Sides

17 04 2012

I tried to find the most unbiased article I could for the Trayvon Martin case. Much harder than expected. I searched Trayvon Martin on the Miami Herald‘s and had to go page 34 before I found an article describing more or less the facts of the case, not the racist aspects of it. I wrote this poem more as a response to the reactions of Americans than as a response to the case itself. I don’t know if George Zimmerman is racist or not because I was not there when the shooting happened. This case has changed from one about seeking the truth to one about racial injustices in America. Perhaps this is therapeutic, but we must not forget what this case is really about, the unbiased version of it, and hope that justice is reached, whatever the side.

One side is white

And the other black

In the middle huddles red

Red is what happens

When black and white mix

Red is dreams lost

Red is lives whisked away

Red is the tears of yesterday

You’d think it’d be gray

That mixed stain of colors

Gray is what they should make

Black and White

White and Black

It makes sense

But humanity never has

So the red is still there

A stark reminder of prejudice

The blemish of a failed mass wish

A wall for those

Too something to mix

White and Black

Black and White

Both are colors

But not really

Both do exist

Fact acknowledged or not

Black and White

White and Black

Have much in common

More than they realize

It’s time for them to start

Relying on more than just their eyes

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19 responses

17 04 2012
kate58

I like what you said, & I LOVE your poem. That said, I must add the Trayvon Martin case affected me profoundly. I AM a black American. And though I’ve made my home in the UK for the past 10 years, I was born a black American, I remain a black American, & I will die (in the UK) as a black American.

Having said that, I’ll now say that I am old enough to remember separate schools, & separate swimming pools. I am old enough to remember when LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act that allowed black people to vote. I witnessed “white flight” first hand, my family was the second black family to move into an all-white neighbourhood; I remember the rocks thrown at our house, the white parents (every family on the block except one) who told their kids not to play with me or my siblings. I remember being stopped by the cops for no reasoon at all, except I was in a nice car in a white neighbourhood after midnight (I was visiting a white friend). I served in the US Army, & I remember the drill sergeant who met the bus at the reception station with the words “if you’re a nigger or a woman, I suggest you stay the hell away from me.” I remember all the promotions I ever got, & the snide remarks of white co-workers who insisted I’d gotten these promotions due to quotas or affirmative action & not on merit (I graduated from college cum laude & am a member of Sigma Tau Delta). I could go on, but I won’t – it makes me too sad.

Do I sound bitter? Perhaps I am. I love the US – it played a large part in making me the woman I am today. I cannot hate the land of my birth, yet I can criticize that which I love.

Am I prejudiced? No…my current partner is white & Scottish. America may be diverse, but the tolerance for, the acceptance of other races, religions, sexual orientation is missing. Where I live in the UK, my neighbours are black, white, Scottish, African, Swedish, Polish, Spanish, Indian, Asian, gay, Sikh, Christian – a veritable rainbow. I can go into a store & wander around looking at things without having a security guard follow me around because I’m black (& all black people steal). And no one has ever called me “nigger” here.

17 04 2012
catcherofstars

It is so sad. America is like a melting pot that has all the ingredients for the soup but is unwilling to change the temperature so they can mix.
The city I used to live in Quincy, FL is a stark reminder of racism and its tragic results. When integration began, several of the white families in the town created their own private school because they did not want their kids going to school with blacks. I went to that school from kindergarten to ninth grade. The public schools in Gadsden County are awful and it is all because the racist, rich white families decided to make their own school. I had never gone to school with blacks before and this year was a new experience. It is funny how you can believe you have no prejudice, but even never having been around a cultural group can make you be condescending. You only are exposed to the stereotypes. I just hate how nonchalantly people judge a person because of their skin. It’s almost subconscious, racism has such deep roots in the south.
That’s why I want to move to Europe. I want my children to grow up in an environment where they are exposed to all cultural groups and grow up viewing every skin tone as equal.
I really hope that this case will shatter walls, it is about time.
Andrea XOXO
PS I wish every black child could hear your story. They grow up with the racism from whites and it puts them down and makes them feel inferior. It isn’t right. I have a friend who is black and has a full ride to Harvard med school and people always are shocked when I tell them his story. I cannot wait for the day when it does not.

17 04 2012
kate58

Ahhh, Andrea….. I am 54, I have 10 nieces & nephews, & 7 great nieces & nephews. The majority of my nieces & nephews were home schooled, as they were the ONLY black kids in all-white schools, so you can imagine what life was like for them before my sisters made the decision to home school. Luckily they were spared from a lot of the stuff I was. Google “blacks & hypertension” sometime…it was just 2 years ago that the medical profession found a direct correlation between racism & the high levels of hypentension in black Americans (obviously I use the term ‘black’ cuz I’m old school, & personally, I’ve always found the term ‘African-American’ offensive).

My family & my friends that remain Stateside always ask me, “How could you leave America – don’t you miss it?”

