Monday, December 11

If we Only Knew

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“So by sixteen we move in packs

learn to strut and slide

in deliberate lowdown rhythm

talk in a syn/co/pa/ted beat

because we want so bad

to be cool, never to be mistaken

for white, even when we leave

these rowdier L.A. streets—

remember how we paint our eyes

like gangsters

flash our legs in nylons

sassy black high heels

or two inch zippered boots

stack them by the door at night

next to Daddy’s muddy gardening shoes.”


A classmate recited this poem to the class, and the teacher offering her critiques to the my classmate suddenly asked,

“Well which race was you poet?”

My classmate replied,

“She is Asian.” 

Now, it wasn’t the way my classmate recited her poem, or even the way the teacher asked the question, it was the reaction of the rest of the class when they found out the author of the poet was Asian. Now if you read the poem think about how you envisioned the narrator of the poem. The way they are dressed is described is offered, as well as the poet’s attitude, however it says nothing about race. Now, personally I found my class’s reaction to be based on stereotypical views. The poem talks about struggle, wanting to fit in, but I found that race was very irrelevant. To many times to people envision certain races to certain situations. That can also be many people’s downfall, if I have learned one vital thing in this lifetime it has been to never assume, too many times have people been let down by what they think instead of what they know. 


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