At a Feminist Craft Talk
a tall white man sat
in the chair in front of me and began
scooting back, a just little scoot,
enough so that his knees didn’t touch
the seat in front of him, exploring.
Then it grew larger, bolder.
he began to colonize– his chair less
than an inch from my knees
as he leaned back, cradling his neck
in his arms and moving close enough
that his head almost discovered my lap
and I could thump him upside it
without extending my arms.
I readied my fingers
when I heard the voice of my mama,
Don’t do it, girlie, she said.
Bless him, he was raised to be rude.
I heard the voice of my father
Do you want to go to jail for thumping a white man?
He looks like the charge-pressing type.
Then, the voice of my brother
What the hell, just move your seat back
Why are you making a big deal about this?
I lowered my thumping fingers
But I couldn’t bring myself to give
ground to a white man’s comfort.
So, I contented myself with imagining
that I took my new feminist manifesto
in both hands and swung it like a bat
knocking him to ground.
Why I Don’t Talk About Race with My White Friends
-for each story they have a story
-they don’t get the white person discount on life either
-they try to understand by equating the way they are treated as women
-deep down they believe Muslims are terrorists
-there were very good people on both sides of Charlottesville
-they don’t know what to say when I ask were there any good Nazis?
-they think that as long as they aren’t as racists as their cousins, they aren’t racist
-they are angry about Black Lives Matter and Colin Kaepernick
-they think “for economic reasons” is a valid excuse for voting for Trump
Because I am their token black friend
-they believe black poverty and violence is a result of bad personal choices
-they see me, “college graduate turned teacher” as evidence supporting that belief
-it shouldn’t be my job to teach them about privilege
Because I am afraid to hear them say nigger
-they will use it anyway
-they will justify it as part of an intellectual discussion
– I will wonder if they use it when I am not around
Because their children are watching