not in Primary anymore

who is safe in a safe space?

Who is safe in a safe space? Surely not me.
When the comments are cloaked in white supremacy,
Tell me, how do your hurt feelings trump my oppression?
When the civil rights movement and slavery are the only black history lessons.

Whiteness, it circles, like a starving vulture
Appropriating our land, our language, our culture
“I don’t understand why you get so offended!”
You think I should buy into a system where my right to vote came through an amendment?

I call you a racist, is that the name that makes you shudder?
Do you want to know what scares me?
Getting shot in the face or dragged behind a truck by white people,
Because my existence is marked as “Other”.

You yell “Nigger, go back to Africa!”
It’s as if your ancestors didn’t force mine here.
Maybe you’d have more sympathy,
If I was white and I was queer.

Now, now let me get my cishet privilege in check
I’m not here for your pity, nor admiration, nor respect
So cry your white tears and I will drink them, I will drink them all up
I will wine and dine with them, fill my proverbial cup.

I will feast on your words, leave nothing left over,
Then maybe you’ll know what it’s like
to watch others rise off your back and your shoulders.

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15 Responses to “who is safe in a safe space?”

  1. dolly

    rhyming culture and vulture …ftw.
    beautiful, strong, powerful poem.
    i hope you’re taking this aloud to your local spoken word night.
    get this on the ‘tube!
    xoxo

    Reply
  2. Abel

    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/2012/10/23/more_slaves_now_than_at_any_other_time_in_history.html

    http://articles.latimes.com/2013/oct/17/world/la-fg-wn-slavery-africa-20131017

    I don’t mean to sound insensitive here, but this post is just one more thing that is propagating racism in our country, and making white men out to be the worst scum in the world. I am so tired of hearing how white men are responsible for everyone’s woes, especially African Americans. Slavery was happening in Africa back then too, just as much as it was here in America – actually more so. They were trading people between the different tribes, which is who the white men bought them from most of the time. Africans were selling each other to each other long before white men got there, and they were being placed into even worse situations than they were here. It is still going on there today, whereas slavery was abolished here, and has provided a chance for a better life for many – a life which many Africans wouldn’t have had otherwise. It is still worse living conditions for non-slaves in many areas of Africa today, than it is in the black slums of this country. Some of that is due to racism, and some of that is due to gangs, drugs, and simple laziness. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying what the slavers did was right, but it wasn’t anything worse than what was happening to them in their own countries at the same time. At least here they’ve had a chance to become more. Look at all of the opportunities that African Americans have over their countrymen – from basketball and football players, to the President of the United States. That would never have happened if it weren’t for the white man bringing them here. I personally believe that God brought your people here for those very opportunities, and the greater chance to hear the gospel and believe. He didn’t create slavery, but he used it to help bring more of your people to a place that He knew would eventually be far better than what they would have had if they’d stayed in Africa. Not to mention, if your own people would stop propagating the stereotypes by using the N word as an affectionate term, it would further reduce racism by a great margin. You need to stop blaming the white man for everything, and start worrying about your own racist tendencies. Judge not lest ye be judged. Before you try to pull the mote out of your brothers eye, you must first pull the beam out of thine own. The links above lead to articles about the current state of slavery around the world, with Africa being at the top of the list. Read them and open your eyes to the truth, and let go of the anger and hate that statements like this just continue to propagate. We need to stop worrying about the color of each others skin – you included! Let go of the past, and start working toward the future. Help your people to let go, instead of trying to get the white man to feel the pain that you believe we caused you and yours. It starts with you. Just my two cents.

