Poet Samuel Carroll was a 17-year-old junior at Lincoln Park High School when he competed in the Louder Than a Bomb Youth Poetry Festival in the Spring of 2011 as a member of team Youmedia Chicago.
In his piece, Forgotten, Samuel addresses the stereotypes solidified in people’s minds about Native Americans and speaks directly to those making assumptions about his heritage.
People see my mulatto melatonin
and make me out to be desended from house slaves
People hear the confidence in my voice
and the way I enunciate
and at once create the idea
that I have a little caucasian in my blood
People see the way my hair slicks back
a certain way
on certain days
and the fuzz on my face
and believe me to be hispanic
Each week, WBEZ features a poem from the Louder Than a Bomb collection that explores the issue of race. We offer the poems as part of Race: Out Loud, a collaborative production of WBEZ and vocalo, which aims to get us talking to each other about race. Louder Than A Bomb is Chicago’s teen poetry festival. It brings teens together across racial, gang, and socio-economic lines in a friendly competition that emphasizes self-expression and community via poetry, oral story-telling and hip-hop spoken word. Each year, Chicago Public Media invites festival finalists to record their work.
Click here to hear nearly 200 Louder Than a Bomb finalist pieces recorded over the past eight years.