Vicious Cycle

We all have problems

              different though they may be.

 

But if you tell someone their problems

don't matter—

                that they were sheltered so

             they didn't have to deal

with the same things,

            and they know nothing of oppression

                just because of the color of their skin—

then maybe

you should take a step back and realize

something in their lives

might have given them equal amounts of oppression.

 

                  Maybe their parents heaped

criticism on them and expected them

to be perfect.

                  Maybe they were told

they were worthless because of their gender.

                  Maybe they realized who they really were

in eighth grade

when a girl kissed them and they didn't enjoy it,

                 or they did.

 

And this oppression has brought them so much fear,

               so much anger and hatred,

that it keeps them up at night with worry.

But they can't tell their parents because they don't want

to be thrown out.          And maybe you had it bad,

                  but maybe they did too,

and for you to presume that you know them

or what they went through because of their race

is ridiculous.

 

You're turning around

and inflicting the same oppression on another

                 by telling them their problems mean nothing

because of the fucking color of their skin.

 

It's a vicious cycle,

and you're just making it worse.

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