i love it.
- Yeoun Varley says:
As far as I’m concerned, this is not a poem of a child in 2006. I first encountered this poem about 13-14 years ago when I was in college in the US–that’s like year 1997 or so. I’m not a black but still it struck me so hard–this instantly became one of my favorite poems. I heard that it is written by Malcolm X and he died in 1965 so you can assume how old this poem is. I don’t know where this story of little African child is from, but no, it is not a work of a child unless the child plagiarized it.
When I was born, I was black.
When I grow up, I’m black.
When I’m ill, I’m black.
When I go out in the sun, I’m black.
When I’m cold, I’m black.
When I die, I’m black.
But you –
When you’re born, you’re pink.
When you grow up, you’re white.
When you’re ill, you’re green.
When you go out in the sun, you go red.
When you’re cold, you go blue.
When you die, you’re purple.
And you have the nerve to call me coloured?
- Abrar says:
Whoever has written it, i m sure he is black. And i think its a result of pain he would have gone through of being called black……. Very nice poem.
- no name says:
- Xiaoyi says:
Colored should be a meliorative word which means colorful in Chinese.In western culture it’s different.Everyone should be equal.Because we all are human beings, and why we deny that He is different ?
- barf man says:
ass crazy!!! lmfao!!! 🙂
- pierre corso says:
whoever ,black ,white or other colour ,wrote this poem, is crying out his pain,bitterness and anger to the rest of the world. The point is what we all have done to make the world better after reading his poem?
- svetlana says:
It’s a pretty nice chance to laugh at a silly face of the human race/
- aijaz hussain says:
I thinlk this poem has been written by a Black child who has been dicriminated.
- Colorful Girl says:
This poem, only using a few discriptive words, makes such an impact.
- Colorful Girl ;) says:
P.S. I don’t care who the “POET” or how old he/she is, I Love it!
And to entry #39-Me Says, reversing the words
(the colors), would not have the same impact and most of all would not make any since. For example; If you reverse the words and make the author white, well, the white author would still be pink, white, green, red, blue, purple. As you know, Black is Black is Black. It’s a little special ingredient called, melanin. The poet simply stated facts. . .that seem to offend you. You’re right, racism is not exclusive to white people but most of them are just such experts at it. You would think. . .they invevted it 😉
- ypypy says:
He is new DR Alban I tnink =)
- jean says:
pilgrims+ native Americans= genocide
- jean says:
I first read thi saying whenitwas handed to me by a friend of who was a person of color
- Shang Tsung says:
I think this poem is racist! BTW, the “African child” who made this is Malcolm X
- emma says:
i love it, because it is so straight forward and true so if anyone tries to call me colored i will say this poem and smile.
- Vivian says:
Simple words, though meaningful! Short poem, though powerful!I like it.
- Alice says:
This piece made me laugh, not in a bad way. Like others said, yes it is powerful, amazing way of putting discrimination in words.
- Marie-Danielle O'Reilly says:
What’s important, it’s who wrote it and why…
- John says:
This poem goes to the heart of the problem today especially in the western world.It doesn’t matter where exactly you are positioned, as long as it is in the West, you will encounter such heaviness of trauma. The white brethren should learn to be more integrative in these societies and not vice versa.
- anita pant says:
The poem does leave an impact,who wrote it is irrelevant,poets and authors have an urge to state things that are hurting them,which they find unfair,unjust,untrue, and by vocalizing their pain, there is a catharsis.The depth of truth in the lines hits us with its directness.
- anita pant says:
the poem does leave an impact.When a poet or author speaks it is generally against a hurt,injustice or trauma and vocalizing these leads to a catharsis.The point is made by stating stark facts and how it hits!
- Susan says:
This poem was written by African author, Leopold Senghor. It is beautiful, unfortunately the child got rewarded for stealing the words of someone else.
Look up this author, read his works – poetry and stories are beautiful.
- olivia mcmanus says:
I am very touched by this poem.it really made a difference to my life. I now live with several black people because I feel sorry for them. Thank you so much. Thank you child. Thank you god. thank you everyone.
- Benjamin says:
I’m a white man and I have never thought like that. It’s a very good poem.
- Samit says:
Yes, This is by Malcolm X
Dont think that he UN has any best poem category for awarding …
- April says:
Are you guys serious?! Where have you been?!! I remember reading this poem in my language classroom (in Australia) back in 1986 and it has stayed with me since. I’m surprised it hasn’t been circulated, it’s a clever but truthful statement/poem regardless of whoever wrote it…
- April says:
More surprised that the UN didn’t know that….
