Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Growing up White in Santa Cruz

I was raised in Santa Cruz as a working/middle class hippy/yuppie child. My grandma and grandpa’s house was and still is a few blocks from the Live Oak Supermarket, yet our family did not shop there. I went to elementary school across the street, even helped plant the now soaring Oak trees when I was a little girl. I learned in silence that us white folks do not shop in the same local grocery stores as my Latino classmates and community members.  I grew up shopping at Staff of Life and New Leaf, surrounded by familiar looking white folks who only spoke in English. I learned that “our” stores had superior produce and meat, yet did not think about access to money for organic foods and about the people of color whose job it was to grow and bring these items to Staff of Life for white people like me.  I now have the language to name the racial smog I was surrounded in as a child, that called seperation between the white and Latino communities natural.  I mourn my lack of authentic relationships with children and adults of color while growing up; neighbors, classmates, community members, service workers.  Poetry is a healing tool for me to explore the smog of racism and white privilege and my conditioning in this dehumanizing mess.  Poetry is also an essential tool in my journey in unlearning racism and transforming shame into creative resistance. 

Saturday Night Privilege (May 2008)
 
9:30pm sobriety check point working class Live Oak area 
lined up police cars with flashing lights,
Live Oak Supermarket parking lot, grey toyota truck, two Latino men walking the sober line
heart racing I roll down window
white cop sees two beautiful white ladies, leans in and says, “you don’t smell like alcohol”
Lets me go
my heart sinks
I am white, presumed innocent

By Dana Kaiser-Davidson
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

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“Why Ally?”

Allies spark the whys

that ignite the fire,

that sires the desire

to retry,

and fly

and lie

down with doves.

 

By Robert Brownstone


“My People, White People.”

I watched a spoken word performance at a Diversity symposium put on by the College of San Mateo (CA) in April. Kicking things off in front of a multiracial crowd of students, professors and community members was Dana Davidson, young white woman reading a poem – “My People, White People.” She broke it down – the loss, confusion AND vision for a new humanity.
While listening to her, I thought to myself, Whoa she’s got courage to start with that. What is this audience going to do?? They loved it! People across race could stand together and hear the honesty and integrity in the naming of whiteness. This week we offer Dana’s poem for inspiration and healing.

My People: White People
My people: white people
Truth be told “we” never were a people, fragments of cultures that bought into privilege
called whiteness, the invisible word
I remember 10th grade family history project being more concerned about my place in the human race
Bypassed cultural legacy for oneness, WE are all one my white people said
Not a color thing, just people.

My people: white people, Land of independent nuclear families
Smothering ideals of perfection, Bottled up resentments, Blistering silences
No such thing as mistakes or getting messy
We keep quiet to our own addictions, then blame people of color for all things called bad
poverty, drugs abuse, domestic violence, molestation……. perceived as isolated problems that white people are free from.

My people: white people
We say we are not racist, yet we are raised in a racist society
Pass on stereotypes of what we think people of color are really like to our children
We are fed half-truths and lies in history books
We sit silently while children are made into puppets on T.V color
White children learn diversity through Disney’s Pocahontas and Aladdin
Stereotypes that my grandparents taught me filtered my own perceptions
My people we have been hurt to think this separation does not chain our minds and hurt our souls

As I mind my mind with forgiveness, I let go of shame for my own people
I’ve deemed myself better than
I’ve acted out the lies I’ve been told, believing I was never racist
I sat in silence, guilt immobilized my mind
Held my own spirit captive
ego chatter categorized good and bad white people

Heaven on earth looks like oneness
With my own people
What is the use of pretending I am not like those white people
Who latch onto other cultures in order to cope with fragmented family histories

My people
From Irish, Scottish, English, German and unknown descent
Carried legacies of hurts with them
Pulled up from bootstraps laced in shoes stained in blood of slavery and genocide

My people: white people
Let’s love the hurts of forgotten legacies into wholeness
Let’s forgive our forefathers and mothers as we forgive ourselves for the violence, silence, shame and separation that internalized racial superiority has caused
For living in comfortable bubbles of safety
For believing we were never racist
Lets educate ourselves and other white people to histories ignored instead of asking people of color to be our teachers or explain the hurts they have faced

My people: white people
I vow to love you arms wide open as I love my baby niece
All white people no matter what you’ve said, done, kept silent in the name of privilege
You are good people
It’s time to mourn the hurts we’ve afflicted as a people
It’s time to grieve our separation from our own indigenous heritages
each cultural legacy dropped in the name of survival

It’s time to love our peoples, love ourselves
consciously awaken from our legacy of racial smog
Into awareness of our white privileges and culture
Let us create pride in our people
birthed in freedom, shared power, prosperity and tangible oneness with all people
My people: white people, the spiritual revolution is calling you

by Dana Kaiser-Davidson

Dear White Ally

This was originaly written for April 4th, 2008

Today we commemorate the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death and in the spirit of such an inspirational leader, we leave you with a poem written by Jasmine, a multiracial woman in support of white allies. (Find your own beat when reading this!)

Dear White Ally,
Privilege is no longer a bad word and perfectionism comes with new definition: conscious humanity ever evolving
There are no boxes, charts, theorems or postulates that will give you the magic key, for fixing hasn’t ever truly worked and we are walking into healing as remedy

Dear White Ally,
I need you to know that this letter is mine, as I know my mother’s white and freckled skin as my own somewhere inside
Please take note that I am clear we are related even when you’re confused about just how exactly

Dear White Ally,
It’s purging time right now
We are to sweat out competition and exhale our attachment to capitalism
We are to still our ideas to the possibility of new thoughts
We need to question our identities and hell, we need to question our realities
We need to speak, dance, sing, paint, express
You see freedom from silence is your next evolutionary development
You might not stay cozy

Dear White Ally,
I love you
I see you and I believe in you more now then ever.