nearly 200 years ago
which means my genetics have directly contributed
to the current system
that continues thrusting knees on the throats
of an entire race of brothers and sisters.
Sick knots of frustration churn in my stomach
while fist and eyelids clench tight
burning razor tears slowly trickling down my face
at the very idea one of my ancestors--
part of my DNA
once treated a living, breathing woman of color
like a permanent maid meant only to labor inside and outside.
I'm sharing this to admit and reveal my family's
complacency in a system
continuing to reap the so-called benefits
from a capitalist mindset
that has upgraded beyond physical cold metal shackles,
evolving into ball and chain conversation words
where people worry more about property damage from riots
instead of deaths at the hands of the fraternal order of timeout.
I'm sharing this to continue conversations
for so long in America have been shuffled around, cast aside
as if it were an embarrassing high school phase
politely laughed away
like on holidays when my family and I
would listen to grandparent's occasional choice phrases
that began "Well the blacks are just blah blah blah..."
Like a child caught ******* by parents,
our pale shame has made us bury the past below sea level
hoping nobody would notice.
But now, the skeletons are beginning to rise,
seeping through the ground
along with fears of other dusty bones
buried under the red road.
Many of our ancestors
have been trying to dig deeper holes
with phrases like
"I don't understand, there was MLK and Honest Abe,
what more do they want?"
ploughing ahead with fingers shoved in ears
singing "La la la let's just move on, it was a long time ago"
overlooking the equality and empathy
that has been lacking up to the present.
Like two leaders could wave a magic wand overnight
erasing the dismissive dis-ease of white skinned superiority
we've been weaving into of our laws,
conditioning into our DNA,
evolving from slavery to segregation to target practice and tax brackets
despite singing "Land of the free"
even though there's a disparity
between rioters in inner cities being called "thugs"
while rioters at sport events are "party goers."
The first step is acknowledgement,
unfortunately we can't force someone to understand,
but we can support and be there
for our brothers and sisters
with kind, encouraging words,
taking steps to pull out
of the land and people selling business,
instead investing in the new currency of presence and attention
unlike my ancestors.
almost 200 years ago.
Some say if you dig up the past, all you get is *****.
Tell that to archeologist constantly discovering new things or therapists guiding others through traumatic past events.