Exception

You watch me, waiting to determine whether I am ‘safe’, ‘acceptable’

Waiting

My physical features render you uncertain, this brown, hijab clad face in front of you

Waiting

I laugh, I tell a relatable joke, I stick up for you when someone tries to humiliate you,

I mention tv shows you also watch, characters in books that you’ve read too,

That’s it

The cue you needed

It’s okay,

You know it’s safe to approach me, to talk, to be friends

I’m acceptable now

We get on oretty well, have a laugh, share a joke

But amidst it all in the back if my min I can only hope

I hope our friendship means more to you than it does

I hope that people in your future, people who look like me do not need the assessment that I did

I hope that I have convinced you

That you would see their humanity from the get go

But no,

Your first reaction to me is ingrained in my mind

The seats you left in between us, the uncertaibty in your eye

I’ve learnt now that no matter how hard I try

I will always be an exception in your mind

My acceptibilty is an exception

And those who look like me remain tarnished with the stereotypes and prejuduces you hold

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