I don’t. Naturally, I miss the people I left behind: my mom, my sisters, my brother, my childhood friends. But as a black American woman who has chosen to make the UK her home, I must repeat: NO ONE calls me nigger here. Or Rastus, or jungle bunny, or monkey, or spear chucka, or darkie, or spook or coon. Here, I am simply Kate, a black American woman who loves movies & dancing & gardening & writes poetry.

♥♥♥

18 04 2012
catcherofstars

Really? Isn’t that awful, scientific evidence even supports the negative effects. I used to say African-American, but a black friend of mine told me that she preferred black instead.
I am so glad you have been freed from the chains of prejudice!!
Andrea XOXO

18 04 2012
willowdot21

I have to thank Kate 58, for knowing the case about which you are writing. I can’t remember what brought that about, I think Kate had written either a straight post of prose or a poem on the subject which made me read up on the case. I agree your poem is very good and relevant . The very relevance is a sad indictment on the human race. It should not matter what colour , shade or religion we our but sadly it does. Still today people will say ‘they got that promotion because of their colour’, or they are playing the colour card. It make me cringe when I read what Kate said about her ‘welcome’ to her army service “if you’re a nigger or a woman, I suggest you stay the hell away from me.” How can a pig of a bigot be allowed to do that? I know it happens and I know there is racism in the forces over here (UK) and our police force is not above blemish there is racism there too. I could site cases of screaming racism but I will not here as we will stray from your point.
I am a white woman 58yrs and I remember seeing the black children being bussed to school. I remember the story of Rosa Parks . I have suffered discrimination at work I am roman catholic or was I am lapsed now but I am , I hope a good christian.
I do not not know the answer , I just know there should never of been a question for there to be a need for answer! I am not proud that white people took it upon their selves to decide that they were the superior race!! I state now we are not and never had been superior in Gods eyes we are all the same. God Bless and love us all no matter who or what we are!! 😉 🙂 😀 xxxxxx

18 04 2012
catcherofstars

I feel like a lot of the prejudice and racism stems from religion. Not necessarily Christianity because Islam enslaved Africans as well, but the majority of the Christian world did enslave people and I cannot comprehend why because that is not treating others as you want to be treated. I feel like Africa could be on par or even more advanced than us, but because the white man destroyed the social, economic, and political structure of African society, they have been set back. And we continue to do so when large corporations grow cash crops and such.
I don’t care what religion you are or what race you are not, this lingering prejudice is unacceptable. We cannot call ourselves advanced countries until social equality is reached not only in the eyes of the government, but in the eyes of the people.
Andrea XOXO

18 04 2012
aussieian2011

Excellent writing on a very controversial case that is yet to be resolved, I enjoyed the others comments and also the story of your background and early life, I wish you serenity and happiness in life
Aussie Ian aka Emu

18 04 2012
catcherofstars

I wish the same to you as well! 🙂 Tell me, is there much racism in Australia?
Andrea XOXO

18 04 2012
Rivenrod

A huge question which needs few words. In the end, after distillation only one question will be important – Good or Evil?

Your poem is a song in my head.

Much love and peace

RR

18 04 2012
catcherofstars

At least the odds are not tilted, eh? 50/50 either way.
You praises are butterflies in my heart 🙂
Andrea xx

18 04 2012
El Guapo

Great thought inducing poem.
I disagree with the line “The blemish of a failed mass wish”. I don’t think enough of the mass hold that wish.

18 04 2012
catcherofstars

Excellent point! Everybody says they are not racist but they harbor the feelings just the same .It’s taboo to be openly racist, but a subtle, sneaky kind of racism is not discouraged. It is pathetic.
Andrea xx

21 04 2012
Numero Uno

What an excellent and very insightful piece on racism
“Black and white
White and black
Have much in common
More than they realise
It’s time for them to start
Relying on more than just their eyes”. I love these lines. You’re indeed an exceptional voice in your expressions Andrea. Keep it up!

21 04 2012
catcherofstars

Thank you so much!! I hate that when we see someone, we automatically stereotype them by the color of their skin. It is just not right.
Andrea

21 04 2012
Numero Uno

True!

21 04 2012
lscotthoughts

Wonderfully written, Andrea, and a sad issue that still, unfortunately, resides with us, even to this day…your poem reminds me of one I wrote awhile back. I invite you to read it, if you’re interested and have the time: http://lscotthoughts.com/2011/10/16/intolerance-2
xo

22 04 2012
catcherofstars

I cannot wait for the day it is no longer an issue, though I am sure I will be dead and gone. I’ll head over your way right now 🙂
Andrea XOXO

28 04 2012
bardessdmdenton

At 58 I cannot believe how much racism still pervades American society, and even with Obama president. I never thought it would be when I was young in the 60’s and 70’s. Your poem is very powerful, Andrea, and the last part especially so–it there a way for it to be sung out for the whole nation…even world to hear?

15 05 2012
Ben Naga

An artistic approach to an important issue. A thoughtful idea, well expressed.

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