“White people have never dealt with racism,”
Said the white boy from Utah,
Educated in a prep school,
With less than 25 black students.
And that was the point where I left the conversation.
Y’see, I know that the Native Americans
Lost their heritage to imperialists who were white,
Imperialists who changed Koanhu to Kenny,
Smiling Lotus to Jennifer,
Ata’halne to Alvin.
I know that Mexicans have been stopped by the police,
Simply for being Mexican:
“May I see your papers please?”
“Here you go, officer.”
“I don’t need your driver’s license, registration,
Proof of insurance, birth certificate, Social Security card,
High school diploma, and Engineering degree.
You just look like you belong in a cartel,
Wearing that blue dress shirt and khakis,
So I need a chance to send you back to where you belong,”
The officers say without saying.
And I know that blacks have suffered in this nation.
I know that Emmett Till was beaten beyond recognition
For whistling at a white girl.
(She should be glad she was worth the risk.)
And I know that Martin Luther King Jr.
Was assassinated for believing that it was self-evident
That all men were created equal
By a just and loving God,
But that man had created that inequality
By teaching it as irrefutable scientific fact:
“The highest civilization and culture,
Apart from the ancient Hindus and Egyptians,
Are found exclusively among the white races.”
But white people,
We are exempt.
We don’t receive racism,
We only dish it out.
Is it racism if a white man buys a poncho
For twenty five dollars,
While his Latino friend buys the same poncho,
From the same vendor,
In the same hour,
Is it racist if a white man is asked not to come to church
Among the Navajo,
Because he is too white?
Is it racist if a Korean woman looks at a white man
And says, “You all look the same”?
What of the white business owners
In Ferguson and Cincinnati,
Who board up their storefronts with plywood and nails,
Spraypainting their only defenses with the lie:
Because they’re poor too, and their little white children
Need to eat.
What of Brayden, who grew up in a double-wide,
His parents on a four-figure salary?
He breaks his back and his brain to get to college,
Because then his kids won’t have to live in filth,
Then maybe they can afford a haircut,
Then maybe the running water in their house will be warm,
Then maybe they won’t have to work at White Castle
To support their mother’s meth addiction,
Handing over the money so she doesn’t beat them again.
Brayden applies to a small-town college,
And doesn’t get in, because even with his hard-earned 4.0,
His 29 on the ACT and 1800 on the SAT,
His extra-curriculars, his job, his Student Government,
He doesn’t fill the quota.
Because he’s white.
What of the black girl
Who says “You look really nice today”
Instead of “Gurl, you ho’ outfit on point”
Who is mocked for being too white?
White is bad. Don’t speak like them.
They are an inferior race.
I know that whites are the majority in the United States,
I know that people of other races have suffered.
Often more recently.
Often more frequently.
But if “Whites never deal with racism”
Is still plastered on your walls and picket signs,
In spite of the 1804 Haitian Massacre,
I ask you,
I beg you,
Do not carry your lies to Roman Polansky,
Persecuted for their white, Jewish race.
Killed for their white, Jewish race.
Starved for being white and Jewish.