    Reply
    • EP

      Hmmm. There is a fundamental lack of understanding being expressed by “Abel” here, but that could just be due to his/her lack of personal experience with racially-based systemic, culturally pervasive oppression of her/his racial group by a larger group that not only possesses & enforces means of keeping the minority group oppressed, but perpetuates hegemonic discourse which works to disguise or deny the existence of such oppression. So here’s a reframing of Abel’s argument with regard to another social inequity situation with which s{he) MIGHT be more familiar (though I have no idea what Abel’s economic background is):

      I don’t mean to sound insensitive here, but this post is just one more thing that is propagating welfare dependency and a poor economy in our country, and making rich people out to be the worst scum in the world. I am so tired of hearing how rich capitalists are responsible for everyone’s woes, especially poor people. Poor people have every opportunity to work and better themselves that rich people do. If they were born poor, its because their ancestors just didn’t work hard enough, so they had no wealth or property to pass down to their children and grandchildren. Or maybe they just moved here from another country and don’t speak the language or have a social or familial safety net or employment connections or an understanding of our culture, but its their fault for being born in a country that is so bad they felt they just HAD to come here. Just because someone DID get here to America first and claim the best land and work at a job that paid them enough to save their money and not lose it in the Great Depression or the 80s Recession doesn’t mean they don’t deserve it. And poor people just make things worse for each other by greedily exploiting the system—the other people living off of welfare are the ones who are stealing from you. And you’re ALL stealing from the rich people who EARNED every penny of their inheritance that they invested in minimally-regulated (i.e. non-taxable) hedge funds. It is still worse living conditions for people in almost all areas of the rest of the world today, than it is in the poor slums of this country. Some of that is due to companies’ fiscal irresponsibility and executives’ blatant theft causing bankruptcy and subsequent laying off of blue-collar workers with no other education or job skills, and some of that is due to gangs, drugs, and simple laziness. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying that the immoral, greedy, quasi-legal financial exploitations that caused the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis, the 2000 dot-com bubble explosion, and the stock market crash of 1929 were right, but none of those effects were worse for poor people or immigrants than the trickle-down effects of this First-World economic irresponsibility that were happening to them in their own countries at the same time. At least here, with the American Dream, they have a chance to become more. Look at all of the opportunities that poor people, especially immigrants, have over their countrymen – from fast-food jobs (even management level!) to Wal-Mart to entrepreneurial yard work businesses…and we even have examples of people born into poverty who have become Hollywood and music industry stars! That would never have happened if it weren’t for rich people stepping back and letting poor people find their motivation to pursue and realize those dreams. I personally believe that God made many people poor in material goods for those very opportunities, because IF they are righteous, and not pridefully demanding that they be doled out some of the rightful property of others, they have a great chance to build faith in the gospel through their humility. God didn’t create poverty, but he uses it to help bring more poor people to righteousness, which He knew would be difficult for them to achieve with monetary wealth. Remember, being rich is JUST as big of a trial in life as being poor. You need to stop blaming rich people for everything, especially for things like: having enough food to eat, dwellings with heat in the winter, clothes and shoes without holes in them, a working vehicle to help them keep their jobs, access to decent healthcare, and decent schools so that they even have a chance to better their situation EVER; and start worrying about your own prideful entitlement attitudes. Judge not lest ye be judged. Before you try to pull the mote out of your brothers eye, you must first pull the beam out of thine own. Ride a bike (if you have one) or walk 5-10 miles to the public library so you can get internet access for increments of 15 minutes, and look up some articles by Matt Walsh and Glenn Beck and open your eyes to the truth, and let go of the anger and hate that statements like this just continue to propagate. We need to stop worrying about the money in each others bank accounts (or Mason jars, or mattresses) – you included! Let go of the past, and start working toward the future. Help the whole 9% of welfare recipients who AREN’T elderly, disabled, or already working the best jobs they could get to understand that they’re only poor because they choose to stay poor, instead of trying to get the rich people to feel the pain that you believe we caused you and yours. And then thinking you can take our hard-earned money. It starts with you. Just my two grand. (That’s how rich people measure “cents.”)

