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Clover Poetry Series: On Equality and Elevating Your Voice

Clover Poetry Series: On Equality and Elevating Your Voice

As a young woman in this America, it is my job to use my voice. It is my job to stand up and speak against inequality. My job is to not stay quiet about who I am and what I want to be changed. I am a young, bisexual woman who is forcing herself to find a voice. This is that voice.

My high school, in recent months, has had an underlying tone of ignorance of what POC live through. We do live in a relatively sheltered area, and it is absolutely necessary that I use speech as a form of protest. Outrage and fear feed the writer to create.


I’m Lillian Lippold
Yes, you heard me
Lippold
It’s Polish
No, I’m not just Polish
I’m German, Norwegian, Swedish,
And, oh yeah, I forgot
Basically five hundred percent white

Oh, don’t worry
I’m not one of those racist white people
I always thought that if I was born
In another time
It would be the '70s
So I could fight for your rights
“I mean, I think I’m Latino on the inside”
“I love my cornrows”
And “I wish my skin was as dark as yours”

As a white person
who isn’t a complete idiot
People like this really piss me off
If you are saying these things
How do I put this?
You are a racist
You’re completely ignoring
the struggles of people of color

You love saying you want cornrows
Because they are “so ethnic”
Little do you know
That the black girls in your class
Were bullied for wearing them in their hair
Their own culture was used as oppression
And now it’s your fashion trend
Their oppression is your gain
What you use to take cool Snapchat pictures
Their oppression is your costume

You call the latino girl on your street “ghetto”
You tell her she should go find her boyfriend
You tell her she should go in the kitchen where she belongs
Little do you know
That the latino girl on your street
Has a higher GPA than you will ever have
And she has more talent in her hair
Than you will ever be able to brush out of your own
But no
All you see is the amount of melanin in her skin
And that the language she calls home
Is not your own

You and your friends shift across the hallway
As the black boy in your class walks past you
He’s never said anything to you
But the color of his skin makes you feel unsafe
Little do you know
This boy goes home every night
And looks after his siblings
Because they’re all too young
And his mother has to work the night shift
You’re afraid of the color of his skin
But he’s the one who should be afraid of yours
Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Dontre Hamilton,
Eric Garner, John Crawford, Michael Brown
Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, Tanisha Anderson,
How many murders does it take to understand
That this is not an accident
How many poems does it take to understand
That you avoiding him isn’t an accident

You call the latino boy in your class a drug dealer
You tell the airport security to check him twice
You never know what he could be hiding
What could be in his suitcase
Little do you know
He’s a human being
You call him a drug dealer
And he goes home and cries
Because the color of his skin
Makes him much too big a target
He goes home and cries
Because when you hear the phrase
Boys can cry too
You never hear that the word white
Is inexplicably put before it

You tell me that everyone is racist towards you
Because you are white
You tell me that being called cracker
Is the same as being called the n-word
You tell me that hanging the confederate flag in your window
Is not an act of hatred
You are merely exercising your rights
You tell me that the KKK is not a terrorist organization
But, god, Black Lives Matter is ruining America
You tell me how Chicago is plagued
With black on black violence
And turn around and defend cops who murder black citizens
You tell me you don’t condone racism
Yet you tell Obama that his election wasn’t right
You tell me
That you don’t get privilege because you are white
And I will turn you around to look
At the world we live in

You wouldn’t dare
To tell me that you don’t see it
 

 

By Lillian Grace, 14

 

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