Am I A Racist?

Well? Am I?
I'm asking you
I don't think I am
But I wonder if it's true
Can it?
Me?
I don't know why
But I may be
I don't hate
But do I judge?
Am I tired
Because "they" hold a grudge?
When I read about a crime
My minds fears loom
I see a color
Why do I assume?
How can I make it stop?
How can I be fair?
Teach me to see nothing
But hearts everywhere
When I wake
I see my color
I know I'm white
The same as my mother
I don't defend
My Father's culture
It makes me happy
But it's not my signature
Yet I see others
Defined by their race
I know why
They were put in their place
I want love
Not race
They want love
Not the color on my face
I do not want fear
It makes me weak
It makes me suspicious
When color walks the street
I know this
I'm telling you
Maybe you can see it in me
Maybe you know this too
I hate myself
When it rules my mind
I pray for relief
I want to be blind
Touch my eyes
With your heart
Give me color
Show me your art
I want to live
With open eyes
To love you
To hear your cries
Well?
Am I a racist?
I'm asking you
I insist
Tell me now
So I can grow
Tell me now
I need to know

More by this Author


Comments 33 comments

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Great poem. Wow ...

What I can say here, is that our thinking has been programmed by our environment and experiences ever since we were born. It takes a lot of will-power to free us of the chains put on us by others but it is possible.

"Anything is possible, it just costs more". (lol)

Thank You for the write, cheers!


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

Thank you and you're exactly right. I can consciously say I'm not a racist and that I love everyone but I know that I have prejudices and assumptions. There is no question about this. I have to confront the reasons which are typically emotional in nature. I really have no reason to hate anyone as my life is fulfilling to me. Yet those stray thoughts seem to walk in on occasion.


HattieMattieMae profile image

HattieMattieMae 4 years ago from Limburg, Netherlands

Or maybe just other people make you think you are, but what they say, and how they judge with their own prejudices. Hmm....I would say maybe it's just an illusion in the moment in the eye of the beholder.


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

Hi Hattie (love that BrattieHattie thing still!). I don't know... I'm willing to look in the mirror on this one. The thing is my Father is from Cuba so I have some experience through his eyes... but I allow a lot of the political discourse to sink in and it's hard to know what is real. Racism is alive and well. What is my part in it? That is the question here... Thank you for commenting...


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Is it racist to be aware that a particular race commits crime at a far higher rate than any other race?

To me, it seem racist to just ignore it and pretend it's not true. That's the easy way out.


CarolineVABC profile image

CarolineVABC 4 years ago from Castaic

A very thought provoking poem, Suburban Poet! We all want to think that we are not racists, and yet, we cannot help to be weary about other races/ethnic backgrounds. Yes, it is probably the way we were raised and we are just being careful, ourselves. But a little bit of weariness does not hurt. What if we trusted every stranger that approached us? Will that do us more harm than good? I think what's important is not to stereotype an individual just because he/she belongs to a particular race. We should not "judge" a person before we even get to know them. Sometimes, it is easier said than done because of what we hear from the media.

Being "open-minded" is not the same as being "naive." When we open up ourselves to different cultures, we may find that we have more similarities than differences. Thank you for posting such a wonderful and honest hub, Suburban Poet! Keep at it. God bless!


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

@Will - I don't want to wake up in the morning pre-judging people That is what I am saying. I don't want a stranger to be judged by the color of his skin (statistics?).... I would like to know his character...

@CarolineVABC - I'm not advocating a naive approach to life. I'm trying to "purify" myself so that I at least can give people a chance without a pre-determination. Thank you for your comment.


Nan Mynatt profile image

Nan Mynatt 4 years ago from Illinois

Great expression in poetry which is reality. We are all prejudice about something or someone. We like this or don't like that. We are conditioned to like people like ourselves mostly. As a previous teacher I saw this everyday. Kids exclude the other kids that they say don't fit in, it's not about color it's about social fit in. When we make the poor get poorer we will have a lot of crime, no matter what color. Keep writing.


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

Thank you Nan. Skin is the surface but culture (social?) seems to be the basic root of our differences. I was born to Cuban Father (mom's from Oklahoma - Boomer Sooner! Yeeeccchhhh.... I'm from Texas!) and he has a very distinct culture that can be very off-putting at times to people. We were looked at as if we were from Mars when he spoke Spanish to me in public when I lived in Florida as a child. I felt that kind of shame for lack of a better word because I wasn't a "fit" for the other kids. But it wasn't that bad. That was only on occasion. My friends treated me well overall because I look white. I'm not saying I have expienced racism like so many have in this country but my Father has and I've seen the glimpses. And it had nothing to do with anything but his skin, his accent and his language. Yet he was a 3-time Olympic gymnast, spoke two languages and got his PhD (political science) in this country after learning English. So he was looked down upon by many people who were clearly inferior to him; but they were only concerned with superficial things...