- Manea George Viorel says:
Did somebody knows who is singing this…I knew I heard this long time ago…
- Rudyard Wayne says:
This Poem in is oiginal form was is writtien in 1996. It was written by an immigrant Jamaican school teacher who was living in the Bronx and having problems coping with racism in America. He never took credit for the poem because he thought most people would think he was a racist.
The inspiration for the poem came after reading an excerpt from Alex Haleys book on Malcom X where he came across a poem that compelled him to do some research on racism. The words for the poem came to him after he went to Queens seeking employment and was scammed out of the last dollar he had by an employment agency racket operation. Not only was he scammed but he was also threatned and called nigger shoved out the door for enquiring further into the operations of the employment agency. In his depressed state he went to visit the Shomberg museum where he viewed didplays on Marcus Garvey and Martin Luther King and Malcolm X and then went back to his appartment where he put pen to paper. He wrote two poems, ‘Coloured’ and ‘Nigger in The House’.
The author then went to study at Florida State University in September of 1996 and subsiquently the poems would become insignificant lost in memory until Mr. Barack Obama became president of the United States. At the time the poem ‘Nigger in The House’ was written it was never concieved that the author would live to see the day a black descendant of slaves become President of The United States.
The poem ‘Coloured’ first got media recognition when it was read by Chris Rock on an episode of the Chris Rock Show in 1996. Chris Rock reported that the poem came from an angry black man living in the Bronx. On visiting the UK about January of 2004, Duncaster to be exact, he took the poem with him and showed it to a an old friend who asked if he could use the poem in his African oriented Rastafarian Dub Poetry. The poem was used and the rest is History.
It is indeed amazing to ones words travel the world and back returning with all sorts of recognition accolades attached to them. The author will continue remain anonymous but still be happy that so many people found his continuation or extension of Malcolm X’s thoughts to be ‘thought provoking’.
- Rudyard Wayne says:
The Original poem is was was named ‘Colored’ was written when the auther (lacking great English usage skills first moved to the USA) but Jamaicans spell the word ‘Coloured’ hence the two spellings in the original poem written in 1986. Is seems to be a spinn off from Malcom X but if you read the two poems you will see the difference.
Who the.-. # @ + … are you
I was born Black
I grew up Black
When I get sick my skin stays BLACK
When I am working hard in the boiling sun
I remain BLACK
When I am freezing cold I am still BLACK
And when I die I will remain BLACK
But you … @ * + #….
You are born pink
You grow up white
When you get sick
You turn green
When you are cold
You turn blue
If you stay out in the sun too long
You get red pulkadots
When you die you get purple
And you have the fucking nerve
To call me COLORED
It seems offensive but it was the way he felt at the time after being scammed by some very wellknown and unscrupulus people.
- Rudyard Wayne says:
NIGGER IN THE HOUSE
When you first took me here
you named me NIGGER
When you used me to work your cotton fields
I was your nigger NIGGER
When I fathered your bastard children
I was your NIGGER
I fought in your wars, protected your family while they spat in my face
and I was still your nigger NIGGER
So now when your feeling that the black man has just about started to fight to break off the chains of oppression and rightfully present himself as an equal among you, its decided that his struggles should be forgotten a single gesture. You decide that it is OK for the nigger to become a Negro , a person of color thus totally seperating his past from his present and consequently his future. In a new name the blackman should be able to feel self confident, pride and with a renewed self esteem. In other words he should feel less angry.
Well I anint ashamed to be a NIGGER, I will never forget the plight of my generations gone by. My history is my future.
I can proudly say without being angry that was born a nigger and I will always be a NIGGER. So that when a black man makes president I ‘ll be screaming and hollering “there’s a mother fucking NIGGER in the White House”
This was written 20 years ago while the author was feeling depressed and opressed. It is not meant to offend anyone or to be disrespectful in anyway. It is however should be seen as having literary and historical significance.
- Rudyard Wayne says:
The Original poem is was was named ‘Colored’ was written when the auther (lacking great English usage skills first moved to the USA) but Jamaicans spell the word ‘Coloured’ hence the two spellings in the original poem written in 1996. My error 1996 not 1986.
- Bobby Richards says:
How is this kid so smart when he copied it from a Oglalala Sioux Indian when the whites wete calling Indians colored and Sioux Brave stood up and said this over 300 years ago. He stole it.
- KB Inyang says:
Black is beautiful
Black is bold
Black is energetic,most people have the sterotype belief that black is ill-omened but I say NO black is blessed because our soil is black or brown Not white d dress code of black make us confident,black connotes supremacy,authoritativeness
I am proud to be Black and in my next life I will be black and I can’t be sorry for being Black