‘One day, an icon, next day, a threat’: Amanda Gorman on being racially profiled

Updated on Mar 06, 2021 06:36 PM IST

Gorman made the response to her own tweet from February in which she had shared a profile done by Washington Post on her and talked about the disparity between herself and "everyday Black girls."

American poet Amanda Gorman recites a poem during the Inauguration of US President Joe Biden at the US Capitol in Washington.(AP)
American poet Amanda Gorman recites a poem during the Inauguration of US President Joe Biden at the US Capitol in Washington.(AP)
By | Edited by Mallika Soni

Amanda Gorman, the young poet who performed at US President Joe Biden's inauguration, shared her experience of being racially profiled by a security guard outside her apartment. Gorman did not disclose where the incident happened while sharing the incident on Twitter on Friday.

“A security guard tailed me on my walk home tonight. He demanded if I lived there because “you look suspicious.” I showed my keys & buzzed myself into my building. He left, no apology. This is the reality of black girls: One day you’re called an icon, the next day, a threat,” Gorman tweeted.


Gorman added that ‘in a sense’ the guard was right. “In a sense, he was right. I AM A THREAT: a threat to injustice, to inequality, to ignorance. Anyone who speaks the truth and walks with hope is an obvious and fatal danger to the powers that be,” the 22-year-old said in another tweet.


Gorman made the response to her own tweet from February in which she had shared a profile done by Washington Post on her and talked about the disparity between herself and "everyday Black girls." In the February tweet, Gorman wrote in reference to an incident in Rochester, New York, where a nine-year-old girl was pepper-sprayed while handcuffed in the back of a patrol car. “We live in a contradictory society that can celebrate a black girl poet & also pepper spray a 9 yr old. Yes see me, but also see all other black girls who've been made invisible. I cannot, will not, rise alone,” Gorman said in a tweet.

Gorman made history as the youngest poet in recent history to perform at a presidential election when she performed at Biden’s inauguration on January 20, where she recited her piece “The Hill We Climb.” The poem was seen as a timely call for national unity as it was delivered just weeks after the US Capitol riots.

"Somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished. We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one," Gorman read at the inauguration.

Born in Los Angeles in 1998, Gorman became the city's youth poet laureate at 16 after which she studied sociology at Harvard and was also named the first-ever national youth poet laureate.

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