      Reply
      • Abel

        @ EP – I think your analogy of my thoughts is a logical fallacy, and is completely unrelated to my point. Poor versus rich is had by all races, creeds, colors, and countries, and it belongs in its own category – separate from racism. Accepting that fact, I agree with a lot of what you so sarcastically stated – without the sarcasm of course. That being said, I think poor white trash, which is my personal background, have just as many problems to overcome as any other poor race in America – assuming that everyone I am talking about is an actual citizen (which is an entirely different hot button topic that I don’t wish to address here). What I was dealing with here was racism, and in respect what some call reverse-racism (which I personally think is a misnomer). It seems to be okay for black people to call us “crackers” on stage during their comedy routines, or in black directed movies, but heaven forbid that a white man uses the N word in the same situation, or makes light of a white family freaking out about a black person that got brought home to dinner. They can put us down publicly, blame us for every bad thing that has happened to them, make a bunch of movies showing how lame white people are, or how it’s okay to not accept them into their black family’s – but if that same thing is reversed, all heck breaks loose. I am not insensitive to their plight, but I am tired of being constantly berated by them because of previous policies on slavery. I had nothing to do with that, and I find the whole concept appalling and unfortunate. My heart bleeds for the current state of those who are enslaved – either racially, sexually, or otherwise. The fact that terrible people exist is horrible, but blaming an entire race for the deeds of some is ludicrous. That is still racism, plain and simple. If we shouldn’t do it, they shouldn’t do it either. That was my point in a nutshell. America abolished slavery, a long time ago. It was a terrible part of our history, but it isn’t ongoing like it is in other countries. I was hoping that I could shed some light on the fact that it is worse in the countries of their origins, in hopes that some would stop blaming white people for all of their woes, and maybe start to let go of the past. Maybe I sounded harsh, because I speak very plainly, but I wrote it with the purest intentions. There are plenty of other issues to deal with today, and we need to let go of this obsession with colored skin – white, black, or otherwise. If I had written a white poem talking negatively about black people, there would have been outrage. But, since this was a black person writing negatively about white people, well then I guess no one should get upset – right? That is simply ridiculous to me, and it surprises me that it isn’t more ridiculous to you too. I’m sorry if I came across as uncaring or insensitive, because that is not how I feel. I have many African American friends, and I have always been blind to skin color. Growing up in the seventies, I had the only black friend in my neighborhood, and I didn’t notice he was black until some idiot racists kid mentioned it. Even then it didn’t change my opinion of him. I played with him until he moved away, and I still remember wondering why other children treated him different. I eventually found out the answer to that question, and it enraged me. However, if racism is to stop, it will take all of us to stop propagating our racial differences, and start propagating our similarities. Posting white hate poems is not the way to do that.

      • Abel

        @ EG – I did forget to mention, that it’s actually sad to me that you equate rich and poor with white and black. That is a very racist stereotype, which is one of the things I am trying to get away from. Very bad analogy my sarcastic friend. You should feel a little ashamed. 😦

    • K

      ” I personally believe that God brought your people here for those very opportunities, ”

      Oh my god are you even real???

      Reply
    • Abel

      The penny is worth a lot more than it used to be. It actually costs more to produce than it’s worth, which is obviously how you feel about my two cents. That is okay, I don’t blame you. Everyone handles information differently, and mine was obviously a lot for you to swallow. Sorry if there wasn’t enough sugar in it for your taste. ^_^

      Reply
  3. Kate Kelly

    I’m white and it’s hard to hear these words, but I’d like to thank Janan for pointing to the past to help us understand the present and for helping us see things some of us are blind to.

    The pain I feel when I read these words is a good kind of hurt that is the kind that you feel when you are in a difficult transition to a better place. One with more understanding. Thank you Janan for helping us get there.

    Reply
      • Abel

        I personally believe that following her lead would only lead to more racism. I don’t believe that we should all jump on the hate poem bandwagon, whether our words or true or not, and/or justifiable. I think that will only continue to make racism flourish. I am not trying to diminish anyone’s personal pain or suffering here, but I do wish that we could all embrace more mercy and charity instead, and stop focusing on the anger, hurt, and resentment. It’s what Christ wants for us all. There are mean people of every race, creed, and color. They can make us all feel bad. Even in my church there are those who would chastise and hurt their fellow members for whatever negative reason that they deem appropriate. I don’t agree with what they do, any more than I agree with this poem. It sucks that there are so many terrible people in the world, but they are not only white. They hurt and sting me too, but I choose to focus on how the Lord see’s each of us, and He is colorblind. So should we be, Janan included.

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