New Definitions: Redefining America Through Verse | Volume Four [Defining Black]

New Definitions is a poetry series curated by The North Star that seeks to redefine common terms from a socio-political lens. These “new definitions” will give proper context to what America is and what it has the potential to become, for better or worse.

B L A C K. Adjective.


lacking hue and brightness;

absorbing light without reflection

See why they slow?


They are slow.

Speak properly. Like we told said!

Lack hue man.

We teach them anyway.

Mighty fine of you!




characterized by absence of light;

enveloped in darkness: a black night.

The hood is a lovely place

dangerous as doing the new thing.

Never spend money

(unless there's dope to cop)

How's that son of yours?

Just fine Jim! Already winking at the girls,

strong looker,

grins when he leans in for the punch.

Blonde as sunshine.


Pertaining or belonging to any population

characterized by dark skin pigmentation,

specifically the dark-skinned peoples.

See also: African American

Sometimes capitalize initial letter.

optional as Oxford comma,

(mostly we forget)

You won't tell will you?

It's a White lie. Mighty Christian!!

God Bless you!


soiled or stained with dirt:

Lazy, always begging.

Why won't they work?

See, I ain't a bigot or nothing but…

She likes 'em like that you know? Play's in the mud.

Some girls just don't respect their upbringing.

What would her grandmother say?


gloomy; pessimistic; dismal: a black outlook.

Blackmale. Blackheart. Blackmarket. Ha. Get it?

Look at that war raging. Why that boy so angry? Why don't they ever smile? I mean.

This is America.

*Poem appears courtesy of Fables, Foibles And Other 'Merican Sins*

About the Author

Recognized by Poetry Slam Inc as a “Legend of the South,” Amoja Sumler (author of “Fables, Foibles, & Other ‘Merican Sins”) is a nationally celebrated poet, essayist and one of the preeminent emerging voices of leftist intersectional social advocacy. A Watering Hole graduate fellow and 2020 MFA recipient, Amoja’s work throughout the Arkansas poetry scene was a legendary seed.

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