Dear White America

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Photo Courtesy of Roy Barnett Jr. / Flickr

 

Not to toot my own horn

but

I know you like me.

You say it often enough

without

actually saying it

 

you say

“you’re so pretty” and “where are you from originally?”

and compliment my accent (“It sounds British!”)

and

sometimes

we sit down together and you regale me

with stories of “reverse racism” that you’ve gone through

wanting to make the point, without making the point

that you’ve suffered too…even though you could never tell your victims that

 

DWA, btw, I know. I know you like me.

Maybe you even love me.

But what is love?

 

I know that you feel like you can really “talk” to me

because

you haven’t hurt me – I was never yours to hurt

i don’t come to you with hundreds of years of you-caused pain

staring at you every time you dare to peek

into my lovely dark brown eyes:

you can admire my smooth skin and my refined ways

without guilt biting you on the shoulder

and you can even entertain

(thoughts of)

(discussions of)

taboo topics

you could never talk about with my cousins

whom you and yours have hurt.

 

Dear White America

i do not claim to hate you

but I also do not sit here unaffected

simply because my legacy is different:

DWA,

every time you treat me better than the ones “out there”

the ones who live on the other side of town

the ones who go to the other schools

the ones you lift the hem of your robes to avoid

you do it to me

andi know you don’t really love me

i know you don’t care even though you think you do

fori am no better than “them.”

 

How Dare You Treat Me Different From My Kin

because they are injured and i am not (that you can see)?

What you do not see

is that you deprived me of my family

and though i do not know of the whips and scourges

i know of the loneliness and loss

when children vanished and husbands were snatched

and wives were shipped off, like cattle, never to return.

 

Dear White America

I do not hate you

But I will no longer live within the lie

Of your false affection

 


 

Dorothy Mweusi* wrote this piece for Flux, a forum for those of us encountering adulthood.

 

*This piece was submitted anonymously

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