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I believe it is wrong to simply ignore the despair of a race lest we be seen as racist. That was my point.

Young black men now commit right at 50% of all gun murders in the US, despite the fact that they make up less than 5% of the population. Nearly 80% of all black births are out of wedlock, and those children are raised without benefit of a father.

The plight of the black race in America is a national disgrace that we can no longer ignore. That does not mean that we stand in judgment. Not at all.


amymarie_5 profile image

amymarie_5 4 years ago from Chicago IL

Hi Suburban Poet,

I truly appreciate this poem as I'm sure many others will too. I agree with mr. Happy, we are programmed to see color and to judge. Small children don't do that.

Rated up, interesting and useful!


CarolineVABC profile image

CarolineVABC 4 years ago from Castaic

Hello Suburban Poet! It was just a "general" statement-I was not trying to be specific. I apologize if that's the way it sounded. I, completely, agree with your poem. Thank you for sharing. God bless!


Nan Mynatt 4 years ago

Thanks for responding to my comment. I think that Will Starr has his stats mixed up, blacks make up more that 5% of the population in the U.S. As a teacher we all need to take the responsibility of not educating the kids. It starts at home, then school. I feel obligated to help other people, my mother was a missionary, and minister, help the poor. We can't ignore the situation as it is. Hate is powerful, and it will destroy. These people who commit crime must feel hate, no self esteem, or anything. I try to help foster kids, and sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up. But I can't there is so much need today in our society! I hope to be able to express myself in writing.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Hi Nan,

"I think that Will Starr has his stats mixed up, blacks make up more that 5% of the population in the U.S."

True, blacks make up 14 to 16% of the population, but I was referring only to the young black males who are killing one another. They are the 5% I was talking about, and it's a bloodbath that we Americans are ignoring.

Believe me, if white kids were killing each other like this, there would be a national uproar and a demand that something be done. But we ignore it when it's blacks.

That's my point, and I think it is true racism not to care about this.


jandee profile image

jandee 4 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

'It makes me suspicious when colour walks the street'

Sounds a bit Dodgy as a statement !


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

A very interesting hub which leaves much food for thought.

Take care and enjoy your day.

Eddy.


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

@Will - I think I get what you are saying; if we confront the reality then maybe we can save them as opposed to ignoring or denying it and just letting them kill each other. Is that it?

@amymaried - Thank you. This poem is from way deep down inside of me. It is an acknowledgement that I am not pure of heart and that I still can do better. I talk to my children about racism and judging others when I can. It's not just race thought; it's also about people who are over-weight or are not popular. I can tell that children can make fun of others very easily and you have to confront it.

@Caroline - I know. No worries. Maybe I was in a hurry with my answer and I hope you don't think I was scolding you or anything because I wasn't. This is a sensitive subject as you can tell from what jandee said to me...

@jandee - ok ok. I Googled "Dodgy" and it said what I thought it might mean. I was just being very honest. If you walk alone at night and see a rough looking person of color on the side walk how would you feel? Totally at ease? Scared? I was discussing the feeling that people get in that situation.

@Eiddwen - Thank you for reading and you enjoy your day too!


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

@nan - Yes I do think crime stems from low self-esteem but also from dire circumstances. I read an article over the weekend about the Dallas Independent School District and the frustrations they are having with parents who won't return their calls about their children skipping school or performing poorly. They know that it starts at home and they have too many parents who are completely detached.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"@Will - I think I get what you are saying; if we confront the reality then maybe we can save them as opposed to ignoring or denying it and just letting them kill each other. Is that it?"

That's it, except I would go further and say it's racist to simply ignore it.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 4 years ago from Utah

I loved your poem. To some of the responders: your stats are just that stats. Stats and polls can be contrived to fulfill certain persons agendas. This is why you can't even agree on your percentages here.

Many white crimes go unreported or are under reported. HBO ran a series years ago re: the under reporting of drug crimes committed by young whites. Police and courts seem to do more in "saving' young whites from bad records than those of color. In the end you don't save them, because your hiding a serious problem.

Your corporate run bias media produce these stats and stigmatizing people of color. Far less crime committed by whites are reported by the press, by their own admission black crime is more interesting. To condemn an entire race of people because of these polls or stats is RACIST!!!


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

@pmccray - Thank you for your comment. I'm glad you like my poem. This is just me looking in the mirror. It's my cross you know? I'm glad a poem can stimulate a conversation but in the end the stats are not my affair. It is how I view people and my reaction to them is what I am concerned with here. I hope I got it right....


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Those are FBI statistics, and they are for 2010:

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-...

Blacks make up less than 14% of the population, yet they committed 53% of the murders last year. Most are drug gang related, and most of their victims are other blacks. Making people aware of this tragedy is not racist, but ignoring it is.


jandee profile image

jandee 4 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

Have you ever wondered what life is really like in Cuba ?

Just inquisitive ! On 'your' feelings of it

jandee


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

@jandee - My feelings are very much second hand but possibly biased by my Father's views. He love the United States and cannot possibly live with the idea of curtailed freedoms. He tells of spies on almost every major block in Havana. He tells of property seized. He tells of political prisoners just for dissent. A lady from Cuba cut my hair on Sunday. She had gone back last summer to see her mother. She spoke of how "bad" it is... she is able to contrast it with our country here. She had nothing good to say. Just how people do without. So my feeling is that as an American I could not live like that. But the people of Cuba now have grown up "like that." Maybe they feel taken care of... but they know of America even though they are lied to about our country. Or at least they are told only the bad things. For me I am sad that my Father never went back since 1955.... he left his country and that makes me feel that something is very wrong...


jandee profile image

jandee 4 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

Hello,thanks for your full reply. I am wondering how old was your father at the time he left ? How old was Fidels Cuba ? It was surely in it's infancy with the World against it ? Hope I'm not 'pushing it'

jandee


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

My Fathe was born in 1928. He left freely as it was before Castro seized power. He received an athletic scholarship from Florida State Universtiy due to his gymnastics skills so that's why he came over. Then he never went back. The door kind of was closed behind him so to speak.


CarolineVABC 4 years ago

Thank you for clarifying things, Suburban Poet! I understand that this is a sensitive subject, and I completely agree with your take on this. Thank you for sharing such a profound article! Keep at it. God bless!


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

@Caroline - No problem. It is a sensitive subject and everyone has a different view of the current magnitude of the problem and their own beliefs/prejudices. I'm not perfect. I have emotional moments where I question other cultures and it's impact on their place in life. I also know the dominant culture creates problems and there is a huge cause and effect going on in America with the dominant white culture over the years. One day that effect will be gone. Or will it? I don't know how long it will take....


jandee profile image

jandee 4 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

Thanks so much I am quite interested in Cuba as you may have realised. So I like to know all the negatives as well as things from my own experiences..

Thanks for being so forthcoming,

regards jandee


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

No problem. I wasn't sure where you were going with it. Cuba is a very controversial subject obviously. Some folks over here cite their supposedly excellent health care system as some sort of model that we should follow. Othere say that Cuba is struggling because of our embargo (definitely true). Europeans are not nearly as emotionally affected by Cuba as we are because the refugees (including my Dad) have been here and are very vocal. Plus you have the legendary Cuban missle crisis though that is fading into history. Those of us in the US who grew up in the 60's still remember the Cold War and Cuba was part of that so we are affected by the media and the government's characterization of the country. It's hard to know what is true. But the refugees who left are passionately opposed to Castro and feel he duped them. The prior regime (Bautista) was clearly corrupt and I don't think the Cubans shed any tears over his overthrow. But then Castro dropped the iron curtain on everyone (so they say) and their freedoms were lost. I think the US should normalize relations because we interact with China and Russia. What's the difference? Well the Cubans in America vote and I think politicians around here are sensitive to that. But Castro won so to speak. He came in 1959 and is still there (though he is retired). Whatever the objectives were of the policy, he still maintained power. I say, let's try something different. There is the issue though of property that was seize by the Cuban government. Many refugees still believe they have claims on this property. It is a sticky subject and if we normalize relations how is that to be handled? Is it just "too bad that's history" or what? Castro though is very clever. He say's (rhetorically but it still has some interesting ramifications) that before anyone gets their property back they must pay property taxes RETROACTIVE to 1959... ha... nice.... in other words he can argue that he foreclosed due to non-payment....


jandee profile image

jandee 4 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

The way the U.S see it the Russians are now unsocialist ? and 'one' of them(the west) -sort of removed from their old 'pals'.No threat !

Re.property ! They left! As Did many of the Vietnamese.

The self-employed in Cuba "workers on their own account" are over 330,000- 60,000 are women and most people do support the Revolution. That doesn't mean there is no criticism,people are people -always something to complain about. If you read the Cuban daily "Granma" you will see for yourself. Tourism is big with Canada first and Britain second.

What if you were Castro ? What would you say ? "The people here have struggled ,we have all struggled ,we have made Cuba a success ! Please come back and take the land you walked out on"

Okay 'Poet' I am taking my "Che" hat off now !!

Thanks so much for your thoughtful and personal reply,

best from jandee--(I got chucked out of a paper shop in the 70s along with my 3 toddlers,for asking for a left-wing paper writing about the Cuban missile crisis)


pan1974 profile image

pan1974 3 years ago from Columbus,Ga

This is so very beautiful, your heart sings so poetically. No, you are not racist. It takes a very strong great man to confront himself and ask himself questions, that's where change starts, facing the man in the mirror.


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 3 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

Hi pan. Merry Christmas. Thank you for your comment. I'm trying to explore my inner-self and I know I have biases that I wish to purge. This type of poem helps in that regard. In the end it seems culture drives our prejudices. Thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt.

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