Student Writing from “Ain’t I a Teacher?”

Samples of student writing from a lesson on Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I A Woman?"

Samples of student writing from the lesson plan: Ain’t I a Teacher: Teaching Persuasive Writing Inspired by Sojourner Truth’s ‘Ain’t I a Woman?'”


You say it’s an abomination
to be gay.
You say I can still be saved,
or that I’m too far gone in
my wicked ways.
There’s no room in Heaven for
someone like me.
But ain’t I human?
Aren’t we all equal?
What makes you different from me?
We both read and walk and talk.
We both have morals. We both love.
Is that not human?
You haven’t killed anyone or
committed adultery. I haven’t either.
We’ve both lied and stole.
We’ve both been jealous.
You place your money
and family before God.
And I place the truth before both.
Are we not the same?
Does God not say he loves us all?
If God is only love, and love
does not judge,
doesn’t God love me?
Doesn’t God not care
that I’m gay?
Doesn’t God not care
that you’re a bigot?
Aren’t we human?

Ain’t I Asian?

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the nerds of the South to dorks of the North, all talking about the Asian phenomenon, but the Asian people will not be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?

That nerd over there says that all Asians are getting 2400 in SAT, and entering Princeton, and having the best boring job everywhere. Nobody ever finds me into SAT, or Ivy leagues, or gives me any doctor, lawyer, and engineering job. And ain’t I Asian? Look at me! Look at my eyes! I have stayed on staring at computer, and slept for 11 hours, and no race could (head) me! And ain’t I Asian? I could work out as much and lazy as much as a white man – because I could get it – and listen to U2 as well! And Ain’t I asian? I have borne Kumon, and seen most all sold off to overly competitive wealthy parents, and when I cried out with my Asian’s shame, none but Buddha heard me! And ain’t I Asian?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [Member of audience whispers, “nerdiness”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with Asian’s life or nerd’s life? If my cup won’t hold but a quart, and yours holds a pint, wouldn’t you be mean not to give a praise that I have a quart of nerdiness?

Then that little man in black, he says Asians can’t have as much creativity as them, ’cause free thinking wasn’t for Asians! Where did your gunpowder come from? Where did your Nintendo come from? From God and Asians!

If the first Asian God ever made was strong enough to make the culture upside down all alone, these Asians together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they are asking to do it, the other races better let them.

Arigatou and XieXie to you for hearing me, and now yellow Asian ain’t got nothing more to say.

Ain’t I a Woman?

Just because I may be
a little different (special)
or not seen as a biological
woman . . . . Ain’t I a Woman?

I mean. . . I look like any
one of your daughters, sisters, nieces
girlfriends, or mother. . .
Ain’t I a Woman ?

The way I dress to the way
I speak, to the way I brush my hair
to the way I strut down the street
you would see me as any other woman.

So why look at me different?
Know just because I’m sharing
out to you the way I
was born to the way I think . .
to the way I carry
myself in the street

Let me just remind you
I am a woman!

Rehman’s dark comedy, Corona, was chosen by the NY Public Library as one of its favorite books about NYC. She is co-editor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism and author of the collection of poetry, Marianna’s Beauty Salon, described by Joseph O. Legaspi as “a love poem for Muslim girls, Queens, and immigrants making sense of their foreign home—and surviving.”

Her new novel, Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion, is a modern classic about what it means to be Muslim and queer in a Pakistani-American community.