The Charles Laurence Dunbar poem “We Wear The Mask” is a poem that always detailed, in my opinion, the complexity of being Black in this society and I think it’s particularly details the complexity of being a Black woman. Carrying an unbearable, insurmountable weight on our shoulders is causing a toll on our health & well-being. We put everybody before us. Save everybody else but ourselves. It’s long passed due to make us a priority each and everyday. No one is coming to rescue us we must save ourselves. We are the first, the beginning, the center of our world. Let the mask shatter into a million pieces.
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,–
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be overwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!
Paul Laurence Dunbar