Response to Great White Whines
So sorry you’re perturbed
That your lunch was disturbed
by our chanting
in the hallowed halls of
the food court
Loud voices demanding change, laying down
bodies; a die-in to protest
killing of unarmed black men
We were faces of all shades
chanting in one voice:
“Black lives matter”
Indigestion? You had it coming
© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
ABC Wednesday, Q for Quandary… I am called white; Anglo; WASP, even, which stands for the ubiquitous White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant – and I stand with Black Lives Matter protesters. This is a natural extension of following Jesus, an enduring symbol of love at its best, embracing everyone as family. I admit I have a hard time embracing bigots; it’s my Christian learning curve.
White folks often cloak their racism in whitespeak, without realizing they are being offensive and ignorant. A good example was this true story above, where a white woman complained to other white women at JCPenney in my presence. She said, “They have the right to complain, but… do they have to use the food court? I had to try and explain what was happening to my granddaughter.” I replied, as evenly as I could, “I was one of the protesters. If you need help explaining it to her, let me know.” She was shocked.
She didn’t want my help. She merely wanted to bitch about being inconvenienced in the smallest of ways… some noise during her fast-food lunch. And she didn’t listen anyway, so I wonder what exactly she told her granddaughter. If she had listened, she would have understood that this was an organized, peaceful exercise of free-speech rights, planned in conjunction with mall security, who were informed by the group beforehand. We were protesting the recent killing of Dontre Hamilton, an unarmed young black man with schizophrenia who had gone off his meds and was killed by a white police officer who discharged 14 bullets. Wisconsin – America – has a race problem, and it’s up to all of us to solve it.
Other Great White Whines:
Why do “they” have to tie up traffic during rush hour? (They? Really? Let’s start there…)
Why aren’t “they” nice like Martin Luther, King? The same people would complain about Dr. King if he was still alive. In fact, they would whine about any public assembly that calls for accountability, when it’s the white race being called out for unthinking privilege.)
My quandary is that I’m a white civil rights advocate. Racists, beige like me, assume I will tolerate their whining, when in fact I don’t, bluntly. And, at first glance, people of color see me as “one of the crackers,” which I’m not.
Many thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt for starting ABC Wednesday, and special thanks to Roger and the ABC gang for keeping those letters rollin’! A great collective. Amy
Handling the Truth
Bought and sold at auction
Fractionally human, they said, if that
In those “golden olden days,”
African lives were cheap
From deep in jungles, sold
by bribed tribal chiefs or
simply rounded up like
fleet and feisty animals
This nation brutalized
an entire civilization
If Anglos never feel
the slash of the lash…
If whites will not dare
to share the shame of slavery
After all these years
the pain of the past endures
and we won’t even watch the film
How can we dare say we care
about rancid, ruthless racism
still rampant in America?
Buy the ticket, damn it
(You already saw “Hunger Games”)
Or was Jack Nicholson right?
“You can’t HANDLE the truth”
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
I have seen “12 Years a Slave” TWICE. Second time, to hold a friend’s hand and discuss the movie. Lex and I were breathless, angry, ashamed… especially that this film, the most important film ever made about the enslavement and unimaginable treatment of African peoples at the hands of “white” slavers, is tanking at the box office. People have said, “It’s too heavy,” or even, “I go to movies to be entertained, not educated.” Really?! What the hell do they mean? If people went through this shit, we owe it to them to at least watch a dramatization of the true story.
I know it’s tough. Especially when everyone is engorging themselves like tics on Thanksgiving turkey and bloating their credit card debt on Black Friday. But I implore you, GO SEE THIS FILM. We all need to face the facts.
Release her from school for
antiwar protests and call it
Ban video games
Tell her God gave her beautiful,
but smart takes work
© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Trifecta’s Weekend Challenge was 33 words of advice. This worked for my daughter Riley, who is currently a top student at Laguna Beach Institute of Art and Design. Did I mention she doodled in the margins of her homework? That she came out to the entire student body’s parents during her speech? (She was already out, “gender queer,” to all her friends, and didn’t lose one of them.) Can you tell you much Lex and I love this young woman?
The picture was taken by Lex as we were being goofy after the ceremony. Silver becomes her, but her heart? Pure gold. Peace, Amy
At We Write Poems, a prompt went out: Write a poem about writing a poem. You never know when or where the inspiration will strike. I’ve long since given up on sitting down and deciding to produce something… and yet, the more I write, the more I want to write!
This poem is also posted at Writer’s Island, where I’m posting daily for National Poetry Writing Month. Amy
Prelude to a Poem
Teapot screams meeeeeEEEEEEEE
Drip of the French Press into the mug
Pressing grounds through as
ground falls from under my feet
taking me back to that cafe in the Village where…
Drifting with the breeze down State Street
Lots of UW students hang and hacky-sack here
Whole lives ahead of them
One potent whiff of a fattie gives me
a contact high and suddenly I’m on Venice Beach…
We march in solidarity with unions at
Madison’s Capitol Dome
The golden statue atop is called Miss Forward
The governor inside is called Mister Backward
My anger at injustice boils inside my gut
I plop down on the pavement and start to
scribble on the back of my sign…
Startled awake, sweating, full-body tremble
recalling those nights when
a little girl was tucked in tight until
HE decided it was her turn
I switch on the light – it’s NOW, dammit, not THEN!
I pick up a pen…
© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil