What is race? What is racism?

What is race? What is racism?

We hear these phrases on the news

In our classrooms

In our textbooks

Race

Racism

Discriminations

Segregation

Income inequality

Mass incarceration

White supremacy

Dehumanization

But what do these mean?

It means that when I see a black man

Walking on the street

I hold my daughters hand tighter

And pull her closer to me

It means when I smell the scent of weed

On the bus

I suspect the Latino man sitting across

Instead of the white man right next to me

It means when I see the brown girl

Sweeping up the floor

In the fast food restaurant

I think that there is no need

To have respect for her

Because that’s all her race could ever be

But what I do not know is

That the reason she works there

Is to support herself

So that one day she could be something

Greater than me

Because you see

She didn’t grow up inheriting so much wealth

Because her ancestor

Were enslaved

They were beaten

They were lynched

They never got the chance

To gain any wealth

You see

In school they teach our kids

About the civil rights

They tell us that Martin Luther King

Was a hero

But at the same time

We celebrate Columbus day

They tell us that Washington

Was a great 1st president

But never mention

That he had slaves

They teach them about imperialism

But do they tell them

That it still exists today

In the form of white supremacy

Race

Racism

Discriminations

Segregation

Income inequality

Mass incarceration

White supremacy

Dehumanization

What do they mean?

It means that

Today you could still see police men

Standing right outside the schools

in neighborhoods of color

Searching all the students as they enter

As if they are all suspects

To a crime

The crime that the white man

Thinks is “looking dangerous”

“looking uncivil”

“looking like you could cause harm

Because end of story you are dark”

It means that people think it fine

To tweet things like

“call me racist but when I found out Rue

Was black her death wasn’t as sad”

Or

“Why did Obama’s great granddaddy

Cross the road?

Because my granddaddy tugged his

Neck chain in that direction”

It means that when

Someone who is not white

Gets caught with marijuana

They are thrown in jail

Stripped from humanity

Locked away

But when the white man is caught

He is let off with a warning

Nothing more

It means that the government thought

It was ok to round up all the Japanese

And keep them in camps

No need for an apology or any regrets

It means that putting all Native Americans

In one place was the best way 

To keep the white man

From mingling with

“Those barbarians”

It means that even though

Thanksgiving was built on a massacre

It is still one of the biggest

Holidays celebrated

In the U.S today

What is Race?

What is racism?

Well you see

Race is just a label

Given to each of us

So that others know

Which category to place us in

And racism…

Well racism is like what Malcolm X said

“It is a mental cancer ruining the American society”

Race

Racism

Discriminations

Segregation

Income inequality

Mass incarceration

White supremacy

Dehumanization

These are the borders

That are keeping people

From looking past the labels

And realizing who we truly are

And not making them pay a cost

For who they are not

 

This poem is about: 
My community
My country
Our world

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