Day 418


I remember when the white poet
read his poem about Serena Williams
smashing the ball at some tough little European blonde
like she was driving the Emancipation Proclamation down
Abraham Lincoln’s throat, and all the white people
gasped, though we hadn’t gasped
when the poem referred to Williams as that big black girl
with some outrageous name like Vondella.
I remember being at the music showcase
where the Indigenous duo told presenters
their act involved gently reminding settlers
of Canadian history, and all the white people
didn’t talk, after, of why we’d had to be reminded,
or how the reminding had fallen
to those two, or why it should be gentle when
they were talking about genocide.
When Justin Trudeau got busted
for wearing black face, most white people
were offended, but when his wife used her appearance
at an MLK event to sing a song she wrote
for their daughter, our condemnation
was reserved for her voice.
If, when the white man
told my black friend there was something of Africa
to his drumming, and I found it hard,
in the moment, to know how to help,
how much more dizzying must it be for him,
every day, to navigate the gauntlet
of confident assumption and easy contempt
that runs the convenient memories
of the breathless white lives
surrounding him.

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment