ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Politics and Social Issues»
  • Social Issues

Prose - Racism: Should They Get Over It?

Updated on January 19, 2011


After thinking about this piece I want to say that I do not consider everyone a racist and I agree a person does need to move beyond the past for a better future. Absolutely. But in this piece I have entered the mind of a person being subjected to insensitivity by those who ARE racists. It is a deliberately narrow point of view that I have chosen to high-light.

Why?
Why should I?
They say “get over it”
It’s as if they accuse me
Of being the cracker
Of being the master
Of being the racist
Of killing my past
And trying
To kill my mind
What did I do
To deserve this?
They must want something
But what?
I’m trying
But 40 acres and a mule
Doesn’t help a lynched man
A janitor’s job
Doesn’t help find my roots
A nice salary
Isn’t wealth
I’m supposed to love our country
I’m supposed to be grateful
For what?
Why don’t you explain it to me
Because I DON’T GET IT
Do you?
Please
If I’m wrong
Show me
It took
Just a bit of complaining
To defeat Bull Connor
It took
Just a bit of complaining
To defeat Jim Crow
But now they say
“Get over it”
That’s the damndest thing
“Get over it”
Get over what?
Slavery?
Lynching?
Being called a monkey?
Being called a nigger?
Being sent to war
But also to the back of the bus?
“Get over it”
Why don’t you explain how you do that?
What have you gotten over?
I see lots of folks on TV
With their problems
How they’ve been abused
But they are cheered for their courage
They get to sell books
I’m scorned for having the nerve
To bring it up
Are you afraid
Of what I want?
Money?
Retribution?
Revenge?
Should I forget all that
For what?
Because I was freed?
Should I be happy?
Because you allowed me to become
A human being?
Because I can eat
With you?
Because I can ride
Next to you?
Because you gave
What you had
All along?
How do they say it?
Inalienable rights
Granted by God
Or by you?
I know you are frustrated
With me
Because after killing me
And then allowing me to live
I’m still mad
I know how to forgive
And I'm trying to forget
Even though I'm not sure I should
But how do I forgive
Tomorrow's slap?
Am I Jesus?
I know what he said
But my cheeks hurt so much
They are bleeding
I'm trying so hard
But still
I have to get over it
Why?
Because I wasn’t a slave?
Those people are dead anyway
Right?
And you didn’t enslave them
Right?
So you and I are square
Is that it?
So why am I complaining?
Why won’t my mind heal?
Why won’t I just get a job?
Why won’t I just be quiet?
Why?
Are you blaming me?
I was inferior then
Now I’m ungrateful
I guess I don’t get it
Maybe you do
Please explain it to me
I’m all ears


This piece has been featured by Hubpages on several home pages.




Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @pan - It sounds as if you live in the future; where is the world with no assumptions or justification of one's race or culture? When can we live freely as individuals among all men? That is the point I guess. Can you be white and I black if we so choose? Even if it sounds absurd the question becomes, why not? We are all lead in certain directions as children and one day we are to take the reins for ourself. At the same time what I am attempting to say here is that it is very difficult to overcome powerful messages that demean and a legacy that offers no pride. It is not to ask for a hand-out but for understanding.

    • pan1974 profile image

      April 4 years ago from Columbus,Ga

      Also everybody's world is not racist. I live in a neighborhood that's calm strange and eeri, but nice. We, have all colors, Mexican, white, black, etc, but were just people not color. When we talk to each other we don't see color, just the person. I wish the rest of the world was like this.

    • pan1974 profile image

      April 4 years ago from Columbus,Ga

      I really like this, what I've experience these days is that racist come in all colors, being racist is taught and passed down to children, it kills mentally the person that is racists because he or she is not aloud to use there own mind and use critical thinking, and be themselves, they are not aloud to go into deep thought, and they have to show proudness and prove to there ancestors that they can keep the tradition going.

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @tobusiness - Sorry I took so long to respond. Yes it is alive and well; both sides are struggling still....

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Some people will never get it. Racism is alive and still wounding still hurting, it is not a question of getting over it, but are we allowed to get over it. People hate without even understanding why they hate, and we are all diminished by this.

      Great piece of work, only when we can all empathize and feel each other's pain will we be truly free.

      judge me for the content of my character not by the color of my skin.

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @Jannie - thank you for commenting. It seems non-violence and forgiveness (Jesus!?! What? Can that be true?) is the answer... anger for anger only justifies the perpertrator's stance in his own mind: "See? What did I tell you?" It's infuriating...

    • Jannie D profile image

      Jannie D 6 years ago from Parys, Free State, South Africa

      Great poem SB! As a South African who lived pre- and post apartheid South Africa I applaud your poem. Racism is a blinding emotion which does not allow the perpetrator to understand his actions. Only complete forgiveness, will jar him out of his stupour, to live in harmony with the other. Only Nelson Mandela understood it so far, and it seems nobody else wants to copy the recipe.

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @Little Kim - racism is global. I've never suffered the pain myself but my father has as have some of my friends from South Texas. It hurts no matter who you are and it is a plague upon mankind. Thank you for commenting.

    • Little Kim profile image

      Little Kim 6 years ago from Any town U.S.A.

      Very powerful. I am half Asian and White and have experienced it first hand. You can never truly understand until someone calls you a name.

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @Freya - thank you and I would say the answer is yes and no... it should be discarded if it holds you back in life but we as a society should not begrudge the psychological difficulties that accompany such a legacy. It's really about the complete lack of sensitivity in those who say "get over it" as if they could so easily. I don't buy it...

      When I write something like this it has been thought about for a long time and then I have a beer or two and develop an intensity and anger on the inside and let it flow...

    • Freya Cesare profile image

      Freya Cesare 6 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

      good question. I want to know the answer too!

      It's like you dived very deep inside the head of the unlucky one and reached their core, then spoke up for their silent scream: very touching and absolutely awakening. Awesome! ;)

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @CarolineVBC - thank you. If we can put ourselves in another person's shoes and realize they have the same heart and mind that we do then the reality of it all will come crashing home....

    • CarolineVABC profile image

      CarolineVABC 6 years ago from Castaic

      This is such a powerful poem, Suburban Poet! I like the fact that you've chosen to speak for the "victims," or how it is to be in their position rather than preaching against racism. I think it drives the point home better this way. Thank you very much for sharing such a thought-provoking poem. Another excellent hub of yours. Keep at it. God bless!

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @daosady - that's good to hear... "victimhood" seems to be big business these days but sometimes we need to be more understanding of people....

    • daouady profile image

      daouady 6 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      @Suburban Poet, thank you for concern. My issues are not causing me discomfort because I refuse to live as a victim. It only get as discomforting as I allow it to be... This is a great country and I am privileged to call it home.

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @daouady - thank you for the kind remarks. I would not have been able to write this piece 20 years ago. If i was able to acurately describe the pain then it is because I've tried to develop strong feelings of empathy over the years. It requires taking the time to dwell on life and the problems of other people. I am very selfish at times and it's something I constantly fight.....I hope your issues are not causing you much discomfort....

    • daouady profile image

      daouady 6 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      I commend you for having the courage to allow yourself to enter a mind set of some blacks. I am not black but I too am a minority in USA and have my own issues that I have to address everyday. Having said this, I would also like to add that I have lived in different countries on different continent but find USA to be the safest country for us minorities.

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @ sam3m - thank you for commenting. I'm not trying to be accusatory but I do read things from anonymous posters on the internet and it just seems we still have work to do.

    • sam3m profile image

      sam3m 6 years ago from New York

      the responses you've gotten show that your work is doing what you intend. the other side is difficult to understand, but fortunately there are people like yourself and your readers.

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @Edoka - thank you for taking the time to make your comments. As Leonard Cohen said: "Everybody knows..."

      Yet some people like to deny these things....

    • Edoka Writes profile image

      Edoka Writes 6 years ago

      This poem is wonderful. Why, should I forget? I can't and I won't. I should not have to scrub my heritage, my strength in order for someone else to feel better. Also, being mixed, I have many white friends, who, at times have said racist comments because it's 'okay' in front of me. Believe me, those monkey signs at the tea parties and the police stopping my law abiding, black husband with his mixed daughter is alive and kicking...that is why we can't forget. It's still happening.

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @sturnert - thank you and I'm just glad to hear from someone who lives the problem....

    • sturner1 profile image

      sturner1 6 years ago from Georgia

      Wow. I am truly grateful to have read this poem today. It was very moving, and I felt your emotion in every word. Thank You for that. I will definately share this. Have a great day :)

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @imatellmuva - your comment speaks for itself and further illustrates how my own words fall short of the frustrations felt by those who are targets of racism... you can forgive the past but it's the daily slap that is still the problem....Thank you....

    • imatellmuva profile image

      imatellmuva 6 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

      What current Misery Willstar? If there is a misery, it's when others think that we are mis-er-able.

      Many people are not bound by chains of old resentment and anger, for they are confronted with the new faces of racism...daily. It isn't the misery of our ancestors suffrage that causes distress, it is the frustration of our own experiences with racism.

      The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was only 47 years ago. The legal end to slavery, with the passing of the 13th amendment to the Constitution in 1865; was only 146 years ago. While we are removed by many years of these two historical events, we are not so far removed from the ideas and ideals that triggered these historical events.

      The sentiment expressed in this poem not only serves as a reminder of the harsh brutalities of racism; both physically and emotionally, but also serves as a reminder of the harsh reality that it still exists.

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @Cheryl - thank you... I hope I got it right... it's not my experience... but I watch what happens to people...

    • Cheryl J. profile image

      Cheryl J. 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Beautiful, Beautiful and Beautiful. I am speechless. I am a woman of color and I can relate. Thanks for this wonderful and enlightning hubpage Prose-Get Over It. Amen.

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @Str8up - knowledge is the key... thank you!

    • Str8up Hookups profile image

      Str8up Hookups 6 years ago

      One of life's lessons.

      Once you know,you grow

      Voted up!

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @e b bortz - thank you for commenting. i agree with you and I'm glad it spurred this discussion... A poem isn't the entire story but you can make one focus on critical aspects f the world around us...

    • e b bortz profile image

      e b bortz 6 years ago

      For me, poems begin as an emotional closed loop that moves others to examine their own thoughts and feelings...this discussion is a good example of where poems continue after being brought to the page...as it should be.

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @Playdivadi - thank you... it is an emotional subject....

    • Playdivadi profile image

      Diane Denison 6 years ago from Cincinnati

      Very deep and moving and I loved the emotions

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @Dee – yes he is a great guy and a wonderful father. ALWAYS supportive. I’m very lucky and again… thank you so much for posting this at your office… I’d love to see the looks on some of those folks faces…

      @Suprabha – short and sweet! Thank you!

      @Always – thank you for that and I too share the hope for a color-blind society.

      @dahoglund – yeah you may be right about that… it’s tough to legislate change or understanding into people’s hearts….

      @Holly – thank you very much for that. I just try to think long and hard about a situation and let the feeling take over my mind… then try to allow true honesty answer the question: “how would I feel?”

      @Pan – yes… many do not feel that they should “get over it.” Many whites walked with MLK long ago… I know that… thank you for commenting…

      @Attempted – thank you. Yes racism and bigotry exists everywhere. Even within a race. For some reason people need to elevate themselves by downgrading others. It’s sad… to me it’s just an indication of a deep-seated inferiority complex.

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      I'm sure that most people would realise that you were merely stretching the limits of poet license and that you were emphasising one particular viewpoint. Your poem was stark, as it needed to be and evocative too. As an Englishman living in Australia I have had to deal with racist taunts. One fellow when he heard me speak said "i hate English people and why don't you get out of Ireland"? I responded that i had never been to Ireland and the Government make decisions about the six hundred year old problems. I also said that maybe if we spent a little more time getting to know one another he might realise that i'm not the worst person in the world. He thought about it then said, "well you're alright, but the rest of them are still bastards". I just thought, 'I know who the idiot is here.'

    • profile image

      pan1974 6 years ago

      I just loved you hub, I know exactly what your talking about, but also know that everybody is not like that.

    • profile image

      Holly Matheson 6 years ago

      I absolutely love how you can take these raw emotions and mold them the way that you do. That you can put your mind in a place that allows you to write about topics which you couldn't possibly have experienced for yourself. And yet you captivate those emotions so beautifully that it's as if every word flows purely from the veins of those whom you write about. Keep writing, I'll keep reading.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I can understand the feelings. I think Martin Luther King had it right about the goal being everyone treated equally. Government programs have probably led to resentments on all sides.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Your words touched me.How true they are.We are still not 'up to power with our thinking'When i hear some people talk bad about President Obama,then say that it's not race,makes me sick.I worked hard for him and i will again.I hope and pray that a day will come when we are blind to color.Thank you for sharing .

      Cheers

    • Suprabha Raorane profile image

      Suprabha Raorane 6 years ago from mumbai,india

      awesome!!!!!!!!

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 6 years ago

      Your dad sounds like a great guy. And yes, I do know. Born and raised in Louisiana---got married and raised my children in Texas. Yes, I do know.

      Thank you.... it is my pleasure. It will be in a frame before noon tomorrow.

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @Dee - I would be honored if you did that... I was raised in Tallahassee, Florida in the 60's. It was George Wallace country and I'm sure you know about him. When my father spoke Spanish to me in public I cringed because everyone looked at us like we were from Mars. I didn't like that feeling as a child.

      "I know" that my Dad was passed over due to race at times in his life. I'm sure of it.... but luckily he is a very accomplished person (3-time Olympian representing Cuba in gymnastics and a gold medal winner in the Pan American Games) so he let it roll off his back. He was always a very happy and positive person. And I love him for that... thank you again and I'm glad the piece is worth your while.

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 6 years ago

      Hi Suburban Poet... I had to come back to this one and read it again and then I saw where you'd responded to my earlier comment. I understand racism all too well but I chose to use two weapons that a great many people don't understand.... my brain and a pen and paper (or computer). You may not have (personal) experience but your have empathy... don't know if you lived with your father growing up, but if you did or if you spent any time around him then you learned it via his experiences. I believe that we learn by our own experience (mistakes and all) and by watching others (learning what to do or not do.) This is one I will print out and place in a frame on my wall (if that is OK with you). If you would rather I didn't I won't of course.... but I would love it to be a great converstion started with a couple people I know who need to have a very frank conversation.

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @Ashantina - thank you! Hey... use all the space you want... I like comments you know...

    • Ashantina profile image

      Ashantina 6 years ago

      Lost for words.. many thoughts.. not enough space...

      Deep.

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @Dee - thank you for commenting. I don't know how much insight I have other than to say my Father has endured some racism in his life being from Cuba. I have no experience of suffering from racism, as you can see from my picture that I look like a gringo, as they say in South Texas. So the comment about "perhaps insight" is probably an accurate way of describing my point of view. I may be stepping out of bounds when I write something like this but I do try to form an intensely empathetic mind-set when I write from another's point of view.

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @Extinct Soul - thank you and what can I say about that? You are too kind. Just keep at it... you are good at what you do and don't compare yourself to anyone. It is not a contest; it is an art form of expression... and I'm sure that in your life when you have honestly felt pain or joy you naturally expressed these things; that is the experience you need to bring to your writing... it's not writing experience; it's life experience and the willingness then to show us how you feel...

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 6 years ago

      Obviously written with a great deal of emotion and perhaps insight. Some things you don't "get over" as easily as others... Some people can't make the adjustment for whatever the reason. Only God knows why.

    • The Suburban Poet profile image
      Author

      The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @IN2DEEP and WillStarr - totally agree with both of you. As a self-professed poet I take on the challenge of niches in society; sub-cultures; narrow points of view; one-sided thinking; idealism; naivity; bitterness; victims (not victimization) etc... I take the challenge of expressing these points of view from both sides.

      Will, I don't know if carrying the legacy of a negative past fosters a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure but I think the mind is very complex and doesn't heal like a bone.

      Thank both of you for commenting.

    • Extinct Soul profile image

      Extinct Soul 6 years ago from 14°35'N 121°0'E

      I was really moved by the poem...how can you fill those words with so much emotions? it was like every word has an emotion of its own..I have tried what you've told me but my work doesn't read as great as yours..hihi..you're my idol!!! yeah!!

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      While I’m not about to tell anyone to ‘get over it’, it has been my experience that people who are bound by the chains of old resentments and old angers are seldom happy and successful.

      I wonder if that ongoing animosity has anything to do with the current misery of many black Americans?

    • IN2Deep profile image

      IN2Deep 6 years ago

      I really enjoyed reading this!Just know that not everyone is raciest some people respect people for whoever they are, no matter what color race or reliegon... I could feel the emotion,not seeing your face or hearing your voice-only feeling your heart beat out these emotions as I read your words.The sad thing is we are not born this way--we are taught--and I think thats sad> In the end-we all want peace-and we all want things our own way-some just believe

      putting others down and being aggressive and negative will get them somewhere.I believe in respecting all humans-Even if I don't agree with thier way-there is good and bad in all..I think its horrible..when such comments are made-most of the time without knowing a thing about the individual..to hate or put someone down simply because they are not the same color or reliegon and may not have the same beliefs is just not right.That takes the "Free" right out of FREEDOM. Real Sad