021516 whiteness

March 3, 2016


Mama always said, “whiteness is as whiteness does,”
and when I watch whiteness at work in the world around me
with the whites of my own eyes, blue but not blind, this is what I see:
whiteness means spraying poisons all over the land every spring
whitemanwashing history to protect powdered wig posturing
whiteness means sterility
pressure washing concrete sidewalks clean of life’s attempt to cling
whiteness means paving over ecosystems when you’re done
dismantling and exploiting them
whiteness means strife that stems from mindless work
unweaving the web of life, creating
psychosocial thermodynamic economic emotional
dependence on psychopaths and narcissists
whiteness means caring for life by declaring war on it
replacing love with fear
whiteness means you’ll always be a stranger here
whiteness means seeming like a pretty nice guy in the public light
while you terrorize your family behind closed doors
in the quiet privacy of the night
whiteness means telling white lies rather than real talk
whiny appeals to authority, backstabbing, preaching without practicing
bleached teeth, fake walks, horizontal policing down the hierarchy
whiteness means keeping up with the Joneses, fronting
all in service of social ladder climbing
whiteness means sleepwalking through life
like end-stage capitalist zombies
watching helplessly while your life on the clock slips away
to the unrelenting rhythm of a mechanical heartbeat
second hand hammering: tick, tock
another minute, another hour, another dollar, another day
in a weak year filled with more of the same
unlearned lessons and jealous confessions breeding
active micro passive-aggression from fragile egos
stuck in the neverending death throes of constant crisis
tag teamed by US government and ISIS
participating in an imposition, new Spanish Inquisition, another fucking colony
do you follow me?
whiteness means ignoring the irony of
children who inherit the ruins of the earth you’re leaving
ruining the land to save the iron city
it means inhaling chemical-infused air every time you try breathing
whiteness means white stars against a black and blue bruised background
whiteness means red and white stripes — not a flag but
burn marks in the shape of a thorny crown — nevermind Jesus was brown
whiteness means regularly transacting with other strangers around town
as if what’s normal is healthy and fine
whiteness means having the privilege to choose not to be so goddamned white all the time
so grab yourself some integrity and draw yourself a fucking line

Quote of the day: Banned Books

January 10, 2010

Banning Maya Angelou from school libraries and curricula is like banning Jesus’ crucifixion from Bible studies because it is “violent” and possibly “gory.”

Here is the relevant quote:

While you’re at it OC, ban the bible too. There’s a lot more rape and killing in that horrid book.

No, I don’t think the Bible should be banned.  I think every school should have important religious and cultural texts in its library, for students to access and study (including important books of other religions, such as the Torah and Qur’an).

For the same reason, Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings should be in every school library.  It is a relevant, timeless classic that can help us learn about ourselves, including how to develop empathy and compassion.  For example, to overcome internalized homophobia (that says gay people somehow want or need to become straight, rather than asking us to accept them for who they are).  And isn’t that what Jesus was all about?

“The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame.”   –Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891