Tag Archives: Undoing Racism

Whiteness Undone

Whiteness is a power source

It’s a category we don’t choose but emerge into

A label that separates as it was designed to do

and blinds many of us to the harm it does.

What does it mean to unplug ourselves from whiteness?

Is it possible for each of us on our own to do this

or undo this as it were?

Seems either we assume whiteness is simply The Reality

or we fear losing Power if we turn away from its legacy.

What I wonder most is not so much

how we choose our way out of whiteness

It’s instead the why of it that worries me

Business as usual is a comfortable route

and keeps our focus narrow on the day to day

We need the bigger picture

the one that shows us that you can’t just be anti racist

you can’t just pretend that white supremacy doesn’t apply to you

you can’t think you way out of whiteness

It’s history that’s grounded you in this

and history that’s been rewritten to make you believe

you are who you think you are.

Who would you be if you were not white?

Perhaps you could be just this body that

descended from ancestors carrying their storied history,

born out of a lineage that survived and thrived

by helping each other along the way.

You can be one among a community of others.

It can be community that holds you to the task

that keeps the ground from caving in

that allows the spreading of new growth

coming into the spring of whiteness undone.

Imagine being held in such a community

and remember this

so you can recognize it when it happens.

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Filed under Prose and Poetry

More White on White

Letting go of whiteness

means letting go our identity

Maybe not all of who we are

Just the ground on which we stand

We might have to experience

being groundless for a while

Until we see and feel

Who we really are underneath

all that default whiteness

After all this identifying as white

is in our cells

Is in the air we breathe

from the time we’re born 

Hell – even before that!

So it’s going to take 

a kind of rebirth

Not simply a relearning

It won’t be easy going

It will require effort and

supporting one another

to remove this cloak of whiteness 

and reveal who we truly are

Hoping all the while

that we can love what we find underneath.

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Filed under Prose and Poetry

White on White

I searched for poems by white  poets 

on the subject of racism

To close a gathering of white folks who met to talk about race

I found none

All that I found were by Black poets and they were

Tremendously Powerful and Evocative

Why are white folks not expressing such

emotion about our commitment to undo racism

Are we not really committed

Are we expecting Black folks to do all the work

As if racism was their problem and 

They are the ones needing to solve it

Is this another case of having drunk the Koolaid? 

We who identify as white

just don’t see the racism we support

And benefit from 

Every moment 

Of every day

Day 

After day 

After day

We are the ones

who must do the work

and write the poems

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Filed under Prose and Poetry